Persistent rumours that a film version of Joe DeVito (artist) and Brad Strickland’s illustrated novel Kong: King of Skull Island is underway were confirmed on the Ray Bradbury panel of the San Diego Comicon last July — though when it is due is still uncertain. But ahead of the film’s appearance, Markosia Enterprises has this month released the five-issue comic version of the tale as a complete 144-page graphic novel, with new art and abundant giant-monster mayhem.
The graphic novel adaptation is by Andy Briggs and Chuck Saterlee, with art by Dan O’ Connor and Scott Larson, colors by Kris Johnson and Richard Counsell. Published by AAM/Markosia October 2009.
The story begins in 1957, twenty five years after King Kong’s fall from atop New York City’s Empire State Building. Following Kong’s death, both Carl Denham and the body of Kong quickly vanished before any investigation could be launched, leaving rumor and speculation in their wake. Carl’s son, Vincent, was left behind. He is now a paleontologist facing a spiritual dilemma, which has its seeds in the disappearance of his father. Upon a chance finding of the hidden Skull Island map, Vincent contacts Jack Driscoll, one of Kong’s original captors. They piece together a plan and go to Skull Island in search of Carl Denham, King Kong, and an answer to questions spanning a quarter century.
During a disastrous landing attempt, Vincent is almost killed and Driscoll sets out to find his stricken friend. Upon waking in a dark cavern, Vincent finds himself being cared for by an enigmatic island elder and her young, exotically beautiful but ominous assistant, Kara. The ancient woman, who asks to be called “Storyteller,” seems to possess extraordinary knowledge about Vincent and his father. She relates a story from a century earlier that Vincent half-hears and half-dreams through the haze of narcotic herbs kept burning to aid his recovery. Her tale hints at the true origin of the island’s culture and the mystery behind questions such as: Who built the Wall and how? If the Wall was built to keep Kong out, why are its doors big enough to let him in? How could such an island and its monstrous creatures still exist? The answers to those questions and more are all revealed.
Or are they?
While the Storyteller’s tale is sometimes confirmed, it is often refuted by the sights and experiences of Jack Driscoll. He stumbles upon pieces to Skull Island’s primordial history as he struggles to survive the various threats of the island and find his friend. When Driscoll and Vincent reunite, their experiences combine to determine just who the Storyteller and Kara are, what became of Carl Denham, the story behind King Kong and clues to the origins of Skull Island itself. As a result, their lives are all changed forever.
As the story unfolds against a fantastic prehistoric backdrop, woven throughout are themes of personal redemption and reconciliation. All the protagonists have a particular cross to bear: Vincent is on the brink, both emotionally and spiritually; Driscoll comes face to face with past fears and prejudices; in the wake of Kong’s death, the lives and culture of the islanders themselves hang in the balance; and we find that Carl Denham’s desperate attempt to assuage his conscience decades earlier had very unexpected consequences…
Mysteriously, everyone is inextricably bound to the Storyteller’s ancient tale. It tells of Islanders Ishara and Kublai, and their quest to escape a terrible fate which threatens both themselves and their people. That struggle has the power to reach across time and change the destiny of all – if they survive. For at the nexus of every event is the beast-god of Skull Island: KING KONG. (Supplied by publisher)
Publisher Harry Markos commented: “We have spent the last six months or so working on some significant improvements to art and colors and it looks great. Artist Scott Larson in particular has done an amazing job.”
Undead Backbrain has been supplied with some examples of the new artwork. Below are OLD and NEW examples of key pages (click to enlarge):
Old Issue 3, pages 14 and 15:
New Issue 3, pages 14 and 15:
Old Issue 3, pages 16 and 17:
New Issue 3, pages 16 and 17:
Issue 4, page 15: Old (left) and New (right):
Issue 5, page 1: Old (left) and New (right):
Issue 5, page 7: Old (left) and New (right):
Below are the covers of the original (and still available) comics in the mini-series. There are two versions of each (except for issue 0), the standard cover and a Special Edition cover (click to enlarge):
You can read the first 22 pages of the graphic novel below.
In the UK bookstores Kong: King of Skull Island can be ordered direct through Bertrams Booksellers using the ISBN 9781905692347.
Individuals can approach any Comic Shop in the UK, USA and Australia who can order this item using the code AUG09 0603 through Diamond Distributors. Alternatively it is available for sale worldwide direct from Markosia’s website.
Markosia Enterprises has simultaneously released an original graphic novel featuring giant beasties — The Serpent Wars. But that’s another story….