Tragg and Lorn scout out the Sky Gods. Artist: Jesse Santos.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Gold Key Comics
First Appeared: 1975
Creators: Don Glut (writer) and Jesse Santos (artist)
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In the mid-1970s, the media were all full of the popular theories of Erich von Däniken, which held that the various civilizations of the world depended on head starts they'd been given by visiting aliens, who had left only vague traces in archaeological and cultural records, requiring powerfully subtle minds (like von Däniken's) to discern. Apparently, the belief was that unaided human beings weren't smart enough to get things started by themselves, and needed outsiders to supply know-how and perhaps even DNA to pull them up from …

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… the mire of ignorance and savagery. Naturally, a belief like this one, which could be spun as luridly and as sensationally as the spinner desired, found expression in comic books of the time.

Writer Don Glut (Dagar the Invincible) and artist Jesse Santos (Brothers of the Spear) supplied the comic, in which aliens from interstellar space had a profound effect on a tribe of Stone Age people who, up until then, had made no weapons more advanced than spears and no clothing more advanced than fur loincloths (for the men — women were given one-piece fur bathing suits). The only thing that would have resonated more thoroughly would be if the protagonists had been named Adam and Eve. Instead, they were Tragg and Lorn.

Tragg & the Sky Gods #1, published by Gold Key Comics with a cover date of June, 1975, introduced a prehistoric world that didn't fit much of what real scientists know about the era, but where comics characters from Our Antediluvian Ancestors to Anthro would have felt perfectly at home. Exploding volcanos were seen here and there, usually unremarked-on. Dinosaurs abounded, tho at least it was explained early on that this was only an isolated pocket of ecology, and they were gone in most of the world. The people all looked brutish, Neanderthal-like, only quasi-human. Into this milieu came human-like aliens from the benevolent, altruistic planet Yargon.

Being benevolent and altruistic, they had the approval of their own consciences and thus, like many real-life benevolent and altruistic intruders into "primitive" societies, felt free to commit whatever atrocity they pleased. They captured a couple of young women and, without worrying their benevolent, altruistic minds about permission, performed the most thorough personal invasion imaginable, mucking with their DNA. Then they abandoned their guinea pigs, resolving to check back a generation later to see what they'd wrought. All this was presented to the reader in benevolent, altruistic terms.

Not so, the Yargonians who returned on schedule. There'd been a revolution, and these represented an expansionist, exploitive regime that sought to turn Earth into lebensraum and enslave the locals with their mesmegas, i.e., hand-held mind-control devices. Fortunately the now-grown children of their experimental subjects, Tragg (the hero) and Lorn (the love interest), the first modern humans, were there to oppose their evil plans.

Tragg & the Sky Gods ran eight quarterly issues, the last one dated February, 1977, but a story apparently written and drawn for a ninth issue was published later that year in Gold Key Spotlight. An actual ninth issue appeared in 1982, but it was only a reprint of #1. Also, Tragg stories were seen in Mystery Comics Digest. Elements of his series turned up in other Glut-written Gold Key comics, such as Doctor Spektor. The company got out of the comic book business in 1984; and while some of its properties, Magnus, Doctor Solar and Turok, were licensed for later use, Tragg and entourage haven't been seen since.


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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Western Printing.