Tag Archives: post-apocalypse

KILLRAVEN TWENTY-ONE: RED DUST LEGACY

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven Red Dust LegacyAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #36 (May 1976)

Title: Red Dust Legacy

Synopsis: Windsor Forest, GA. December, 43 years in the future. Killraven and his Freemen continue their guerilla war against Earth’s alien conquerors – Zetans in my revisions, Martians in the original, just because of the tenuous War of the Worlds connection.

NOTE: The cover reaches DC levels of deception with its depiction of Carmilla Frost, the scientist of the Freemen, trying to slay Killraven while he is restrained by the tentacles of some of the aliens. You’ll see what really happens below.

Synopsis: IN THIS STORY KILLRAVEN AND HIS REBELS INFLICT THEIR GREATEST BLOW AGAINST THE ALIENS SINCE DEATH-BIRTH. December, 43 years in the future. Killraven kneels in the red dust of the alien homeworld of Earth’s conquerors. Craig Russell’s art is incredible, and Don McGregor’s narration starts us off with:

“He had touched the blade of grass … and it turned into red dust beneath his hands. The sand sifts through his fingers now, and Killraven knows for a certainty that the desert he kneels upon is located on the homeworld of his alien foes. He is alone with that truth, and the truth is staggering! But not as staggering as the events yet to occur.” Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN TWENTY: DEATH’S DARK DREAMER

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

killraven dream domeAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #38 (September 1976)

Title: Death’s Dark Dreamer

Killraven and his Freemen continue their guerilla war against Earth’s alien conquerors of the future.

NOTE: Another fill-in issue by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen. Once again I’m having to adjust the order of a fill-in issue like I did with Sing Out Loudly … Death awhile back. This undated fill-in issue was originally set in Miami but because we have Killraven and his Freemen’s adventures in other parts of Florida ahead of us – including the Killraven graphic novel from the early 1980s – I am instead setting it in Prosperity, SC. I’m setting it in November to place it between October’s The 24-Hour Man and December’s Red Dust Legacy.

Unrevised story: The lone Killraven has “ridden ahead of ” his Freemen in response to some troubling feelings he’s having courtesy of The Power, a pre-Star Wars variation of the Force. Riding his pinkish-red scaled stallion he has come upon a large domed structure at seaside. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN NINETEEN: THE TWENTY-FOUR HOUR MAN

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven 24 hour manAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #35 (March 1976)

Title: The 24  Hour Man

Synopsis: The ruins of Atlanta, GA. October, 43 years in the future. Killraven and his Freemen continue their uprising against Earth’s alien conquerors. The rebels are walking through Oakland Cemetery overlooking the city and encounter a beautiful but crazed young woman in tattered garments kneeling beside the emaciated corpse of a green-skinned humanoid clad in gold armor and matching helmet.

24 hour manWe readers watch the Freemen through the eyes of a yet-unknown character named Emmanuel who has been watching them enter his domain from hiding. The crazed, kneeling woman is his mother. Narration tells us that her unhinged whimpering is the same noise she made when bringing Emmanuel into the world.

“But that was a lifetime ago … All seven hours of that lifetime.” (Remember the story’s title.) The insane woman finally notices the presence of Killraven and company. In a panic she says “Who is there? Not G’Rath! G’Rath must stay away!”

The woman looks over our heroes then says “Do I know you? Have you come to … to save me? Don’t you know it is too late! Too late to save me. You are too late, you see. I have borne G’Rath’s child! Yes, I have.” Lightning flashes overhead and thunder rumbles.

The woman’s frantic rant continues: “My body nurtured it, yes, and sustained it, yes, and gave it life … midnight life, yes. Because it WAS midnight, you know … midnight when G’Rath’s child left my womb! And now it is morning, yes. And the spawn of G’Rath and I will seek its OWN.” So saying the woman runs off through the cemetery and our heroes run after her.      Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN SEVENTEEN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven death in the familyAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #34 (January 1976)

Freemen: Killraven, M’Shulla (African-American), Old Skull (Big, bald and brawny), Hawk (Native American), Carmilla Frost (The scientist of the group) and Grok, Carmilla’s creation (Deathlok in my revisions) 

Title: A Death in the Family

NOTE: Despite the singular title, TWO Freemen are slain in this story.

Synopsis: The war-ravaged ruins of Chattanooga, TN. July, 43 years in the future. Killraven and his Freemen continue their uprising against Earth’s alien conquerors. (Zetans in my revisions, NOT the ridiculous Martians in the original comic book.)

Killraven on horseKillraven, M’Shulla and Carmilla Frost are using an old, abandoned horse-racing track to race each other on their separate mounts. KR is riding his usual pinkish-red serpent-stallion, while the other two ride similarly chimeric creatures spawned by residue of the bio-warfare agents unleashed 18 years earlier in Earth’s unsuccessful war against the alien invaders.

M’Shulla rides a two-legged ostrich-giraffe beast with cattle horns on its head. Carmilla rides a cougar-horse hybrid that sports a unicorn’s horn on its forehead. The Freemen have obviously been camping in the area for some time since the two new creatures are every bit as saddle-broken as Killraven’s reliable old serpent-stallion. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN SIXTEEN: FANTASIA IN PSYCHEDELIC SOUND

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven NashvilleAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #32 (September 1975)

Title: Fantasia in Psychedelic Sound

NOTE: One slightly comical aspect of vintage comic book publications was the way the story titles on the cover often did not match the actual interior title of the story itself. Today it puts one in mind of reruns of the old show Police Squad! because of the intentional way the on-screen title NEVER matched the title said by the announcer.

              Anyway, in this particular case the internal title is incredibly stupid – Only The Computer Shows Me Any Respect. Therefore I’m going with what the letters page of the previous issue said the title was going to be: Fantasia in Psychedelic Sound. To me it’s a better title AND sounds more Don McGregor-ish. 

Killraven on horseSynopsis: Writer Don McGregor and artist Craig Russell are back after Mantlo/ Trimpe’s disastrous fill-in issue last time. It is June, 44 years in the future. Killraven and his Freemen (M’Shulla, Old Skull, Hawk, Carmilla Frost and her creation Grok – Deathlok in my revisions) continue their guerilla campaign against Earth’s alien conquerors.

Their wandering has brought them to the war-ravaged ruins of Nashville, TN as they seek shelter for a few days. One of the buildings still standing is a pre-war Mural Phonics Theater. As opposed to the individual-unit Mural Phonics System still in use by Earth’s alien overlords, the old Mural Phonics Theaters offered a theater-sized virtual reality experience in which the entire audience lived and experienced the on-screen movie.     Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN FIFTEEN: SING OUT LOUDLY … DEATH!

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

killraven sing out loudly death REALAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #33 (November 1975)

Title: Sing Out Loudly … Death!

NOTE: Another fill-in issue, this one with Bill Mantlo and Herb Trimpe substituting for the regular writer/ artist team of Don McGregor and Craig Russell. The number of ways that this story fails will leave you shaking your head. Bizarre decisions all the way through. 

REVISION: To make Killraven and his Freemen’s travels make geographic sense I skipped the Nashville story, but I’ll review it next time. It would make no sense for KR and his fellow rebels to go through Tennessee, THEN West Virginia, then BACK to Tennessee for the Chattanooga story. Last time around I had the Freemen in Ohio, so West Virginia and Sing Out Loudly … Death! would be the next logical installment.

Synopsis: May, 44 years from now. Killraven and his band of rebels continue their uprising against the alien conquerors of the Earth. (Zetans, NOT Martians in my revisions) Their attempt to shake off their most recent pursuers has led them into the mountains of West Virginia. Continue reading

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MAD MAX (1979)

Mad MaxMAD MAX (1979) – Balladeer’s Blog’s “Weirdness at the End of the World” takes a look at one of the best movies in the best franchise in the crowded Post-Apocalypse sub-genre.

I recently re-watched this 1979 gem in the full 93 minute Aussie “language” version. Using the sub-titles to make sure I missed nothing from the heavy accents, I was struck once again by how part of the post-apocalyptic atmosphere is filled in via the full text of what the Main Force Patrol radio operators are saying AND by the news reports. Outside of those brief touches Mad Max perfectly embodies the cinematic principle of “show don’t tell.”  

In a dying world after a limited nuclear war over oil between world powers, Mad Max is set in a few Australian towns which escaped destruction presumably because they were safely away from strategic sites targeted by missiles. Supplies are tight and citizens are warned not to abuse their food rationing privileges.

Law and order have become very tenuous concepts amid this spreading societal collapse. There is no evidence of anyone except local authorities being in charge, including their law enforcement arm, the Main Force Patrol (MFP) which includes Max Rockatansky, brought to life by Mel Gibson. 

Mad Max BThough in real life this sense of no larger government having control may have been a function of the film’s low budget, I find it adds nicely to the uncertain atmosphere. In just a few years the American telefilm The Day After would come close to presenting that same air of confusion about the new state of affairs following a catastrophic war.

Who’s in charge? And who – if anyone – won? Like the opening song One of the Living in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome would later remind us, a very old saying pointed out that following a nuclear war the living would envy the dead.

Getting back to the Main Force Patrol, their “uniform” is the all-black outfit with thigh holsters for their shotguns that became Mad Max’s signature look. Their bronze badges are why the lawless element derisively refers to them as “the bronze.” Continue reading

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THE STRANGE MANUSCRIPT (1881): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Strange ManuscriptTHE STRANGE MANUSCRIPT BY _________ M.D. (1881) -Written by Alexander Pitts Bettersworth. The mock author, an M.D. who remains anonymous, upon learning that a comet will strike the Earth in 1883, stores supplies in Mammoth Cave with the help of his black servant Josh. With most of humanity dismissing the threat as a hoax or a mistake, the only other people who join them in the cave are a young woman named Ida and her black servant Chloe.  

The foursome survive the collision with the comet as well as the intense heat which causes some of the rock interior of the cave to melt. When the entrance to the cave indicates that the air temperature has cooled sufficiently the two couples – now romantically involved – venture forth to see what is left of our planet. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN NINE: SOMETHING WORTH DYING FOR

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below. Marvel still rules current Pop Culture.

Killraven nine something worth dying forAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #26 (September 1974)

Title: SOMETHING WORTH DYING FOR

Synopsis: Writer Don McGregor took one step forward in quality last time around, now it’s two steps BACK with this story that is so bad even the people at DC’s Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth might have rejected it. 

Near Battle Creek, MI, Killraven and his Freemen (M’Shulla, Old Skull, Hawk, Carmilla Frost and her creation Grok) have landed in their  Dyna-Glider. 

Killraven is busy trying to break one of the pinkish-crimson horses with serpent scales and forked tongues which were caused by the biological warfare agents unleashed 18 years earlier in mankind’s futile war to stop the alien invasion.

While time goes by and the Freemen reflect on KR’s stubbornness, dialogue tells us it has been well over a month and a half since the battle in Indianapolis last issue. (This makes no sense since they are flying, which is why my revision last issue made a point of having their Dyna-Glider destroyed by Skar. Hell, they could have WALKED from Indianapolis to Battle Creek several times over in a month and a half.) 

Killraven 2The dialogue also tells us Killraven has not had any of his Visions courtesy of The Power since the encounter with Martians and human Quislings at the Indianapolis Speedway. NOTE: At this point KR and his Freemen have not yet pieced together the fact that his “visions” are really him mentally invading the minds of Martians. Since they have encountered no Martians in the past month and a half, THAT’s why he has had no visions recently.

REVISION: Rather than have the main action focus on KR trying to “break” the serpent-stallion like he’s in a rodeo while dialogue covers important topics, I would have had KR already astride the horse while his Freemen were riding the mutated hybrid animals they would be riding a few issues down the road.

While Killraven and his Freemen – with Deathlok replacing Grok in my revisions – engage in a running battle with human Quislings pursuing them in various land-vehicles, dialogue and narration would let us readers know they’ve been on the run like this for weeks since the clash in Indianapolis.  Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN EIGHT: THE DEVIL’S MARAUDER

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below. Marvel still rules current Pop Culture. 

Killraven eight devils marauderAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #25 (July 1974)

Title: THE DEVIL’S MARAUDER

Synopsis: Don McGregor is beginning to really click as the writer for this post-apocalypse series, so my revisions will be very limited this time around. Rich Buckler is the new artist, further improving the series compared to the past few issues.

Somewhere in the ruins of Indiana, like most of the Earth, nearly leveled in the war against the alien invaders 18 years earlier, a stolen Dyna-Glider flies through the skies. Aboard are Killraven and his Freemen: Hawk, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost, her creation Grok and M’Shulla, who pilots the craft.

REVISION: My Freemen roster is the same except for Grok, who would instead be Deathlok, Carmilla Frost’s creation. I would have Carmilla piloting the aircraft since she is the scientist of the group.

The Freemen spot a Martian tripod pursuing a human who fled their enslavement at the nearby Martian testing grounds/ proving grounds for their war machines: the old Indianapolis Speedway. Piloting the Tripod is Skar, a mysterious inhuman figure who works for Earth’s alien conquerors but who makes it clear he is neither human nor Martian. (NOTE: His exact nature will be revealed during a future clash with the Freemen.)

REVISION: As always, I would have dropped the ridiculous Martian angle along with the tenuous War of the Worlds connection and just had it be regular aliens – Zetans in my revisions – who had conquered the Earth. Skar is such a bland name I would have livened it up a little as “Warscar” or “Battlescar” or something similar.

Killraven foolishly leaps from the Dyna-Glider to attack Skar’s Tripod. He is defeated and left for dead, since Skar considers all humans beneath contempt. He pilots his Tripod back to the converted Indianapolis Speedway.  

REVISION: I would, as ever, have the Tripods really be Triphibian craft and the Dyna-Glider would have been shot down by Warscar/ Battlescar after he thought he killed Killraven. The explosion in the distance would make him assume all hands were dead and he would return to the Speedway.    Continue reading

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