Saturday, January 7, 2012

Arkon The Magnificent!

John Buscema & Tom Palmer

Arkon the Magnificent first showed up in Avengers #75, but his cover debut was the King Kong swipe cover for Avengers #76 above.

John Buscema & Tom Palmer

Arkon was the ruler of the planet Poelemachus which was suffering an energy crisis. It was figured out that by setting off atomic explosions on the dimensionally identically located Earth that the energy of Polemachus could be recharged.

To this end Arkon, a barbarian in the Marvel Universe proper travels to Earth by means of a spell cast by Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch and kidnaps some scientists to get them to build a bomb to do the deed. Quicksilver gets the Avengers involved to save Wanda and the battle is on.

John Buscema & Sal Buscema

After that threat is averted, the Avengers end up on Polemachus in Avengers #84 to rescue the Black Knight when he is taken captive by Arkon and his ally the Enchantress. After that Arkon and Polemachus fade out of Marvel mythology for a while.

Frank Miller & Terry Austin

Arkon shows up years later in an X-Men Annual but I've always mostly been fascinated by his early Avengers appearances.

Arkon seems to me to be another Roy Thomas precursor to Conan. Despite his sci-fi origins, as rendered masterfully by John Buscema and Tom Palmer, he looks every bit the part of a savage barbarian, very like a certain Hyborian not yet a part of the Marvel pagentry. Plus Arkon had some cool sci-fi elements, the other-dimensional stuff and his quiver of lightning bolts, which do different things.

If anything, Arkon's notorious bad temper and epic arrogance make him a great villain, though he's always shown with a edge of concern for his people's welfare, if not also his own. Maybe because we saw relatively little of Arkon, and because he's so fundamentally unlikable as a person, he has ever been a fascinating figure in the greater Marvel Universe.

Here is a gallery of original artwork from the pertinent Avengers issues featuring Arkon.
Avengers #75

Avengers #76

Avengers #84

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  1. I first read the XMen Annual growing up....once I started collecting seriously, I became an Avengers fan and hunted down every issue I could get my hands on....these were some of my favorites.....good post!

  2. I think I might pull these issues out for a read today....thanks!

  3. Gorgeous comics. Of course, Roy Thomas got the quiver of bolts from the Weaponers of Qward in Green Lantern.

    I actually read the sequel to the X-men Annual - the one with the Badoon and the FF- first. So it's still my favourite. After romancing Storm, Arkon shacked up with Thundra the Femizon.

  4. Arkon was also the villain in the Roy Thomas scripted Fantastic Four 160-163 (1975). He attempted to manipulate a nuclear war between three different dimensional Earth so his world could absorb the energy. That story also introduced possibly the lamest villain ever: GAARD!!

  5. Dougie - Arkon is a dog, there's no doubt. Thanks for the info on the bolts.

    Snell - Thanks for that FF appearance. I'd forgotten he had something to do with that, though I well remember Gaard. That is the kind of think only the "King" could get away with.

    Rip Off

  6. The FF appearances were the first thing that came to my mind. When I started reading the FF I started at issue 160 and caught up to present day.

  7. I myself noted the Arkon/Conan/Thomas aspect but never got around to posting about it.
    Great Job - I myself would have prattled on about how cool it was and how much I love Conan and John Buscema and all that icky gloopity glop.


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