Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Frank Frazetta's Thun'da Becomes Sam Katzman's Thunda, And Loses All Those Pesky Dinosaurs

Normally, I try to stick to the facts in my looks back into our heroic fiction past, but today I'm offering speculation on what happened to Frank Frazetta's brilliant Thun'da between the first and second issues of his comic book.

In his first issue, Thun'da lives in an Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired jungle, one much like Pal-u-don or Pellucidar, featuring giant beasts and dinosaurs of all description. Check out his exciting arrival to the savage world:

But by his second outing Frazetta is gone and the jungle man's habitat is a less inspired, more generic Hollywood b-movie kind of place with no hard to film dinosaurs or giant snakes. The reason, I suspect, was that Thun'da shares the distinction of being not only the last comic book character to get a serial adaptation, he's also the comic book character most quickly adapted to the serial screen. The first issue of his comic was released in the first quarter of 1952, and the Thunda serial was released on April 10 of the same year!

As you can see from the poster on the right, the comic's cover was featured in most of the advertising art. Here's a closer look at a variant from the serial's pressbook:

Which leads me to believe that the comic was altered to better match the serial, a low budget, no frills picture produced by 'Jungle' Sam Katzman, a man legendary for being tight with a dime, let alone a dollar. There would be no money for dinosaurs or mammoths on a Katzman film. Still the serial heavily promoted its comic book roots and devoted a whole page of its pressbook to comic related promotions:

More on Thun'da and Thunda in the weeks to come. For now here's a look at the serial:

And while it might have cost Thun'da his apostrophe and thunder lizards, King of the Congo is still a fun serial and worth a look.

Today's art and film clip are copyright by their rightful owners. The Masked Mayhem's image and related text are copyright Will Meugniot 2013.

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