Savage Tales #1 (May 1971). Cover art by John Buscema
|Publication date||May 1971 – July 1975|
|No. of issues||11|
Savage Tales is the title of three American comics series. Two were black-and-white comics-magazine anthologies published by Marvel Comics, and the other a color comic book anthology published by Dynamite Entertainment.
The first of the two volumes of Savage Tales ran 11 issues, with a nearly 2 1⁄2-year hiatus after the premiere issue (May 1971, then Oct. 1973 - July 1975). It marked Marvel's second attempt at entering the comics-magazine field dominated by Warren Publishing (Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella), following the two-issue superhero entry The Spectacular Spider-Man in 1968. Starring in the first issue were:
- Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery pulp-fiction character Conan the Barbarian, adapted by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith (as Barry Smith)
- the futuristic, Amazon-like Femizons, by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist John Romita
- the first-ever appearance of the swamp creature Man-Thing, plotted by Lee and Thomas, scripted by Gerry Conway and drawn by Gray Morrow
- the African-American inner-city defender Joshua, in the feature "Black Brother" by Dennis O'Neil (under the pseudonym Sergius O'Shaughnessy) and penciler Gene Colan
- the jungle lord Ka-Zar, by Lee and artist John Buscema.
Thomas, who would shortly thereafter become Marvel editor-in-chief, recalled in 2008 that
...there were several things that led to Savage Tales being cancelled after that first issue. [Publisher] Martin Goodman had never really wanted to do a non-[Comics] Code comic [i.e., not bearing the Comics Code Authority's parental seal of approval, essentially required on mainstream color comics of the time], probably because he didn't want any trouble with the [Code administrator, the Comics Magazine Association of America] over it. Nor did he really want to get into magazine-format comics; and [Marvel editor-in-chief] Stan [Lee] really did. So Goodman looked for an excuse to cancel it.
When the magazine eventually began publishing again years later (after Goodman had left the company) in the wake of a Conan-inspired sword-and-sorcery trend in comics, it starred the likes of Conan; fellow Robert E. Howard hero Kull of Atlantis; and John Jakes' barbarian creation, Brak. As of issue #6, the magazine cover-featured Ka-Zar.
The series featured painted covers by comics artists including John Buscema (#1-2), Pablo Marcos & John Romita (#3), Neal Adams (#4-6), Boris Vallejo (#7, #10), and Michael Kaluta (#9). A 1975 annual, consisting entirely of reprints, mostly from Ka-Zar's color-comics series, sported a new cover by Ken Barr.
Volume 2 ran eight issues (Oct 1985 - Dec. 1986). It featured adventure and action stories with a military fiction slant. Stories in the first and fourth issues, a feature called "5th to the 1st" by writer Doug Murray and artist Michael Golden, were the forerunners of the duo's color-comics series The 'Nam.
- Savage Tales #1 at the Grand Comics Database
- Roy Thomas interview, Alter Ego #81 October 2008, p. 21
- Jacks, Brian (May 25, 2002). "Interview: Doug Murray". Slushfactory. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
- Biggers, Cliff. "Exploring Dynamite's Savage Tales", Comic Shop News via Newsarama, January 8, 2007. WebCitation archive.