Equine is taken by surprise. Artist: Tom Verre.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: GraphXPress
First Appeared: 1985
Creators: Richard Konkle and Jim Groat
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Equine began as a simple spoof of Conan the Barbarian, by cartoonist Richard Konkle (whose sparse credits include work in Marvel's Rom, Space Knight series). His friend, fellow cartoonist Jim Groat (whose even sparser credits include spot illustrations for series like Omaha and Space Ark), saw series possibilities in Equine, and began coming up with story ideas. At the time, the comic book industry was suffering …

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… from a surfeit of speculation, where people who invest in comics took steps to ensure they didn't miss out on the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) whose sudden popular interest (and consequent increase in value) had taken them all by surprise.

Accordingly, just about any black and white comic book by unknown creators, with a sufficiently goofy premise, that came out during the mid-1980s, was liable to be stockpiled in depth by people hoping to cash in on the Turtles craze, irrespective of whether or not it actually did catch the public's fancy. Ninja High School (1987), Dinosaurs for Hire (1988), Fish Police (1985), Trollords (1986) … all hits with the speculators, which later turned out unable to maintain their peak prices.

But at the time, market conditions were just right to welcome Equine the Uncivilized. The first issue came out with a cover date of November, 1986. It was scripted by Konkle and drawn by Groat. The publisher name, GraphXPress, was one they and some other friends had earlier talked about using for comics publishing. The company was later responsible for Morphs.

Equine was, like Conan, a big, brawny, half-naked guy in a barbarian setting. Unlike Conan, he was a funny animal (or, as many modern aficionados of the genre prefer, "furry") with a horse-shaped face. He also differed from Conan in not being the least bit heroic. In fact, he was nothing but a thug, and prone to thievery.

With an assist from speculator frenzy, Equine sold a respectable number of copies. A year later, the second issue came out. Then three more followed in 1987. After that, it was slower — there was one in 1989 and finally #7 in 1990. A spin-off, Red Shetland, a parody of Red Sonja, lasted 11 issues, which came out between 1989 and '96.

By the time the seven issues of Equine were done, the market was no longer driven by would-be Turtles speculators. He hasn't been seen in a couple of decades.


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