Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Captive of the Vulture

A few months ago, I reviewed one of the stories from Korak, Son of Tarzan #3 (May 1964), but not the cover story. The cover, though--painted by Morris Gollub--is nothing short of awesome, so I feel obligated to review the story it advertises.

Not that this is a problem. The story, illustrated by Russ Manning, is a fun one and is a prime example of why Manning is considered one of the best Tarzan family artists.

It all begins when Korak and his ape sidekick Pahkut rescue a man from a leopard. The man, named Jeremy Carter, is a pilot who landed his float plane nearby to consider a rather unique problem. He had flown over an extinct volcano and had seen a village inside. He also saw a woman frantically waving to him for help. She's apparently a captive.

But there's no way to land the plane inside the volcano. So Korak volunteers to make a rescue attempt.

Accompanied by Pahkut, the junior Jungle Lord scales the steep cliffs of the volcano and enters the village. He finds the girl and they attempt to escape through the aptly named Cavern of Death.

Here, they find Jeremy has been captured and is about to be sacrificed to Goka, the giant vulture worshiped by the villagers. This leads to a great action sequence in which Korak (with a little help from Pahkut) slays Goka. They continue with their escape, finding and freeing the girl's missionary father along the way.

It's a fairly straightforward adventure story with a simple plot, but Manning lifts it above the average simply by making it look so cool. In fact, the page in which Korak attacks the vulture, which includes a wonderful half-page panel, could be used as the cover image for a Russ Manning biography. It's a perfect example of how well Manning understood visual storytelling.

If I'd been old enough to buy comics in 1964, I would probably have bought it simply because of Gollub's cover. But if for any reason that hadn't sold me, thumbing through it and seeing the Korak/Goka battle would have definitely clinched the deal. Who wouldn't fork over a dime and two pennies to see that?

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