Tuesday, February 5, 2008

1970's Flashback: The Golem

"In centuries agone, they had called him a myth, a creature formed of stone and clay and the blood of a people's oppression - a moving monolith who rose before the voice of tyranny - shattered it in his monumental fists - then vanished into the sands of time - there to be almost forgotten - until today! Now, once more, he rises - summoned from his eons-long sleep to protect those he loves. Now for the first time in untold decades - there walks the Golem!"

Deep in the Sahara desert, Abraham Adamson (the descendant of Rabbi Judah Loew Ben Bezalel) was searching for the Golem. The Rabbi had once created the Golem to protect and avenge his persecuted people. Abraham was accompanied by his nephew Jason, his niece Rebecca and excavator Wayne Logan. Abraham had carefully studied the ancient parchments of the legend and had brought them to the exact spot in the desert where they were indeed able to unearth the Golem statue.

Unfortunately, a number of Middle Eastern deserters showed up (led by Colonel Omar) and began looting the site. One of the soldiers got jumpy and shot Abraham, so Omar took the others as hostages to avoid an international incident, leaving Abraham alone to die with the Golem.
Abraham retrieved the ancient parchments and intoned the Mystic Alphabets of the 221 Gates to bring the statue to life, yet when nothing seemed to happen, Abraham began to weep, and one of his tears landed on the foot of the giant statue. There was a searing flash of light and Abraham Adamson died ... but the light began to shine in the eyes of the Golem!

Thus began Strange Tales # 174 (June 1974), where the Golem first appeared. Not a character of long duration, the Golem certainly got off to a great start with writing by Len Wein, and art duties by two silver age masters, John Buscema & Jim Mooney. With only three appearances in the title (all in 1974), the Golem's story was left somewhat dangling - - - until it was summarily finished off about a year later in [ of all places] Marvel Two-In-One starring the Thing. But now, lets get back to the rest of the introductory story summation:

The Golem ripped through Colonel Omar and his men as they were about to leave the camp, their weapons useless against the giant. The Golem stopped when only Omar was left, and the deserter threatened to kill Rebecca if the monster came any closer. The Golem suddenly lashed out and crushed the gun in Omar's hand and then killed him. The Golem studied Wayne, Jason and Rebecca; who began to scream as she recognized the familiar twinkle of her Uncle's eyes in the corners of the glowing eyes of the Golem!

Sadly this horror-inspired creation just didn't grab readers at the time and Marvel pretty much dumped the Golem.

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