REVIEW: ‘Quartermain’ #1

(Bluewater Comics, 2014)

Ghosts of the Nzadi Part 1
Writer – Scott Davis
Pencils and Colors and Cover– Hoyt Silva
Letters – David Hopkins

My top 10 favorite films always rotates a bit, depending on films I’ve forgotten when I’m writing it.  But Raiders of the Lost Ark is always in my top 5.  The film primed me for adventure stories when I was a kid, stirred excitement in my pre-teen belly as I watched Indy pull out his pistol and shoot the scimitar wielding Egyptian and walk away.

So, in the constant hunt for new films, some to satiate my love of that era and the adventurous nature that surrounded it, my mom rented me a copy of Alan Quartermian’s Lost City of Gold, starring Richard Chamberlain.  (For those of you who are confused by that last sentence, at one time there were these things called video stores at which one could walk into and browse a physical library of movies on shelves, picking out your favorites by the cover image and reading the quick description on the back, and then you would take said “video” home and put it into a machine that was mounted beneath your television called a “VCR” or if you’re my age a “BETA-Max” in which said “video” would play and you could watch the film.  Be sure to bring it back on time though, for the late fees were horrendous and caused no small amount of financial woe to a teenage boy from Upper Michigan.)  Anyway.

Lost City was a total rip-off of Raiders, or the other way around perhaps, because Alan Quartermain was a character created by H. Rider Haggard in the mid-19th century.  But as we all know, the first hit film becomes the “original” idea.  Indy is undoubtedly based somewhere in the Quartermian story.  But all this is tangential to the topic at hand.

Bluewater Comics has just released Quartermian #1: Ghosts of the Nzadi, in which the character of Alan Quartermain is once again resurrected.  Although Alan Moore did a splendid job with him in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the film version so soured me on the character that I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Scott Davis (War of the Elementals, The Tek War Chronicles) has gone back to deepest, darkest Africa, to the roots of the adventuring Alan Quartermain that I grew up watching.  This is the kind of story in which the character thrives, and where he was meant to be.

Quartermain is traveling through Africa by train, the body of his recently deceased son on board.  He meets up with 19th century explorer and African provincial governor Henry Morton Stanley (the “Dr. Livingston I presume” guy).  Stanley is not the picturesque British gentleman, but a cruel tyrant who rules with an iron fist and has little appreciation for the natives or their customs.  Quartermain’s son disappears off of the train, and thus his involvement with the strange events in the Dark Continent resume once again.

I didn’t find any other books where Hoyt Silva (Skyward, colors) did the pencil work as well as the colors, but he does a fine job in this book.  His style is reminiscent of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. cartoon.  The characters are very stylized with blocky jaws and tight mustachios…but it’s a good and different look for this kind of book, and his monster designs are awesome.

So what shall we do with Quartermain #1?  Head on over to Comixology and buy it!  This book has a solid foundation to build on, and if Silva and Davis continue to bring the adventure, what choice do we have but to go and live it through one of the greatest adventurers of all time?



Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.

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