Thursday, February 14, 2008

1970's [From the Dust Bin] Flashback: Hard John Apple

Warren Publishings venerable titles Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella all got their starts in the Swinging Sixties, but they continued to please throughout the Disco Decade of the Seventies, too. The 1979 Eerie Yearbook (regular issue #106) collected four mid-60's tales by writer Jim Stenstrum, and artists Richard Corben & Jose Ortiz that featured the amoral, freelance contract killer Hard John Apple; under the title "Hard John's Nuclear Hit Parade".

Set within a post-apocalyptic world following two religious wars that have virtually wiped out humanity, left the planet deserted and left the survivors struggling in a dog-eat-dog world, Eerie #106 presented an all-too common genre theme from those years, with one man trying to make a difference in a world that had already died aborning. I haven't had the issue in many years, but it made a a good impression on me at the time and I seem to remember Hard John going out with a real bang at the end - - - and taking the last remaining army (Russian/?) with him.


Anonymous said...

What I remember the most was HOW he went out with a bang: He had an orangutan trained to turn the two keys required to set off the missile launch system. Even though I last read it in the late '70s that has always stuck with me.

Unknown said...

I have a copy of this book. Dog-eared, yellowed and torn edges but very much loved.
Yes, he had an orangutan friend. Unfortunately, the ape sacrificed himself by catching a grenade.
The story culminates with a gethering of three armies at John's HQ. In case someone is reading this, I won't spoil it for them. Suffice to say the keys were turned by a late comer to the story.
What I liked best were the new words set for the story: Catlicks, Prostints, go-gook, etc.

Marc Anthony said...

Man, what a blast from the past! I could NEVER forget Hard John Apple, his orangutang friend "The General" (RIP), and the hot Soviet - style babe he hooked up with in the end ( and of course, those stunning yet unfortunate nymphs he took out at the Gene Pool...sigggghhhh). This was way back in '79 during my first assignment overseas to Europe. Oh how I wish they had had some follow-ups!