Jack Kirby brought his distinctive style to DC Comics in the 1970s. While his greatest contribution to the DC Universe was the introduction of Darkseid and the other New Gods, his longest-lasting series was Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, which began in 1972.

Originally, Kamandi was the last normal human survivor after a vague "Great Disaster" which occurred (or at least started) in the 1980s and involved, but was not limited to, a nuclear war. Later comics fleshed out this disaster and, as explained in the previous node, tied Kamandi's story with that of Omac, the One Man Army Corps. By then, Kamandi had encountered many other relatively normal humans. Kamandi's earth was Planet of the Apes on steroids; most humans were inarticulate savages, while anthropomorphic animals, including apes, tigers (for some reason, based in North America, a region not known for its tiger population), lions, wolves, bears, and others lived in developed, generally feudal civilizations.1 Wreckage of our own civilizations littered the landscape.

Kamandi had several associates over the run of the comic book, including a mutant human named Ben Boxer (who could transform into metal and who wore something akin to a superhero outfit) a dog scientist named Dr. Canus, a castaway alien known as Pyra, and a semi-feral human called Flower. Time-travel stories allowed Kamandi to crossover with Batman and Superman.

As other writers took over the comic, retcons assailed continuity. Dr. Canus, for example, transformed from a strong-willed and courageous character into a pusillanimous, simpering son of a bitch. Pyra was originally a living fireball who took on semi-human form only with the aid of sophisticated equipment on her ship, which took a "pattern" from Kamandi and transformed her into an earth-friendly form. Later stories gave her race the innate ability to take on humanoid form at will. Despite these changes to his secondary characters, Kamandi himself changed little, and even continued to wear only the same torn blue pants in which he'd made his debut.

Kamandi lasted until 1976. As the actual 1980s dawned, his reality became an alternate timeline. He appeared briefly in DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which his story fused with that of Tommy Tomorrow. Nevertheless, Kamandi and his world reappeared in 1993's Kamandi at the World's End.


1. Kamandi never would have been published had it not been for the success of Planet of the Apes. Early issues regularly recall images from the movie series. In all fairness, however, Kirby had tackled similiar material earlier in his career. His story, "The Last Enemy" from a 1957 Alarming Tales featured a future world of anthropomorphic animals. The story is reprinted in Shocking Tales #1.