This weekend’s escapist superhero blog post will present the final 4 parts of the 1970s clash between Adam Warlock, who is coming up in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and the Magus, evil head of a thousand-planet empire. For the first 3 parts, click HERE.
Strange Tales #181 (August 1975)
Title: 1,000 CLOWNS
NOTE: The writer dedicated this issue to the brilliant Steve Ditko, “Who gave us all a different reality” and it’s drawn largely in the style of Ditko’s early Doctor Strange stories.
Get ready for “Adam Warlock Meets The Prisoner.” The title 1,000 Clowns is obviously a reference to the Herb Gardner play (and later movie) A Thousand Clowns. Gardner’s play dealt with a happy non-conformist forced to try to fit in with “normal”, conventional society for family reasons.
The title and the theme of nonconformity may come from Gardner’s play but this installment of The Magus almost seems as if it’s an episode of the 1967 Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner (previously examined here at Balladeer’s Blog). Adam’s resistance to conditioning by the Universal Church of Truth puts one in mind of the Prisoner’s resistance to the Villagekeepers. The surreal, off-kilter presentation is also reminiscent of that program.
Synopsis: Adam Warlock has come to after his lapse into unconsciousness caused by the trauma of his Soul Gem’s theft of Kray-Tor’s soul at the end of last issue. He has awakened into a bizarre alternate reality with walkways and small islands of matter floating in an endless sky. Bizarre symbols and designs ornament the skyscape like imagery from an acid trip. Continue reading