Sunday, February 11, 2007

Department of Lost Barbarians


Since my pal Cliff has opened the Taking Up Space Museum over at his blog, I have decided to start my own little museum area, The Department of Lost Barbarians. Everyone's heard of Conan. The more well informed might know Thongor, Brak, and Kothar. But I'm going farther into the dim, dusty, spider haunted areas of sword & sorcery to bring you the characters you've probably never heard of. Heck, a couple of them never even made it to print. Anyway, we'll begin with one of my favorite comic book second stringers, the mighty Durak.
Durak was created by Don Glut, who would go on to create the more sucessful S&S comic hero, Dagar the Invincible. In fact, Durak originally WAS Dagar, or perhaps Dagar was originally Durak.
Goes like this. Back in 1971, Glut (rhymes like flute) had sold a sword & sorcery story to Gold Key's Mystery Comics Digest, called Wizard of the Crimson Castle, which featured a barbarian hero named Daggar, with two Gs. During the time between the sale and publication, Glut submitted a proposal to Gold Key for a Daggar regular comic book series. Gold Key said yes, but ended up changing Daggar to Dagar.
Anyway, Gold Key decided they didn't want Dagar appearing in Mystery Comics Digest the same month his own title premiered, so they changed Daggar to Durak. Glut ended up writing two more Durak stories that were eventually collected with 'Wizard' in the Gold Key anthology title, Spine Tingling Tales.
But Durak's saga doesn't quite end there. Glut used Durak as a guest star in three issues of Dagar and in one of comic's oddest team ups, in issue 16 of Doctor Spektor, uniting the barbarian with Glut's paranormal investigator to fight the living brain of the Wizard Xorkon and the Frankenstein monster. Now that's comic books right there, folks.
Next time, the most popular barbarian who never was.

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