I remember coming home from school when I was 10 and my mom having a surprise for me.She had gone shopping and stopped in the "Nearly New Shop" and bought me about 2 dozen comic books. This was an era when you could go to a garage sale or walk into a thrift shop and pick up used comics for about 5 cents apiece. There were a couple of Superman and Batman comics in the pile that I already had. So I could trade them. There were assorted Disney comics from Gold Key. A Ditko Spider-Man and Strange Tales. And then there was a title I had never seen before... Mighty Samson from Gold Key. It had this super-keen painted cover with a blond Tarzan-type doing battle with a gorilla/lizard hybrid.
Mighty Samson premiered in 1964 from Gold Key ,the creation of writer Otto Binder and artist Frank Thorne. The character lived in one of those post-apocalyptic worlds that were always turning up in pulp fiction. His was a New York renamed N'Yark overrun by vegetation and populated by tribes of savage humans and mutant monsters. Samson was a mutant himself. The only thing freakish about him though was his great size and super-human strength.
Imagine Shaquille O'Neal 70 pounds heavier with 2 percent body fat. He was accompanied on his adventures by Mindor,a scientist of sorts and his daughter Sharmaine who would be Samson's love interest through the run of the series.Other recurring characters were King Kull (no relation to Robert E.Howard's barbarian hero) and Terra of Jerz.
The series originally ran for 20 issues 1964 to 1969. Jack Sparling would take on the art chores from Thorne beginning with issue No.8 and continue to the end of the original series. There are a lot of comic book historians who referred to Sparling as a "hack". But I kind of liked his style. And preferred it to Thorne's. I never considered Mighty Samson a great comic. But it was fun and entertaining.
It might have made for a good 60s sci-fi flick. The mind boggles at the thought of Ray Harryhausen recreating the mutant monsters of the comic for the big screen. But who to cast as the gigantic Samson. Clint Walker immediately springs to mind as the barbarian adventurer. But given a little more thought I might also consider former U.C.L.A basketball star turned actor Denny Miller. Tall and athletically muscular he was also a blond like the character.
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