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Cotton Carver (Early Golden Age)


The serialized adventures of Cotton Carver continue for another year and a half.  There are more cliff-hangars as the series progresses, though many still reach conclusions at the end.  And though I loved the earlier issues of this strip, it loses me partway through.

Adventure 46 sees the trip to Sere mentioned previously, which turns out to be a land rich in radium.  Mona, the Priestess of Sere, commands a tornado and uses it to separate Cotton from the Barlundians, but sends him on his way after the frees her lover from prison.

Cotton returns to Barlundia only to discover Deela has been kidnapped by the First Ones, and after he rescues her they find themselves in a valley that allows them to return to the “upper world.”  They climb up through a volcano, arriving in the arctic, but get separated by an earthquake.  Deela falls into the hands of some trappers, lead by Red Mike, who steals her emerald necklace and demands to know where she found the stones.  Cotton makes his way to them, killing and skinning a polar bear and wearing its hide to scare the trappers, but another earthquake sends Cotton, Deela and Red Mike tumbling into another underground world.

Once there, Red Mike decides to make friends, and they quickly forgive him.  Cotton also proclaims that the world above no longer holds any interest for him.  He is not too keen on the land he is currently in, run by descendants of the missing Roanoke settlement, and they flee.

These issues are the ones that lose me, as we are presented with Flying Men, Atlanteans, Wolf People and Tree People in rapid succession, and none are well-developed or explained.  The series just hurtles from cliffhanger to cliffhanger.  The cliffhangers are not always well-resolved, either.  Most egregious is the one from issues 52-53.  Cotton has rescued Lupo, Priestess of the Wolf People, from the cloud city of the Flying Men by using a balloon.  The Flying Men tear a hole in it, which causes Cotton and Lupo to fall towards the ground.  53 opens with Cotton having managed to grab the edges of the balloon, pulled them together and formed a parachute that they coast down on.  No way.

Cotton meets some lost people from the upper world, Nora Blake, her father, and her boyfriend Jim Bent in issue 54, but he leaves them to find their way back to the surface world in the following story.

In 56 Cotton and Deela leave Red Mike with Lupo and the Wolf People, and begin to head back to Barlundia, with lots of brief adventures along the way.  When they return, in issue 60, they hear that King Marl has died and Xargon has seized the throne.  They find Marl alive in the dungeon and restore him to his throne, and after Cotton prevents him being assassinated by Ortho of Sarthan, Marl makes Cotton the Prince of Sarthan.

Cotton survives a poisoning attempt by Ortho’s sister, and secures the food supply from bandits.

In an earlier issue, Cotton and Deela had discussed marriage, but he insisted he needed time to have adventures before settling down.  As the series concludes, Cotton is now ruler of a princedom, and likely fairly settled, and ready to marry Deela.  And then one day, after Marl dies, ascending to become King of Barlandia.

Cotton Carver:  Adventure Comics  46 – 65  (Jan 40 – Aug 41)

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Cotton Carver


Cotton Carver is a well-drawn series about “an adventurer into the little known and unexplored corners of our globe, a man used to the lonely trail and mountain peak, to food cooked over a brush fire, and to danger in many and varied shapes and forms.”  Although this is a serial, most chapters resolve the problems they bring up, leaving just the over-arcing story to be continued, making it far more readable than most serials.

It begins with Carver attempting to fly over Antarctica, but having to being his plane down after it has engine trouble.  He finds a mayan spear, and later a tribe of parka-wearing mayan warriors, who bring him to their tropical city hidden under the ice.  We learn that they fled there upon the arrival of the spanish.  Cotton helps Atzatl take his rightful place on the throne, overthrowing the usurper Quelta, who has a guard comprised of Incan warriors.  I guess they fled there as well.

Cotton learns of a second route back to the surface world, and takes it. It leads him through a jungle of bizarre plants, and he has to battle a axe-wielding dwarf, Volor.  After being defeated by Cotton, Volor becomes his guide, bringing him to Kothe, the white witch.  Kothe sends a Cat-Man to battle Carver, who once again joins his side after being defeated.  Cotton forces Kothe to take him to the Temple of the Heartstone, and from there they slide down a chute to yet another land.

Now they face Voggoth of the Kralman Guard, who wants to sacrifice them all at the Shrine of Dagan.  Cotton kills Voggoth, but Volor and Cat-Man are seriously wounded.  We see Volor later, having recuperated, but no more Cat-Man, so I guess he died of his injuries.

After using the magic sword Malar to kill the Scarlet Seeress for Elara, the Priestess of Dagan, Cotton, Volor and Kothe head to yet another land, this one in civil war.  King Marl leads the Marlmen of Marlandia (talk about ego), who are fighting against Jagar, the leader of the outlaw land of Barlundia.  The Marlmen have “magneto-ships’, which look like sleds that fly through the air.  As you have to lie down to ride on one, they do not appear very comfortable, or easy to steer.

At any rate, Cotton defeats Jaggar, and has Deela made Queen of Burlandia, battling rebellious pirates to ensure her place on the throne.  King Marl adopts Deela, so the two kingdoms which eventually merge under her rule.

The Marlmen want to take Cotton on a excursion to the land of Sere, but I will cover that when I return to this series in the Early Golden Age.

Although I have never read any Buck Rogers, I suspect this has a similar feel, even though it all takes place below Earth, and in the present.

Cotto Carver continues in the Early Golden Age.

Cotton Carver:  Adventure Comics  35 – 37 (Feb – Apr 39),  39  (June 39),  41 -45  (Aug – Dec 39)

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