Amazing Adventures #18 (May, 1973)

According to the account given by Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas on the letters page of Amazing Adventures #18, the new feature that made its debut in that issue had been gestating for some time.  (“Two long and not always enjoyable years,” to quote the man himself.)  It had all started in 1971, when Marvel was looking to expand its market share in a big way, and Stan Lee (himself still editor-in-chief at that time) asked Thomas to submit a list of ideas for new comics for consideration by Lee and Marvel’s publisher, Martin Goodman.  Among those ideas was a series concept based on H.G. Wells’ classic late-Victorian science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds.

More specifically, Thomas imagined “a vast, hopefully unending sequel to the Wells classic.  A storyline which would pit earthmen in a kind of guerrilla warfare against the Martians, who had returned approximately 100 years after their initial invasion attempt… and who this time had come, seen, and conquered.” 

As Thomas went on to explain:

The direct inspiration for the story, I suppose, was the chapter Wells called “The Man on Putney Hill,” in which a visionary artilleryman talks at length about how life will be under the triumphant Martians.  Nearly everything set forward in the main line of this series [i.e., Marvel’s new “War of the Worlds” feature] comes from his speeches: earthmen living in drains (read: subways); Quislings who hunt and rule earthmen for their Martian masters; plus a host of things still upcoming…

The longtime science-fiction and comics fan’s inspirations didn’t begin and end with Wells’ novel, however.  As Thomas would write several decades later in the pages of his own fanzine, Alter Ego, “I hoped to develop a series to appeal to readers who liked Marvel and DC comics based on the fiction of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.”*  And it’s not at all hard to look at the long-haired, muscle-bound, mostly bare-chested figure drawn by John Romita for Amazing Adventures #18’s cover, and see a hero designed more on the model of Howard’s Conan of Cimmeria, or Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars, than the more intellectually oriented Narrator of Wells’ book — “a professed and recognised writer on philosophical themes”, evidently based on Wells himself.

That said, it’s also pretty obvious that the milieu of this new series has at least as much in common with such post-apocalyptic, humanity-on-the-ropes future landscapes as those of the Planet of the Apes franchise, or Jack Kirby’s Kamandi title for DC Comics (though I should note that the latter had yet to appear at the time Thomas was working up his series proposal for Lee and Goodman), as it does with the Hyborian Age or Barsoom.  This aspect of the feature draws from what Thomas identified in Alter Ego as “a secondary influence on my concept… the ERB-inspired series ‘The Lost World,’ which ran for years in the Planet Comics of the 1940s-50s, with a hero named Hunt Bowman.”

Cover to Planet Comics #33 (Nov., 1944). Art by Lily Renée.

To be a bit more precise, “The Lost World” began in Fiction House’s Planet Comics #21 (Nov., 1942) and continued through #64 (Spring, 1950).  Its storyline is encapsulated thusly by The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:

Here archer Hunt Bowman is apparently the last man on thirty-third-century Earth following an Invasion by the Voltans…. When kidnapped by other aliens Bowman meets fellow prisoner Queen Lyssa of the Lost World, where descendants of earlier human space travellers live; the pair return to Earth, gradually finding more survivors (such as “Sir David, last of the Royal Academy”) and working to evict the invaders (save for a brief visit, the Lost World pays little part in the series).

Like most of the other features in Planet Comics, “The Lost World” was produced by diverse hands over the years; while the true name of its writer or writers (whose work appeared under the pseudonym “Thorncliffe Herrick“) remains a mystery to this day, artists known to have contributed to the series include Rudy Palais (who drew the first installment), Nick Cardy, Graham Ingels, Lily Renée, and George Evans.  Still, regardless of who came up with Hunt Bowman and put him through his alien-invader-battling paces, their work obviously made a lasting impression on Roy Thomas.

In his letters-page text piece in AA #18, Thomas explained what happened next:

It took a long time for the opportunity for the series to be begun to present itself.  Once it did, though, it occurred to me that nefarious and deadline-dodging Neal Adams was the perfect artist to draw the strip.  I presented the general concept to Neal one day over the phone and suggested he stop by in a few days so we could talk it over at greater length; the very next day, he showed up — with a whole plotline and lead character, yet.  I accepted most of what he wanted to do, with a few changes here and there to bring things in line with my original idea — which included keeping the Martians and their technology almost exactly as Wells had envisioned them (they are, after all, a dying race).

Those of you out there familiar with the messy way the last Roy Thomas-Neal Adams collaboration had turned out might be surprised at the writer-editor’s decision to go back down that road again.  Perhaps the Marvel brass felt that Adams was simply too important a talent to let their working relationship with the artist end in acrimony; or perhaps, as Thomas asserted in his Alter Ego article, the two men’s willingness to try again should be considered “a tribute to the stubborn, unflinching respect Neal Adams and I felt for each other’s talents”.  Whatever the case, Adams was enthusiastically on board.

Decades later, in an interview conducted in 1998 for Comic Book Artist #3 (Winter, 1999), the artist recalled his contributions to Thomas’ original series concept:

This character—later named Killraven—was travelling through his world, collecting things.  And he would trade things in order to create and put together technology to fight the aliens.  He carried his backpack all of the time and everywhere he went, he would trade off bits of technology for other bits until he could bring the world together, by putting the pieces back together again, to fight the aliens because civilization was being destroyed.


I was putting together a science-fiction concept.  This guy, in effect, was the son of [the pulp fiction hero] Doc Savage—not the Doc Savage, but a Doc Savage-like character — his genes are imprinted with the desire to put the world back together again.  It can only be done genetically; nobody can naturally do that.  That is the advantage of this character.  This guy is motivated by instincts he doesn’t even understand; he’s doing these things, but he doesn’t know why he’s doing them — he’s very good at doing them because he’s the son of Doc Savage and he’s a wonderful genetically-created person.


And he has a twin brother — only he’s working for the aliens.  To me, that’s a set-up for a really good series.

At this point, things seemed to go somewhat south.  Here’s the original, “official” Marvel version of what happened, per Thomas’ text piece in AA #18:

Eventually, as deadline time rolled around, problems developed because by then Neal had become immersed in several time-consuming projects, including designing costumes for an off-Broadway (like, Chicago) stage musical…**  in the end, it was no go, and Neal’s sometime crony Howard Chaykin wound up making virtually his Marvel debut by finishing up the last half of the book nearly overnight.  By this time, I too had become too immersed with editorial duties to burn the midnight oil over scripts the way I used to with Neal on X-MEN and AVENGERS, so I sorrowfully but confidently turned the scripting reins over to Gerry Conway (who now, at 20, has become virtually Marvel’s senior writer, doing major titles like, SPIDEY, F.F., and THOR) — and now the verdict of comic-book history is up to you.

Thomas doesn’t contradict this version in his later Alter Ego article, but he does offer more details, admitting that he lost some of his initial enthusiasm for the whole enterprise after Adams had, in Thomas’ words, “rather run away with the ‘War of the Worlds’ project”; and that this, as well as his ever-growing workload as Marvel’s new editor-in-chief, factored into his decision to take a step back from the series:

…Neal had barely begun the penciling when I reluctantly turned the writing of the feature over to Gerry Conway, a fact I’m sure Neal didn’t like this time any more than when I’d done it on “The Inhumans.” I can see his point, but I’d like to think he can see mine, as well. (By the way, it was Gerry who named the hero Killraven, which I very much liked.)

Adams’ point of view on this topic had been expressed not long before, in the same 1998 Comic Book Artist interview quoted from earlier:

Here, this story was started by Roy and I, and midpoint into it, it was turned over to Gerry Conway again, so I backed out of it. This sounds like a criticism of Gerry… but it’s really not. It has to do with working with the people and having a relationship, and trusting that it’s going to go forward and be positive, and it just seemed to crumble. I felt betrayed.

To the best of my knowledge, Gerry Conway has never spoken on the record regarding his work on “War of the Worlds”, at least not beyond a glancing mention in passing.  But the last of the four principal creators involved in the feature’s genesis — Howard Chaykin — has, in a 2017 interview for Tripwire.  Responding to a comment by the interviewer that Chaykin had served as “a co-artist with Neal Adams on the first Killraven story”, the artist responded:

Co-artist doesn’t quite cover it. And… the takeaway from this is that no good deed goes unpunished. Neal took eight months to do the first lot of pages, while I delivered the rest over the weekend. And I was never forgiven for not doing work as good as Neal’s — as if I could under any circumstances.

And on that rather caustic note, I think we’ll put a lid on our deep dive into this comic’s behind-the-scenes backstory, and move on to the book itself:

The green, monkey-like mutant leaps at Killraven’s face, but the “Freeman” takes them down with a good, swift kick…

The so-far-unseen Keeper refers to Killraven as a “pack-rat” several times in this scene.  It’s a term which seems to reference Neal Adams’ concept of the series’ hero as a man traveling through his world, collecting bits of technology and trading them off for other bits.  But that’s really the only allusion to that idea that we’ll find in this story… or, indeed, in any Killraven story, as far as I’m aware.

UPDATE, 3/1/2023:  According to the Grand Comics Database, Neal Adams drew the title/credits age shown just above (aka page 7).  However, a checklist in Robert Greenberger’s The Art of Howard Chaykin (Dynamite, 2012) attributes the pencils to Chaykin.  Special thanks to Tim Barnes, who contributed information to the Dynamite volume, and who recently verified this particular attribution with Mr. Chaykin himself.  (For a view of Adams’ original pencils for what was to have been page 7, see here.)

Adams’ pencils, as well as Chaykin’s, were inked by Frank Chiaramonte — who may not have been the ideal inker for either artist, but whose finishes at least helped provide the story with a sense of visual continuity throughout all twenty of its pages.

And there’s your summary of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, economically delivered in less than three pages (one of which is a full-page splash panel)…

“… exactly one hundred years later…”  Wells’ novel was originally published in magazine serial form in 1897.  But an earlier caption of our present story has pegged the first Martian invasion as occurring in 1901, so this second attempt must have come along in 2001… seventeen years before the “present” of the story’s timeline…

The Keeper goes on to explain how humanity next attempted to employ biological weapons, recalling the Martians’ fatal weakness to bacterial infection back in 1901.  Unfortunately, within the last century the alien invaders “had developed all-purpose immunity“… and so the effort succeeded only in bringing deadly plague upon the human race itself.

Some airborne assaults — suicide missions, flown by pilots already dying from disease — were successful in taking out a few Martian tripods, the Keeper acknowledges…

And here, at the bottom of page 11, Mr. Neal Adams leaves the stage, to be replaced in the role of visual storyteller by Mr. Howard Chaykin.  Roy Thomas’ AA #18 text piece referred to this story as being “virtually” Chaykin’s Marvel debut; in fact, he did have a couple of prior credits at the House of Ideas, having pencilled the “Man-Thing” story in Fear #10 (Oct., 1972), as well as an eight-page horror short in Chamber of Chills #4 ( May, 1973)… though we should note that the second of those only reached stands a week before AA #18 itself did.  On the other hand, Chaykin had already landed a regular series assignment at DC — Sword of Sorcery — the second issue of which went on sale the same week as Amazing Adventures #18; so he wasn’t exactly a complete unknown.

We see what seems to be a departure from Adams’ idea of Killraven being one of two twin brothers on this very first non-Adams page, as the two Raven boys are clearly of different ages.***

Also, you’ve got to love Chaykin’s 1973 vision of what men and women’s fashions would look like in far-off 2001.  I mean, the guy was right on the money.  It’s almost uncanny!

Are the bestial hospital “inmates” human victims of the misguided attempt to use biological weapons against the Martian invaders?  Or have they been mutated by the Martians themselves?  Conway’s script doesn’t make it clear.

The sudden, violent death of Maureen Raven is tragic, but not exactly a surprise… from what we’ve seen of the adult Killraven so far, it absolutely makes sense to learn he was orphaned at an early age.

On the other hand, Dr. Ann Carver — Black, brainy, beautiful, and badass — is such a striking and distinctive character creation (especially for this era) that it’s hard to believe that Conway and/or Chaykin didn’t mean to return to her at some point — whether by revealing she hadn’t actually perished, or by a flashback to her earlier days, or by introducing a child or some other relative in the “present”.  But, as best as I’ve been able to determine, the preceding two pages represent the full extent of Dr. Carver’s fictional life.

Although this is the last we’ll see of the younger Raven brother in this issue, future episodes would reveal that he had in fact survived — and that he’d become a servant of the Martians, eventually taking the name Deathraven.  So, at least that much of Neal Adams’ concept of the brothers’ relationship survived, even if the “twins” part didn’t.

Eventually, Killraven made his way to “the island called Staten“…

As would be revealed in future episodes, Killraven had secretly received enhancements as he was growing up that endowed him with certain psychic abilities; he is therefore “special“, as the Keeper says above… just not because he’s “a wonderful genetically-created person”, per Neal Adams’ “Doc Savage, Jr.” concept.

I’m pretty sure that my fifteen-year-old self had enjoyed the preceding nineteen pages well enough that I’d have come back in April for Amazing Adventures #19 even if the cliffhanger ending for the first installment hadn’t involved beautiful, scantily-clad women… but that factor probably didn’t hurt.

The cliffhanger actually gets resolved fairly quickly, as Conway and Chaykin (joined by new inker Frank McLaughlin) reveal that Killraven — presumably due to those “special” enhancements mentioned by the Keeper — has the power to resist their wiles.  But no sooner has our hero escaped that peril, than a new wave of mutants attack.  Luckily, however, the rest of his band of Freemen — who became separated from their leader sometime before the opening scene of AA #19 — arrive in time to lend him their aid, and the group is ultimately able to make an exit from the structure that used to be Grand Central Station… only to run into another group of human traitors who are working with robots to  load other humans onto a slave ship.  Naturally, Killraven and co. now have to fight them, and so on and so forth… frankly, the whole issue is just one inconclusive fight scene after another, until we reach page 20, and we’re done for the next two months.

Perhaps that seeming aimlessness in the storytelling is the reason why I dropped Amazing Adventures after the 19th issue.  Or perhaps it was the fact that Chaykin’s pencils for this issue, as embellished by McLaughlin, weren’t quite as pleasing to my eye as the Adams-Chaykin-Chiaramonte artwork of the previous installment.  Or maybe it was the complete change in creative personnel that came with the series’ third episode, as AA #20 found Marv Wolfman coming aboard as writer, while Herb Trimpe replaced Chaykin on pencils, and yet a third inker named Frank — Giacoia, this time — took over the embellishment duties.***

On the other hand, around this time I was buying just about anything that Marvel or DC put out that had a guy with a sword in it, regardless of who its writer and artist were, or how meandering the storyline… so I dunno.  Maybe what happened instead is that I missed AA #20 on the stands and, once having fallen behind, shrugged and moved on.  It wasn’t like there weren’t other guy-with-a-sword comic books to read in 1973, after all.

Whatever the how or the why of it, the fact remains that I never bought another issue of Amazing Adventures after issue #19.  And so, I wasn’t around when a new writer, Don McGregor, came onto the book following Marv Wolfman’s single outing, or when he was joined six issues later by P. Craig Russell, an artist whom I’d by then pegged as a decent enough illustrator whose style seemed heavily influenced by that of Barry Windsor-Smith.  By the time I discovered how spectacularly Russell’s talent had blossomed within a couple of years (kind of like Windsor-Smith himself) — a revelation that came courtesy of 1976’s Doctor Strange Annual #1, if you’re wondering — the McGregor-Russell run on “War of the Worlds”) had already come to an end, with the 39th and final issue of Amazing Adventures having been published a couple of months before my epiphany.  Thus, I would have to find, read, and enjoy those stories after the fact, in the form of back issues and, eventually, reprints.

What that means for this blog, of course, is that this is the one and only post I’m ever likely to write about “War of the Worlds”.  I’m really sorry that we don’t all live in the alternate timeline in which I bought AA #27-39 in the months they came out, so that I could write about them… on the other hand, I’m also really thankful that we don’t all live in that other alternate timeline — the one inhabited by Killraven and company, in which we’d have spent the last couple of decades oppressed by our evil Martian overlords.  Maybe we should all just count our blessings, huh?


*See “From Mars to Zamboula” in Alter Ego vol. 2, #5 (Summer, 1999).

Neal Adams’ poster for the play Warp!

**The theatrical work in question (which, contrary to Roy Thomas, wasn’t actually a musical) was Warp!, “the world’s first science-fiction epic-adventure play in serial form”, as it was billed by the Organic Theater Company of Chicago, IL.  Written by Stuart Gordon and Lenny Kleinfeld, it was originally produced in Chicago in 1971 before moving to New York in 1973 for a very brief Broadway run; Neal Adams was credited as art director for the latter production.  (Also contrary to Thomas, Adams wasn’t the costume designer of record, either in Chicago or in New York.)  Ten years later, the play would become the basis for First Comics’ Warp series, which ran for nineteen issues and three specials, and featured work by Peter B. Gillis, Frank Brunner, John Ostrander, Howard Chaykin, and others.

***There are several pages of Adams’ pencilled art for Amazing Adventures #18 that didn’t make it into the final issue.  The one reproduced below was published in Comic Book Artist #3, where it accompanied the interview with the artist quoted from elsewhere in this post:

The page appears to depict Killraven and the Keeper in the “present day”, as well as a flashback sequence showing the two Raven brothers — who are twins here — and another figure who may or may not be the boys’ father — i.e., Adams’ pseudo-Doc Savage character.

Your humble blogger believes that this page was meant to follow immediately after the last of Adams’ published pages — that it was the “original” page 12, in other words.  But whether it was still on the artist’s drawing board when the assignment to draw the rest of the book was handed over to Howard Chaykin — or whether Chaykin and/or Conway had the page in hand, but decided (for whatever reasons) to take another approach to Killraven’s family connections — I honestly have no idea.  Perhaps we’ll never know.

***Presumably, Trimpe deserves the credit for designing the new costume for Killraven that debuted in AA #20 (and would remain the character’s standard garb for the rest of the series’ run).  Whatever else you might think about it, the outfit at least gives off less of a “leather BDSM gear” vibe than the set of duds Neal Adams originally gave the guy.


  1. frasersherman · February 22

    Like you I got the first two issues and then stopped. Partly it’s that Killraven comes off as a surly jerk — Conan but without the ability to enjoy a good party (a friend of mine saw the first issue’s cover and asked “When does Conan the Leather Daddy appear in the War of the Worlds?”). Then there’s the second issue’s statement that scientists form the human quisling class because being totally cold-blooded and rational they value self-interest over the rest of humanity. Been bingeing mad scientist movies from the 1950s a lot, have we?
    Nothing grabbed me the way Atomic Knights or Kamandi did (though I appreciate Kamandi way more now than I did then).
    Reading the Essential collection recently I don’t regret not picking it up, nor do I feel any need to buy a copy for myself. There are some excellent issues but then it goes off meandering like Don McGregor forgot Killraven’s fighting a war. And McGregor has endless tongue-clucking about the 1990s (then our future) being so decadent and everyone was sitting around in VR becoming sheeple which is why the Martians found it so easy, blah blah blah.
    I did like the MTU Spidey/Killraven moment in which Spider-Man learns what’s coming and that all the lives he’s saved over the years will be wiped out in a couple of decades anyway. He’s not happy.
    But yes, that totally nails 2001 fashions. I dressed like that all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. B Smith · February 22

    “And I was never forgiven for not doing work as good as Neal’s — as if I could under any circumstances.”

    There’s a one-panel cartoon in the The Comics Journal #108 interview with Howard Chaykin. In it, a little fat kid (as Roald Dahl might put it) is thinking “Why can’t Neal Adams draw The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Sub-Marner, Conan, Daredevil, and do all the covers?”

    Reader, I was that kid. Utterly loved the cover of Amazing Adventures #18 (actually, I still quite like it), was thrilled to see it was drawn by Neal Adams, and was halfway through reading it when…huh? What happened? Some guy I’d never heard of drew the best of the issue terribly. Oh well, perhaps the next issue would be better. Unfortunately, it failed the test of my urbane, worldly comic book knowledge, and that was the last time Howard Chaykin’s art met my gaze till American Flagg came along. Howard, if you ever read this, I’m sorry I actively avoided your work, and seeing what you were doing for First had me start proceeding backwards to see just where I’d gone wrong (and brother, had I gone wrong).

    From the look of things, I’m not the only one who gave up after #19, but the series went on to possibly greater heights later on (depends how you feel about Don McGregor) so it didn’t matter in the long run.

    Liked by 2 people

    • frasersherman · February 22

      Don’t feel too bad. When Neal Adams replaced Murphy Anderson on the Spectre I was horrified by how much worse the art suddenly became. Who told this Adams guy he was any good?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Steve McBeezlebub · February 22

    I never liked Adams’ art so I was a happy camper. I did like the Chaykin part better and aside from overdoing his kinks in American Flag always have. Even Trimpe was a treat for me. Thank god someone realized Adams’ costume was horrific then too)

    I hope you read the Russell run sometime subsequent. Maybe it hit me as so special as a young gay teen struggling to accept who he was but Russel’s art bringing a wonderful story to life still means a lot to me. And hell, how can you not love a series that gives you a love interest like Volcana Ash?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alan Stewart · February 22

      I did indeed read the full McGregor-Russell run later on, Steve, and I enjoyed it very much. (Though I do wish they’d given us more of Volcana Ash. 🙂 )


  4. DontheArtistformerlyknownasfrodo628 · February 22

    What. A. Stupid. Costume. What bdsm/leather shop did Killraven discover the ruins of to find his “booty shorts and suspenders” fighting gear? I can tell you right now, I distinctly remember taking a pass on Killraven back in the day solely due to the outfit. The costume Trimpe came up with later was a huge improvement, but for this cowboy, it was too little, too late. I finally connected with Killraven during the Don MacGregor/P. Craig Russell run, but I was only there for the art.

    This story is as good an example of what’s wrong with the “Marvel Method” as any. A writer comes up with an idea that he’s quite fond of, with a focus and a point of view he’s really interested in exploring. Editorial assigns an artist who doesn’t really understand the focus and POV the writer has in mind and begins to draw whatever he wants and the writer just has to live with it. Finally, the concept is so far removed from everything both the writer and the artist saw in it in the beginning, that both leave the book, frustrated and disgusted. I know this didn’t happen on every Marvel book, but it happened often enough that I’m really glad the Marvel Method has largely been retired, inasmuch as it only really worked for Stan and Jack.

    Star-spangled hot pants aside, this first issue is pretty much a mess. Not enough HG Wells to be familiar and not enough of anything else to be interesting. Plus, Chiaramonte’s efforts to make Adams and Chaykin’s work look the same largely meant that the art didn’t look like either of their work. What a shame. Thomas’ original concept might have been fun. By the time we got to MacGregor/Russell, all resemblance to the work of HG Wells, other than the title, had largely disappeared. Russell drew some beautiful pictures on his run, but it just wasn’t enough. Not for me, or for anyone else, apparently. Another Missed Milestone in the Mighty Marvel Museum of Might-Have-Beens. Thanks, Alan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • frasersherman · February 22

      I think Ditko/Lee qualifies too. Rereading the sixties stuff, though, I can see how much Don Heck struggled with having to plot a story as well as draw it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jmhanzo · 15 Days Ago

      “A writer comes up with an idea that he’s quite fond of, with a focus and a point of view he’s really interested in exploring. Editorial assigns an artist who doesn’t really understand the focus and POV the writer has in mind and begins to draw whatever he wants and the writer just has to live with it.”

      Well, this might be an example — the writer and editorial were the same person, who chose to accept the changes the artist made before he even drew it. Roy could have just said, “No thanks” and asked a different artist who would have remained loyal.

      Or — gasp! — written it full script!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jmhanzo · 15 Days Ago

        Sorry, meant to write “a bad example”…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. frasersherman · February 22

    Side note: The “History of the Marvel Universe” miniseries for some reason established a second Martian invasion in 1918. I don’t know if that was to explain some stray story or what.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alan Stewart · February 22

      Hmm, interesting. IIRC, Mark Waid wrote that one — and since he checks out this blog from time to time, maybe he’ll see this comment and drop by to let us know.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. frednotfaith2 · February 22

    I saw plenty of ads for A.A. # 18, but didn’t get it or any of the first half or so of the run, but did get a few of the McGregor/Russell issues towards the tail end. I found the series very intriguing and was saddened that it didn’t last longer, but so things went back in those days. Although most of the old standbys from the 1960s were still chugging along, by this point 50 years ago, Marvel’s output was becoming much more varied and fortunately they hadn’t yet attempted to flood the market with dozens of varients of the same popular trend of the day (although I’ve read Timely/Atlas did that in the ’40s & early to mid-50s, when Goodman nearly sank his own company through an ill-thought out distribution plan. Although it sort of had a vibe of a futuristic variant of Conan, War of the Worlds was different enough, particularly after McGregor & Russell came aboard. They gave it a vibe that was nothing like Thomas & Buscema’s Conan. And it wouldn’t have appealed to me at all if it had been more like Conan. As it was, 50 years ago I hadn’t yet read even one issue of Conan yet. About the closest I got to collecting anything related to the sword & sorcery genre in 1973 was The Defenders with Dr. Strange & Valkyrie!
    Anyhow, a bit of a shame that Thomas & Adams weren’t able to do any sort of genuine run on the series. Seems unlikely either of them would have stuck with it for very long, given Adams’ more lucrative other work and Thomas’ editorial duties, etc. Chaykin’s art wasn’t all that bad considering the conditions under which he produced it.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Killraven is a good example of the chaotic, unpredictable nature of creativity can take in a corporate comic book environment. Killraven is more or less created by Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin and Gerry Conway, each of them basically working at odds with each other, pulling the character in different directions very early on during the process. None of them actually sticks with the character for long: Thomas co-plots the first story, Adams co-plots and pencils the first half of the first story, and Conway scripts the first story and writes the second. Marv Wolfman then comes on to write a single issue. After that Don McGregor becomes the writer and, utilizing all of the material the others established during their very short stays as a foundation, goes off in a very different direction, and becomes the definitive creator to be associated with Killraven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • frasersherman · February 23

      The Bronze Age was particularly chaotic. Similar creator shuffles bedeviled DC’s Blackhawks reboot and Marvel’s Skull the Slayer.
      Secret Society of Super-Villains had the same problems but did better, probably because the nature of the series made it more suited to random twists and turns (

      Liked by 2 people

    • I forgot to mention Herb Trimpe then comes along and redesigns the main character’s costume in only his third appearance!

      Anyway, five plotters / writers, three pencilers, four inkers and two costumes for the starring character in just the first four issues is NOT an auspicious start by any means, but once Don McGregor was assigned the book and he found his footing the “War of the Worlds” feature definitely became a very interesting one that half a century later is regarded as one of the most distinctive of the Bronze Age.

      McGregor is, I know, a divisive creator. Some love him, others find his prose incredibly verbose & overwrought, but there’s no denying that he really pushed the boundaries of the medium throughout the 1970s.

      I regret that Alan will not be covering McGregor’s work on Amazing Adventures, but perhaps I will pick up the torch on my own blog. I’m certainly planning to do so for McGregor’s Black Panther stories from Jungle Action.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Chris A. · February 23

    I own this comic, and though I loved Romita’s work on the Amazing Spider-Man. I felt this cover looked rushed and below his standards. Neal Adams was the principle reason I bought this issue, and I enjoyed Chaykin’s work in DC’s Sword of Sorcery and Weird Worlds as well as here. Wherever he lacked in anatomical skill on human figures (as this was early in his career) he certainly made up for in strong page design.

    As for that ridiculous costume which looks like a swimsuit with dragoon boots (also seen on Iron Wolf in Weird Worlds) it must have struck a chord in the cultural zeitgeist of the groovy era, as we see Sean Connery sporting the same costume in the film “Zardoz,” released in February, 1974.


    Liked by 3 people

  9. Tim Barnes · February 25

    It’s not as simple as “Adams pencilled the first half, Chaykin pencilled the second half”: Chaykin pencilled page 7 (with the credits). I believe Heritage offered the unused Neal Adams penicilled page 7 a few years back…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jmhanzo · 15 Days Ago

    In what issue of Alter-Ego did Roy Thomas detail the creation of Killraven?

    I really like this character and milieu.


  11. Pingback: Sub-Mariner #62 (June, 1973) | Attack of the 50 Year Old Comic Books

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