The Compleat Cosmo

Way back in the olden days, in 1980, I began developing a character named Cosmo, a sort of cross between Conan and Jack Kirby's Kamandi: a wild, barbaric, fearless fighter, self-confident, incredibly strong and fast -- a ridiculous spoof of all my heroes rolled up into one, whose slapstick, pie-in-your-face adventures were created for no purpose other than to entertain.

In a post-holocaust earth of the future, the few cities remaining are towering, gigantic fortresses protected from the wastelands and swamps beyond which are filled with acid rain, scavengers either living or dead, and mutants and monsters, some of whom make their way into the city through the sewers. 

Cosmo comes from the north, a country called Ginnungagap, and his people are barbarians.  The son of Snorri, a great warrior, Cosmo leaves his village of Niflheim as a teenager to seek adventure in the south.  Somehow he manages to make his way to the city called Sunspot through hundreds of miles of dangerous forests and swamps, learns the culture, technology and language (English) of the city dwellers, goes by the generic name of Robert Johnson (no, he wasn’t named after the blues guy), and tries to survive the perils of this future world: assassins, gangs, robots, maniacs, monsters, mutants, aliens, and his arch-nemesis Linklok (aka, Ay-Korne).

Generally, I didn't refer to Robert Johnson as Cosmo until after the long story, Set the Controls, but from here on I'll refer to him as Cosmo, his real name, if only for the sake of brevity.

Cosmo began in October of 1980 as two separate characters: Mr. Johnson-Bob, a page I just scribbled off on a sudden whim, a total abandonment of my senses, and then expanded into a 10-page story; and Rose Rednose, a 20-page story drawn in felt-tip pen, in which our hero battles Ay-Korne, a man with wings for arms.  (Ay-Korne/Linklok, lost his arms in battle with Cosmo at the beginning of Set the Controls, and returned at various times with his arms replaced by chainsaws, swords and hooks.)

Mr. Johnson-Bob, about 40 years of age, made a guest-appearance shortly afterwards in a 10-page comic called Jack and Jerk: The Off Brothers and in some other unfinished comics.  Mr. Johnson-Bob ("Robert H. Johnson", according to his gravestone) wore bandages around his skull and strange goggles over his eyes in the first story.  In another, a single page called The Land of the Land, coloured with pencil crayons, we see that he does have hair -- and it's green, a result of irradiated rain.  The goggles protect his eyes. 

As it turns out, Mr. Johnson-Bob was, in fact, Rose Rednose twenty years later, after the already ravaged Earth took a turn for the worse and the big cities were destroyed, leaving only the haunted forests, and that both of these characters were Robert Johnson/Cosmo.  (Simply put, the Robert Johnson/Cosmo stories, and the one Rose Rednose story, take place 20 years earlier than the Mr. Johnson-Bob stories.)

Caveat: All of the comics here were written and drawn extempore.  There was no preparation, no rough pencils to erase.  A lot of it was drawn in blue ballpoint pen, sometimes on the reverse side of classroom handouts, while in my ancient high school, in the dark, dank basement where the cafeteria was located and where it was read daily by a random, motley horde of teens, from goody-two-shoes girls to leather-jacketed hoodlums to stoned freaks.  Some of the artwork is crude, a lot of the words illegible, most of the pages ravaged by time and carelessness.  In some instances the ink is bleeding through the page, and, as all the pages are drawn on both sides, is showing through the other side.  The Compleat Cosmo is patently unpublishable; but, for the masochists, the unfinished saga is here, including even the most worthless bits and pieces, in all of its blue and white glory!  You've been warned.

I'll comment further on each story in their individual sections, and perhaps on some pages where warranted.

Entire contents of this site (c) 2010 - 2019 by Richard Beland

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