“The Monster Fetish” is one of my favourite KAMANDI stories, great high-adventure in Earth A.D. Opening somberly with the funeral of Flower, Kamandi’s brief companion killed in the previous issue, with full military honours courtesy of Sultin of the Lion Rangers, they’re then attacked by a gorilla scout. It turns out the gorillas are trying to free the simple-minded giant gorilla Tiny, who’s being held by the lions. They succeed in freeing Tiny, but he turns on them, being interested only in Kamandi, who he thinks of as a toy.
After Tiny is knocked out and Kamandi is freed, Sultin takes Kamandi to the lion city, which is surprisingly sophisticated compared to most that Kamandi would encounter, and Kamandi finds out about their legends of the Founding Lions from the fabled land of “Zuu”. Tiny attacks again, this time scaling a skyscraper, and is knocked down by the new experimental bi-planes the lions have designed from old photos. As Kamandi observes, “even the ancients, with their imaginative movies, couldn’t have produced anything like this”.
Mike Royer inks the 20-page story and the cover, and really shines on this issue, even more so than usual. I love the texture he brings to the art in this one, especially the animal faces and hands, which Kirby clearly had a blast drawing.