Kona 17

Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle #17
March 1966

"Krym's Conquering Monsters"

Twenty-seven pages

Written by Paul S. Newman
Drawn by Sam Glanzman
Published by Dell

Kona is a character I have no knowledge of beyond this issue, which I fished out of the slush box as something unusual to review. He is apparently a Ka-Zar-like character who lives on an island of monsters, of which he is the monarch. Says so right on the cover.

From the opening page:  "For as Kona stands alone, desperately trying to stem the dread tide, instinctively he knows that if he loses this battle – evil will win!"

Kona is pushing a boulder into a cave opening, trying to stop an outflow of monsters, but he is unsuccessful. Fortunately, it is just a dream. Unfortunately, he walks in his sleep, and just as he is jumping off a cliff in his dreams, he jumps out a window at the home of his host in the city. Luckily for him he lands on an awning. Unluckily, it doesn't wake him up, and he attacks a crane with his long knife thinking it's a monster. Bright guy, that Kona.

A guard's efforts to stop him are unsuccessful, and he continues his sleepy-time rampage, attacking a trolly car because he thinks it's a triceratops. Police arrive to stop him, but before they can shoot, Kona's host, Dr. Dodd, shows up and wakes him, then takes him back to his house. Kona sees the dream as a premonition of bad things to come, "A warning of EVIL things befalling Monster Isle!"  Foreshadowing, your guarantee etc.

Dr. Dodd promises to take Kona home, but elsewhere, Captain Krym (Crime, get it?) is with his crew on a whaler,  searching the Pacific for Monster Island in the fog.  With the aid of Professor Faks, he finds it and lands. They soon discover an ancient cave that has been blocked off, presumably by Kona to keep the bad monsters from escaping. Of course, they blow it up.

Inside they find lots of monster eggs being guarded by cave men.  The egg thieves hold the cave men off with machine guns (not killing any, of course, because it's a Dell comic) and tear gas. Back at the whaler, the evil guys inject the eggs with chemical additives and head to Norwalla Island, where the U.S. has an advanced nuclear weapons base. "And then, the eggs in our little plot really will hatch!" observes Dr. Faks, whose head resembles an egg itself.  The excitement builds!

As part two begins, we see Kona and pals returning to Monster Isle in the Explorer, Dr. Dodd's hydrofoil, but their trip is interrupted by an urgent request for help on Norwala Island where prehistoric monsters have been sighted!  Oh, no! A sentry has seen a two-headed monster that gets angry after he shoots it, so it eats him.  Off camera, of course.

On another part of the island, Captain Krym and his crew are watching the quick-hatching and even-quicker growing monsters attack more sentries. As soldiers show up to investigate, the bad guys make things worse by throwing nerve gas to make the soldiers even more afraid, and they run off screaming after seeing a chipmunk. "Most effective! If a small animal frightens them, imagine what will happen when they see our real monsters!" The fiends!

Now we have a few pages of soldiers vs. monsters, with more nerve gas thrown in to make it worse for the soldiers. Captain Krym's plan to distract the soldiers while he makes off with nuclear weapons stored on the island is working! Nyaa ha ha!

A recon plane is knocked out of the air by a monster as Kona, Dr. Dodd and his unnamed older daughter approach the island, so they instantly figure out what is going on.  They land and Kona jumps out and attacks and kills a monster (off camera), using only his long knife.  A couple of Krym's men spot Kona and dump more nerve gas on him, causing him FEAR!  Oh no!

Part three begins with Kona dreadfully afeard of a little white bunny wabbit that two more of Dr. Dodd's unnamed younger kids helpfully chase away.  Elsewhere, Krym's men attack the island stronghold, frightening the soldiers with more nerve gas while more monsters attack. They break into a storehouse where the nuclear weapons are all thoughtfully packed up in cardboard boxes and ready for transport.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I mean, hydrofoil, Dr. Dodd is trying to treat Kona's fear while absent-mindedly leaving his two younger children out on the beach to play with the monsters. Kona sees them and overcomes his fear to rescue them by shouting "Oraanu-Kilooe!" and "Arilooo-Lak!" at one monster to control it and make it attack the monster that is bothering the kids.  After Kona's monster kills the other one (off camera), the two kids, whose names are finally given (Lily and Mason) come down out of a tree to safety. "Kona is Kona! Fear is not a part of Kona!"

Kona uses his monster to attack and kill the remaining monsters on the island (off camera, except for a little neck bite). But Captain Krym's men see what's happening and start shooting at Kona and his pet monster, this time with bullets instead of gas! The monster, with Kona riding on its back, overturns the bad guy's vehicle and they take off running, but not before lobbing a grenade into the monster's mouth, blowing it up real good (on camera!) Kona and the recovered soldiers manage to chase Captain Krym and his Krew off the island. "Not a single nuclear weapon was stolen!" Dr. Dodd observes. "Krym's plot was cunningly prepared – but it failed!"

However, Krym has escaped, and Kona repeats his feeling that his dream was a premonition that Krym will return to endanger Monster Island! "A chill fills the Dodd family, as they silently wonder if Kona's prediction will come true." The end.

Dinosaurs, monsters, a savage hero and a bad guy with a bad name. Why didn't this sell?

Anyway, the story itself is a bit more entertaining than my dreary recap, if you put your mind on numb. The art is decent but not outstanding. I swear I see some Ditko in the inks on some pages, but that's probably wrong.  My mind may have been numbed, or I absorbed some of that tear gas.

-- your pal, Hoy