I have recently re-read (though it felt like reading for the first time) Kamandi The Last Boy On Earth by Jack Kirby, I own his works in two hardback volumes, and I’ve owned them since they were released.
Kamandi is kinda like the Charlton Heston movie Planet of the Apes, only better, I have great affection for Planet of the Apes and I often, and always at inopportune moments, shout out, ‘IT’S A MAD HOUSE! A MAD HOUSE!’ I refer of course to the (undeniable) fact that the world upon which we all live, and the only place we’ll call home, is indeed a mad house and it’s patients are running amok.
The title character Kamandi is the last surviving member of a group of people who escaped disaster (The Great Disaster) by hiding in a vast complex of underground bunkers these bunkers held generations of human survivors who managed to continue the human race, by the time of Kamandi’s stories the vast underground complex has been reduced to one survivor Kamandi the only true human boy left alive on the planet. Kamandi’s adventures begin when the vast underground complex, Command-D, is overrun by humanoid wolves and Kamandi discovers that humans have devolved while all the other animals have evolved, it’s a hard reality for Kamandi to accept and he’s constantly railing against the times in which he now lives often finding himself in conflict with intelligent animals because he can’t let go of the fact they were once used for entertainment and as pets when Man (foolishly) ruled the Earth.
Jack Kirby’s artwork throughout these two volumes is a joy to behold and I found myself immersed in his fictional world, craving to be somehow a part of it, The Last Geek/Nerd On Earth. Jack wasn’t merely the ‘King’ of comics he was also a master storyteller and no one tells a Kamandi story better than the ‘King’.
During his adventures Kamandi happens upon all kinds of highly evolved animals starting with Wolves and then Tigers, Apes, terrors of the seas and terrifying mutated giant insects, Kamandi meets and fights them all.
As you can imagine being The Last Boy On Earth is enough to drive Kamandi insane and he spends much of the two volumes emoting about the lost human civilisation and faces terrible psychological turmoil as he’s thrown into all kinds of outrageous situations.
The story of course centres all the action on North America and it’s a devastated landscape fought over by Tiger and Ape empires and raped of its spoils by insidious reptilian intelligences. The action and adventure never seems to stop until it disappointingly does.
Kamandi The Last Boy On Earth has been sadly neglected by DC Comics in favour of a half dozen Superman and Batman books as a massive comic book geek I’d sooner buy and read a new Kamandi series rather than trouble myself with a bland Bat book.
I doubt Kamandi will ever appear in his own series again I guess it doesn’t matter I have ‘The King’s’ stories to keep me entertained over and over again.