Friday, August 24, 2012

The Travels of Arak, Son of Thunder

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"The Travels of Arak, Son of Thunder" from Arak, Son of Thunder #50 (DC, 1985) by Roy & Dann Thomas and Tony DeZuniga

In the early 80s, DC really was trying to find an answer to Marvel's Conan comics. Or perhaps there was a real explosion of interest in sword & sorcery, perhaps because of D&D's rising popularity. In any case, DC had a number of fantasy series at this time, one of which was Arak, Son of Thunder, a Native American who crosses over to Europe during the Middle Ages by Vikings and, as you can see, travels the whole of the continent over the course of 50 issues and an Annual. I picked up an issue here and there at the time, usually if Ernie Colon drew Valda the Iron Maiden on the cover (cough, cough), but never got into ANY of DC's fantasy books. Today, they seem very wordy (Roy Thomas wrote them, so duh), but I wouldn't mind re-evaluating the title.

6 comments:

  1. Not the area of Ultima Thule. That was the name of the multversal ship in FINAL CRISIS#7 and SUPERMAN BEYOND in 3D, the tie-in.

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  2. Nice reference! Thanks for catching it!

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  3. I enjoyed "Arak", at least some of the issues I got ahold of. The first issue I encountered was #7 and it may have been the best of the series, with Arak in Rome, wondering what sort of crappy ruler the Pope must be if he lets his people live in squalor.

    Arak's greatest strength was its historical setting (a Roy Thomas trademark). Arak's greatest weakness was Roy Thomas, who was trying way too hard to shove every known detail of circa 810 AD into a comic book about a Tom of Finland character. And the exposition ... oh my, the exposition. I vaguely recall a Byzantine soldier volunteering out of the blue that the term "Byzantine" has come to mean deceitful in many peoples' minds .. infodump much?

    BTW, back then, a soldier in Constantinople would have said he served the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire is what WE call the part of the Roman Empire that didn't fall in 476 AD, but THEY still called themselves Romans. And even if they were going to name themselves after their own city, they wouldn't have turned to the long-obsolete original Greek name ... my guess is they would have gone with "Constantinoploids".

    Complicating matters further is that Charlemagne's empire was known as the Holy Roman Empire, with a lot less justification than the guys I was just talking about. So you had two empires claiming to be Rome, but calling each other "Greeks" and "Franks" respectively. By He-no, this gets confusing.

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  4. Translated for our benefit, no doubt. Yeah, Roy Thomas and exposition is something I was much more able to bear back in the day.

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