Monday, June 18, 2012

Monster Monday: The Partial Resurrection of Simon Garth, aka the Zombie!

I have expressed my love for Marvel's Tales of the Zombie a few times here before.  TOTZ, Dracula Lives, Vampire Tales, I loved all of those mags.  But the Zombie was special--a character that allowed Steve Gerber to write some really crazy stories.  And best of all, it almost seemed like a limited series, when issue #9 was published.  The lead Zombie story was titled "Simon Garth Lives Again" by Tony Isabella.  The Zombie is transformed back into a living man for 24 hours--enough time to attend his daughter's wedding--before turning back into the undead.  By the end of the tale,  Simon Garth engulfed himself with a Gris-Gris (the only thing that could destroy a Zombie) and was buried in a new grave.

I thought that was pretty final end to the Simon Garth's story.  Yet, the next issue blurb did say he would return in issue #10!  But we never got the story.  When the final issue of TOTZ appeared, editor Don McGregor wrote an editorial explaining that Gerry Conway had written and Rico Rival had drawn a 30 page story featuring all-new adventures of Garth.  But these pages got lost in the mail and were probably in Guam!  I always wondered what happened to that story; it was never published.  But I just found the pages on Heritage Comics auction site a while ago!

The opening page shows that Simon Garth is right where Papa Doc and Tony Isabella left him, buried in a graveyard.  It's been two months since the events of TOTZ #9.  Which would have been appropriate if this had appeared in issue #10--the magazine was published bi-monthly!

A team of scientists is using a "vibro-mole" to dig Garth out of his grave.  It was interesting that Conway chose to have the military-industrial complex be the agent of the Zombie's return.

On the title page "The Partial Resurrection of Simon Garth", the Zombie is lifted out of his grave.  He remains motionless, inert, deader than the usual dead guy.

But Simon Garth's body is still somewhat intact--it hasn't decomposed any further.  Which was something quite mysterious about this character.  He was attacked by giant spiders, set on fire, hacked at with an axe--yet he never lost any body parts.  This Zombie was tough.

By the fifth page we see a man retrieve a very familiar object, the medallion used to control the Zombie, being stolen from a detective's office.

I have scans of the next few pages but not the entire story.  What happens next is that the Zombie is studied by the military.  Someone goes wacko (Andrews or the guy who stole the medallion) and starts killing people.  Would love to know how Garth was reanimated.  Was this story ever published in one of the Essentials?   Nuff Said!

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