Oct 7, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 590: Marvel Spotlight #5, March 1980
I find it amusing that this comic came out just around the same time as Edward Said's Orientalism. I think he'd find this comic troubling.
But I don't really feel like going into that today. This comic was kind of bad. I mean, yes, Marv Wolfman wrote it seemingly mere moments before he and George Perez became the darlings of the industry with New Teen Titans, and Steve Ditko illustrated it, though it seems to lack the manic energy of Shade, the Changing Man, which is coeval with this comic.
There's even a glaring editorial error that makes the whole comic make no sense. The whole set-up hinges on an ancestor of the contemporary Tako Shamara having died trying to defeat a Gozilla stand-in (no joke - apparently the rights lapsed the year before, so the monster just sort of looks like Godzilla) - but in the very panel in which the monster is defeated, we have a caption box reading "He roars, flails, he sees the insect [Taka Shamara] ride off whooping in victory..." The next we hear, apparently Tako has fallen trying to defeat the dragon. It makes no sense whatsoever, and really is a remarkable error, given that it undermines the entire story that takes place, and, narratively, the 500-year long oath sworn by the sons and ancestors (because of course it's the sons, right?) of Shamara.
And then, in the current storyline, the 70s Tako Shamara actually summons the dragon from a remote mountain wilderness into his suburban neighbourhood in order to battle it.
Just a bad story all around, really. Ah well. They can't all be winners.