Friday, September 2, 2016

Making a Splash: Claw the Unconquered

Check it out, Groove-ophiles! Though he greatly resembled Conan, Claw never reached the heights of REH's greatest creation. He was, in Ol' Groove's opinion, a very cool twist on the savage barbarian. Writer/creator David Michelinie seemed to have been more than a little influenced by Michael Moorcock's Elric and his kin--which made Claw stand out even more. The series' first artist, Ernie Chan (then going by Chua), a sometimes Conan inker/artist, made the series look fabulous--and because of his Conan connection, he probably made Conan fans look twice at Claw! Later, artist Keith Giffen (this is eaaaaaaarly in his career, baby) took over and gave Claw a totally different, and (imo) even cooler look. Dunno why such a well-written, superbly illustrated sword and sorcery (with a big dash of sci-fi) mag like this didn't make it. If it'd been up to yers trooley, Michelinie and Giffen would still be giving Claw menaces at which to swing his sword! Here are all the published splashes from Claw the Unconquered issues 1-12 (February 1975-June 1976, January-May 1978). Dig 'em!
Claw the Unconquered #1











Claw the Unconquered #9




Claw the Unconquered #12

5 comments:

  1. I never read any of this, but judging by these splash pages at least, the art was certainly nice. In that regard at least, I share your puzzlement that this series never caught on. I also see on that the last issue featured both Michelinie and Layton, who would go on to do great things in Iron Man - Layton's inks look fantastic over Giffen's pencils (I'm basing that judgment on the fact that I just looked up the post of that entire issue in your archives).

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  2. It is a bit surprising that Claw never caught on; a bit before its time? One problem many series from the Groovy Age that did not last was a revolving door among the creative staff, but this was not so for Claw as Michelinie wrote all 12 issues and there were only two artists over the run.

    I recently reread another DC sword & sorcery comic from that same era: Stalker. It also had a constant team of writer Paul Levitz along with super-star artists Steve Ditko and Wally Wood. Yet it was discontinued after a brief four-issue run. It, too, was pretty good, even if slightly derivative. I cannot help but think that had these two series come out just a couple of years later, when Conan got his first big-screen appearance, then they might have caught on. Thanks for keepin' them alive, Ol' Groove!

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  3. Wow.

    And that soul-eater? Marvelously disgusting. That mag looks to have had some great-looking, inventively styled critters.

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  4. These need to be collected. I've been reading some Sword and Sorcery lately and got interested in Claw, which I've only ever read one or two issues of. It was a series I ignored at the time until after Ernie Chua/Chan left it. I love the glimpse of the artwork, he was on top of his game.

    Rip Off

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  5. I read these in the 80s after DC revived Claw as a backup to Warlord. This series never had a chance because it wasn't very well written and each issue was kept to a holding pattern: Claw meets a damsel in distress on the road. He rescues her and they ride into town where some kind of force needs to be vanquished. The woman he saved double crosses him. Claw hits the road again. Not much happening there.

    The backup story in Warlord (issues 48-9) was quite clever and the best of the bunch. Different writer and artist.

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