Forgotten Heroes: Thun’da King of the Congo

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Thun’da was Roger Drum, a World War II United States Air Force officer who was shot down while flying over a valley deep in the heart of Africa.  After crashing, he freed himself from his aircraft only to be captured by hostile ape-men.  He managed to escape, and wandered through the valley, pushing himself to exercise daily and becoming a paragon of physical perfection. It was while he was wandering that he was spotted by Pha, the queen of the people who lived in the valley.  After fighting and destroying the hostile ape-men, Thun’da rushed to their temple and rang the sacred gong, thereby summoning “the mother of all serpents,” whom he killed with the last three shots from his revolver.  He won the respect of Pha’s people, and they worshipped him as if he were a god.  Later, after an earthquake ravaged the lost valley, Thun’da was able to get Pha to safety along with their pet sabretooth tiger, but her people were killed and the lost valley was sealed from them forever.

The first issue was released in 1952, with a story by Gardner  Fox and art by Frank Frazetta.  The pairing seemed like a match made in heaven.  Fox, wrote many storylines for early DC Comics heroes (Batman, Sandman, The Flash, Hawkman) and Franzetta is regarded as one of the greatest fantasy illustrators of all time.

A disagreement with Magazine Enterprises editor, Ray Krank led to Frazetta’s exit from the company.  He was replaced with artist, Bob Powell (a legend in his own right).  Powell is remembered for Sheena, Cave Girl, Shadow Comics, Daredevil, Hulk and the Human Torch.

Despite the amazing talent behind Thun’da, the comic scraped by for a mere six issues (with guest appearances in Cave Girl and Africa: Thrilling Land of Mystery).

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