Superhero movies continue to dominate at the box office, so Balladeer’s Blog figured it was time to look at another neglected comic book star: in this case Kalthar, from MLJ Publishing. FOR MY BIG LIST OF NEGLECTED MLJ SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
KALTHAR THE GIANT MAN
Secret Identity: None. Kalthar is his real name.
Origin: The father of the infant who would become known as Kalthar the Giant Man gave his life saving the Urgana African tribe from Muslim slave traders. To thank the dead hero for his role in keeping them free the Urgana people raised his infant son as one of their own and named the child Kalthar.
As he reached adulthood Kalthar formed a Tarzan-like bond with all the jungle animals around the Urganas’ Congo River locale. Kalthar so impressed Ta-Lo, the High Priest of the tribe, that the medicine man chose the adopted young man to receive the gift of the secret grains which Urgana medicine men discovered in the jungle. Those grains enabled Kalthar to grow to giant size and helped him battle evil-doers throughout Africa.
First Appearance: Zip Comics number 1 (February 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1941.
The secret grains known only to Urgana medicine men gave Kalthar the Giant Man his growth powers decades before Hank Pym became Giant Man over at Marvel Comics. Swallowing a red grain would cause Kalthar to grow to fifteen feet in height and swallowing a green one would enable him to return to normal size. In his giant form Kalthar became invulnerable enough to withstand bullets and dynamite explosions without harm .
In addition, Kalthar could speak the language of all jungle animals and use them as allies in his battle against the forces of evil. If captured and bound in his normal size, for instance, he could instruct a monkey to fetch his secret grains and feed one to him.
Comment: During his brief career Kalthar’s adventures combined the best elements of superhero tales and jungle adventures. The Giant Man battled Muslim slavers like his father had and also took on gangs of ivory poachers who slaughtered elephants as well as white raiders trying to plunder artifacts from various lost cities in the jungle.
In other adventures our hero clashed with a lost colony of Egyptians who sacrificed humans to their sun god, with a mutant tribe that was half-human and half-leopard, with ruthless French diamond-miners and with a tribe of pygmies led by the white Queen Loha. Abdul the Muslim Slave Merchant and LeBrun the French diamond & ivory plunderer were Kalthar’s most frequent adversaries.
Kate Goodwill, Kalthar’s version of Jane from the Tarzan stories, was his love interest and was eventually married to the Giant Man in his final adventure.
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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