Sunday, September 11, 2011
ATTACK OF THE GIANT INSECTS
Above scan of a panel from 'Dünya Düşmanı [Enemy of the World]', an obscure science fiction comics of French origin serialized in the back covers of the first 28 issues of Turkey's 1001 Roman is from the no. 3 (dated July 24th, 1939) of this weekly comics magazine. The original title of 'Dünya Düşmanı' was 'L'Ennemi du monde' and it had originally commenced in L'Epatant, the leading French comics magazine of the pre-war era, but continued in L'As when the former magazine folded in 1939; the artist was Pierre Duteurtre (1911-1989).
The plot of 'Dünya Düşmanı' kicks off with an attack of giant insects on colonial Africa accompanied with a wireless ultimatum coming from a mysterious voice calling for total submission of world nations. Lieutenant Nelson volunteers on a rescue mission to a camp on the outskirts of Mount Kilimanjaro which has been raided by the giant insects. The camp is also being threatened by over-size lions, as seen in the below scan from no. 4:
Upon arriving at the camp, Nelson and his compatriots detain a suspicious young woman who is soon set free by over-size natives which then empower Nelson and co. (scan from no. 17):
Nelson and co. are taken to the hideout of the main villain (scan from no. 20):
They learn that the culprit is a scientist named Bravona who has developed a serum which he calls "serum B.K." that causes abnormal growth in the size of living beings. Meanwhile, airforce attacks the hideout of the mad scientist, but meets devastating defence by the giant insects (scan from no. 23):
The comics ends with Nelson shutting down an electric shield, allowing for missiles to hit the hideout.
I think this is a very interesting comics because it is probably the earliest manifestation of giant insects in the comics medium, predating the giant insect boom of the 1950s by more than a decade. The idea of a scientifically developed chemical substance causing abormal size growth of living beings might have been inspired by H.G. Wells' novel Food of the Gods (1905), but utilizing that idea within the context of a mad scientist bent on conquering the world is pretty original for the pre-war era as far as I am aware.
Artist Duteurtre's post-war credits include the second volume of the sci-fi saga 'Guerre a la Terre' and the long running series 'Sitting Bull', both from Coq Hardi.