Monday, December 20, 2010

His name is "Unconquered," not "Uncancelled."

Whatever else you might say about Claw, the Unconquered, you can't say DC didn't give him chances. He got his own series in 1975, fought off cancellation around issue #10, but was finally out with issue #12. (There's a nice summary from writer David Michelinie in #10, the issue we're looking at today.) But Claw wasn't done yet. What I figure was probably intended as his last issue, was instead folded into a back-up feature in Warlord #48.

(Hey! I wrote up Warlord #48, about a bazillion years ago!)

Many years later, a Claw, not the Claw of earlier appearances; would appear in the post-Zero Hour book Primal Force. I have a couple issues of that one, and still couldn't tell you who was on that team. Jack O'Lantern and I think the soulless robot automaton version of Red Tornado...the book lasted fourteen issues.

Surely, that would be the last we'd see of Claw? No! He would get another series from Wildstorm, and a crossover, Red Sonja/Claw: The Devil's Hands! With an Alex Ross cover, if you can believe it! And, um, so far that's been the last we've seen of Claw...not even! Claw has since turned up in Wonder Woman and Time Masters. Good for him.
Early Keith Giffen art, presumably right before his first Legion run.

What's the enduring appeal of Claw, even if it's never translated into sales? Well, he's basically Conan with a demon hand. He's usually portrayed with a little more armor than Conan was in the old Marvel books; but I always thought Claw needed a different haircut or a helmet or something to differentiate him a bit from Conan, or Kull for that matter.

There's something to the idea, but I think DC's been going the wrong way with trying to break him big: even without a ton of name recognition, Claw should be a lock for a DC Universe Classics figure. Reckon he'd have some cross-sell with the Masters of the Universe fans as well; and he'd be pretty easy to make: basic body, a little armor, sword, switchable hands--plain human, metal gauntlet, and unleashed demon hand. You're welcome, Mattel!

From Claw, the Unconquered #10, "The Eater of Souls!" Written by David Michelinie, art by John Celardo and Keith Giffen.

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