Sunday, June 30, 2013
I have no earthly idea what prompted the creation of B'Wana Beast, one of the strangest characters ever to erupt onto the comics world. He appeared in two issues of DC's venerable Showcase and then was seen no more...almost. He appears to be a blend of classic jungle action and superhero craziness, cross of Tarzan and the Phantom. He's strange right down to the logo.
I never owned these two B'wana Beast comics, but I was transfixed by the ads for his debut. Like so many DC characters, which are peculiar and odd, there is a fundamental dynamic which is nonetheless fascinating. Created by Bob Haney and Mike Sekowsky, two of DC's most iconoclastic creators, B'wana Beast has a handsome pedigree Apparently his "superpower" was the ability to communicate with animals and to blend two animals into one creature. It was an idea ideal for the visual feast of comics, but it was at best a limited notion.
B'wana disappears for years and years before surfacing during the Crisis on Infinite Earths alongside every other DC hero.
He did get a try-out of sorts in DC's offbeatChallenge comic, which featured scores of characters in a bonanza of weird stories by a gaggle of DC creators.
He shows up in Animal Man for a few issues, even making the cover once. This is a typically handsome Brian Bolland effort and makes the most of the design mess which was B'wana Beast.