Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weirdworld - The Lord Of Tyndall's Quest


Weirdworld is one of those very special comic book projects that likely should not exist. It's origins are so odd and its development so dependent upon happen chance that I'm surprised it was ever produced. Doug Moench, the creator of Weirdworld and the only writer for the stories, came up with the concepts when he was just beginning as a writer and proofreader at Marvel. He needed some extra cash to help with his moving expenses to New York City and so he was offered the chance to pen a few back up horror tales for Marvel's black and white mags. One of the stories which came to him didn't fit that premise at all, but rather was an offbeat fantasy yarn, a story with remarkable charm but no apparent market.


"An Ugly Mirror on Weirdworld" was recognized by the editors at Marvel as being something special and Mike Ploog was assigned to draw it, an inspired choice. The story is about a misfit elf named Tyndall who is assigned by the local dwarf leadership to seek out evil and extinguish it. He journeys into mysterious lands and faces weird and dangerous threats only to eventually find an egg inside the bones of an ancient creature. The egg hatches and revealed is a lovely maiden, an elf like himself named Velanna. They realize that they belong together and the story ends on a happy note. The story Tyndall and Velanna then languished for a couple of years waiting its chance for publication and a larger audience than the halls of the Marvel offices.

Read it here


That chance came in a one-shot mag called Marvel Super Action. The mag featured Marvel's breakout crime-buster Punisher and no mention is made on the cover of the sweet little story tucked away inside those pages. Weirdworld was unleashed. And it made a palpable hit on the audience.


A second story "The Lord of Tyndall's Quest" was written, this one once again illustrated by the remarkably talented Mike Ploog and perfectly inked by Alex Nino. Moench's yarn tells the further story of the elf Tyndall and his new-found companion Velanna, the elf from an egg. They fall into the clutches of a wizard named Grithstane who sends Tyndall on another quest, this time into the sky itself to the floating weird ring-island named Klarn (Tyndall's home supposedly) which casts a shadow on Weirdworld. This shadow is a breeding ground for evil. Tyndall finds a maiden about to be sacrificed but who is in fact a monster and he escapes with his life. He defeats Grithstane and saves Velanna and the pair once again appear to live happily ever after.

Read it here

This story got a berth in Marvel Premiere, again after languishing for a few years. Two memorable stories, and many more moons and it appears that Weirdworld will be no more. But that's not true at all. 


Much more to come next time.

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5 comments:

  1. While the rest of the series is completely awesome, there's something, almost literally, magical about these first two Weirdworld stories. I guess Ploog's singular art had a lot to do with it. Man, I could have read a million issues of anything with Nino inking Ploog!

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    1. The earliest Weirdworld stories are so whimsical, so unlike anything else anyone was doing at the time. I agree that Ploog had a certain magic, one which did indeed go on to inform the Lord of the Rings itself.

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  2. Ploog was set to do the full color art for the Super Special series (or whatever it was called) but balked at Marvel's Neanderthal policies on artists' rights. We can get a hint of what we lost from the beautiful production art he did for Ralph Bakshi's Wizards at about the same time. I think what ultimately emerged was (through no fault of Moench and Buscema) artificially expanded and overproduced.

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    1. I've always assumed the misfired project is what appeared many years later in Marvel Fanfare. I look at it today.

      I see your point on the next chapter, but I'll look at that next week.

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    2. I think you're right. My understanding is that when things broke down between Ploog and Shooter over the work for hire issue, Ploog sent in (or had already sent) the pencils he had already done on what would've eventually been a 60 page watercolored story, planned to take up two issues of Marvel Super Special.

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