Monday, May 25, 2009

If You Blinked You Missed: John Jakes' Brak the Barbarian

John Jakes, best known for his North and South trilogy and Kent Family Chronicles series of novels, actually started out in the pulps, writing sci-fi, sword and sorcery, and westerns. He was also a charter member of SAGA (Swordsmen And Sorcerers' Guild of America) early in his career due mostly to the popularity (among fans in the know) of his sword and sorcery character, Brak the Barbarian. Brak appeared in various short stories, novels, and collections (including the most awesome Flashing Swords! series which I'll fill ya in on one'a these fine days) and was a pretty cool tribute to the heroes of Robert E. Howard. What you may not know is that Brak also appeared in a handful of comicbooks published by (who else?) Marvel Comics back in the Groovy Age. I suppose Jakes got bitten by the comicbook bug after plotting a couple Conan stories and a Kull story for Marvel, 'cause he even adapted his own 1952 short, "The Opener of the Crypt" for Chamber of Chills #4 (February 1973). Anyway, Brak made his first comicbook appearance (the story I'm sharing with ya today, by the by) in Chamber of Chills #2 (October 1972) in a story called "Spell of the Dragon", plotted and laid out by Dan Adkins, scripted by Jakes, himself, and art by Val Mayerik and Joe Sinnott. Dig it, baby!

After that, Brak appeared in a few issues of Marvel's black and white Savage Tales mag, namely issue 5 which reprinted "Spell of the Dragon" and issues 7-8 with Doug Moench and Steve Gan adapting Jakes' short story, "The Unspeakable Shrine". That's a total of 30 original pages of material spread over 3 comics (not counting the reprint). Brak's comicbook career was definitely short but sweet, eh, Groove-ophile?


  1. Well, he's no Conan, by Crom, but I do remember Brak from those old Savage Tales stories and he was pretty bad ass! I had never seen the above story, though. Awesome find!

  2. Glad to find something new for ya, Reis! Nobody's Conan but Conan, but some of these knock-offs were fun!



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