Sunday, August 30, 2015

Retro Comics: The Land That Time Forgot


Another "Retro" review, this time a look at Caprona in glorious...black and white?

Again a little history. Published in 1975 under the banner Marvel Movie Premiere, this first (and as far I can tell last) issue was released as a tie-in to the movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel that, despite its low budget, remains one of the-if not THE-most faithful adaptation of ERB's work to date.

And writer Marv Wolfman (who prior to this wrote the John Carter, Warlord of Mars strips for DC and later worked on Marvel's Carter series) sticks close to the script for the film, including the opening and finale that was unique to the film while at the same time capturing the essence of the original novel that the final film had. It notably streamlines the narrative, removes some of the dated elements (the Germans here are more two dimensional than the ones Burroughs presented) and keeps the tension and wonder. If anything the comic book improves since the creatures presented are not hindered by low-fi FX.

Those creatures are presented, along with everything else in the aforementioned B&W by artist Sonny Trinidad and the work is quite impressive. The lack of color doesn't deprive the story of action and his creatures are well-executed. I also have to give credit for the character designs, which if anything is closer to Burroughs than the final movie (Bowen Tyler appears as the young man Burroughs described, not Doug McClure).

In addition to the comic, the magazine also includes two other features. The first is a lengthy text piece by fantasy writer Lin Carter titled "Lost Races, Forgotten Cities" that looks at the "Lost World" genre of literature and film, from King Solomon's Mines to The Lost World to Burroughs' own entries and beyond. There is also a photo gallery from the film.

With the film currently available on Blu-Ray it might be time if you don't own this to track it down, especially considering the lack of Caspak comic books. One more comic book review will pop up so stay tuned faithful readers.

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