Kong count #43 – Charlton’s Konga

Much like King Kong, the British imitator Konga is also public-domain, thanks to a novelization that hit before the actual movie did not getting its rights renewed. In Konga‘s case, it was in comics form through Charlton Comics, the first issue hitting in 1960.

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Charlton actually had a sort of mini-European monsterverse going on, since they also did adaptations of Gorgo and Reptillicus (later rechristened Reptisaurus and eventually Scarysaurus), starting with straight-up retellings of the film plots, but then going into different territory with original stories for each character and their own creatures thrown in for good measure.

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Konga has a fun second-life in comics, battling aliens, Nazis, dragons, and robots, going onto film sets, and even shrinking in a story that may have inspired the Marvel Godzilla comics or one episode of Kong: King of the Apes. There’s not exactly a climax, as it just sort of peters out, but reading it must’ve kept kids at the time engrossed right up until about the time Rankin-Bass started The King Kong show.

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The comic ran until 1965, on a nigh-bimonthly erratic publication schedule. Some of this may have been complicated by the fact that one of the regular artists on the book, doing 15 of the 26 issues, was Steve Ditko, who created Spider-man halfway through the run. Ditko also worked on the Gorgo comics, and there are great collections of his contributions for both available. As a giant monster completist, however, I’d rather not cherry-pick issues based on the artist, and thankfully an archive of all the stories is available because of their public domain status.

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