Klik-Klak,Kamandi & Kirby

This was the first issue I bought of Kamandi back in ’73. I’d held off in part because it wasn’t a traditional super-hero book, (no colorful costumes!) and because it had been abruptly inserted into the DC lineup in place of the New Gods( or was it The Forever People?)
I found this cover irresistible–still do. The image of an enormous insect on a leash, leaping from the page, was too exciting, too intriguing to ignore, and so I plunked down my 20 cents and walked out of the drugstore with Kamandi no.12.

Suffice to say, I was hooked right away and bought every issue thereafter until Jack left the series.  And while Kamandi‘s origins lie in DC publisher Carmine Infantino’s hope to capitalize on the “Planet of the Apes” craze, Jack made it his own, so much so that from a contemporary vantage point, I think Kamandi holds up much better than the “Apes” movies themselves–or at least the sequels. And while it’s often dismissed as an “Apes” rip-off,  Kamandi is filled with imaginative characters that by all rights should have found their way into those movies. Characters such as Klik-Klak, the giant grasshopper who adorns this cover and its follow-up, and who was as good a friend as Kamandi ever came across and who was lost to Kamandi, and to us, all too soon. Despite only a few appearances, Klik Klak made a strong enough impression that he’s remembered fondly 40 years after the fact.  Jack could do that, create incidental characters that were unforgettable.

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