Sunday, May 07, 2017

The Chronologically Confounding Case of Korak the Killer

As I mentioned in a prior post, Sunday-style color comic strips are available on www.edgarriceburroughs.com.

I've read the Korak the Killer strip, written by well-known comic book scribe Ron Marz. This is a new, original tale in which Korak agrees to help Princess Nemu, whom he encounters in the jungle as she searches for Tarzan. Tarzan is away from Africa, and so Korak agrees to help her by returning with her to her hidden city of Memnon to free it from usurpers/slavers.

Memnon first appeared in Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman (Dark Horse Comics /DC Comics, 2000), which took place in November 1939. Princess Khefretari of Memnon was the titular “Cat-Woman” of the title. I noted this crossover at http://www.pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Chron7.htm and in my book Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World, Volume 1 (Black Coat Press, 2010). Batman/Tarzan was also written by Ron Marz.

The Korak tale reveals that Princess Nemu is the daughter of now-Queen Khefretari. Nemu appears to be about 16 or 17, although this is purely a guess based on how she is depicted (although she is surely not younger than 16 or 17). Confoundingly, the usurpers are led by a soldier of the Reich—presumably the Third Reich. Batman/Tarzan undisputedly takes place in November 1939. The Korak tale cannot take place in the time range 1939-1945. The very earliest Nemu could have been born would be Sept 1940 (there was no evidence that Khefretari was pregnant in the Batman/Tarzan tale). Nemu is absolutely not four or five years old in the Korak tale; in fact, she and Korak almost share a romantic kiss. (We’ll come back to that.)

A creatively mythographical explanation for the timing is that the usurpers are of a type seen frequently in stories, holdover Nazis trying to rekindle former glories and establish a new Reich. With this interpretation, the Korak story could take place in 1956, ’57, ’58, etc. (depending on whether we readers ever learn more definitively that Nemu’s age is).

Now, about that kiss. This story absolutely cannot take place before Korak met Meriem in The Son of Tarzan [Third Reich story elements]. If the story takes place in the mid- or late-1950s, is Meriem dead by this time? Have they divorced? Was Korak about to “step-out” on Meriem? (The kiss was not completed; however, the storyline is not complete, so who knows what Mr. Marz has in store for Korak and Nemu.) Perhaps injecting a potential romance between Korak and Nemu was a misstep on the part of Mr. Marz. I should say I’m a fan of his work, such as the Batman/Tarzan series and his run on Witchblade.

The really cool parts… in strip #26, there is a panel in which the prior adventure in Memnon is discussed, stating that a treasure hunter was defeated by Korak’s father, including an “aided by a man who dressed like a bat.” (Nemu states that this took place before she was born, reinforcing the chronological discussion above.) In strip #33, the prior events are again discussed; Khefretari tells Korak shat she knew his father “years ago,” when Tarzan came to Memnon with “…another hero, an American”; in this panel, a Batman shadow-silhouette is seen, just like in the ’40s Golden Age Batman comics.


Cool stuff indeed. Despite the chronological conundrums and the uncharacteristic romantic interlude, I recommend this strip and have great hopes that Mr. Marz will not leave us hanging.





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