The time is now. A Military helicopter crash lands in a remote valley in Africa. A lone survivor awakens with no memory of who he is or what he was doing there, but he’s wearing a uniform and is a skilled combatant. From the wreckage he learns only his name — ROGER DRUM. As he explores his new surroundings he is confronted by a bizarre lost world of dinosaurs and other strange creatures. Drum must learn to survive in this terrifying new reality while coming to terms with fragments of a past he isn’t sure he wants to remember.
As a bonus, this over-sized issue also includes the original first issue with fantastic art by the one-and-only Frank Frazetta at no extra cost!
*Blurb from the first issue.
The year 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet hurdling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Man’s civilization is cast in ruins. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn. A strange new world rises from the old. A world of savagery, super science and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice…
Hold on… that’s Thundarr the Barbarian. The comic I’m reviewing in this post is Thun’da, an even more obscure character that was the creation of legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. This isn’t a review of the original comics but rather Dynamite Comics’ attempt to revive the character in 2012 with a five-issue miniseries. Thun’da basically is a Tarzan knockoff living in a lost land filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. There is little about the character to make him stand out from the other Tarzan clones (such as Ka-Zar), and there is little about the comic to make it stand out from countless other lost world stories.
The first issue begins with Thun’da – a U.S. soldier named Roger Drum – awakening after a helicopter crash that has left him stranded somewhere in central Africa. Thanks to the selective amnesia that only occurs in fiction, he can’t remember who he is but he has retained all his survival skills and military training. The sudden appearance of a T. rex assures Thun’da that he is not in Kansas anymore, so after blowing up the helicopter, he escapes into the woods to get his bearings. What follows is a series of adventures with a sabertooth cat, Neanderthals, intelligent apes, and a scantily clad native princess.
The most memorable thing about Thun’da is just how forgettable it is. I read the series twice but have trouble retaining any details about the plot. That is largely because the comic is simply one lost world genre cliché after another, with the barest thread of a narrative arc holding it all together. The same blandness extends to the art, which isn’t terrible but also isn’t distinguishable in any way from the art that graces thousands of other comics. Together the story and the art add up to a whole lot of “meh.”
Thun’da is a comic you can comfortably skip. It isn’t the worst comic I have read, but it may be among the most boring.
- The first three issues of Thun’da include Frazetta’s original comics, which boast much better illustrations than the reboot. The one exception is in the third issue, where Frazetta’s art includes racist caricatures of native Africans. The original comics were drawn in the 1950s and reflect the racial attitudes of the times.
- The original Thun’da made his big screen debut in 1952 in the Columbia Picture’s film King of the Congo. He was portrayed by actor Buster Crabbe.