Claw the Unconquered by Michelinie, Chan, Giffen et al

Claw the Unconquered was a DC Comics title that debuted in 1975. DC wanted to get a piece of the market Marvel had established with adaptations of Robert E Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Kull the Conqueror and Solomon Kane. Editor Joe Orlando talked with writers, and after a false start settled on David Michelinie. Claw emerged as a Conan-like character at first, and the art supplied by Ernie Chan – himself a Conan contributor over at Marvel – for the first seven issues of the comic deviated little from that conception.

Issue Nos. 8–12 were pencilled by Keith Giffen, then in his early years in the comics business. He brought a different energy and perspective to Claw, helping Michelinie separate the book from the Marvel model of heroic fantasy, and bring it into its own space. It is unfortunate the book suffered two cancellations during its short run, just as it got going. It improbably came back after ending in No. 9, only to be more-permanently cancelled after No. 12 as part of the DC Implosion.

And so here’s an exploration of a book that should have gotten some more issues.


NO. 1

Claw #1 Page 1

Page 1 as published.

Claw #1 Art by Ernie Chan

Scan from Heritage Auctions. Art by Ernie Chan. Lettering by Ben Oda.

Comic book production art by Scott Dutton

Cleaned-up art.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

Indicia re-set and added, new colour.


NO. 12

Claw #12 Cover

As published.

Claw #12 cover art by Joe Kubert

A scan of Joe Kubert’s original art that has seen better days.

Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

Cleaned-up art with missing bits drawn in where the trade dress was, and bleeds extended.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New trade dress includes a new version of the logo. New colour. And without the Code looking over our shoulders anymore, we can show a little blood on the battlefield.


NO. 13

Claw #13 Cover Garra el Indomable

Claw was cancelled after No. 12, so materials for subsequent issues never saw print in the USA outside Cancelled Comics Cavalcade No. 1. However, the cover for No. 13 was used on a Mexican edition, where Claw was known as Garra el Indomable!

Claw #13 cover art by Joe Kubert

Scan of Joe Kubert’s art.

Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

Cleaned-up art with bleeds extended.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New colour and re-created trade dress applied.


NO. 14

Claw #14 cover art by Joe Kubert

Scan of Joe Kubert’s art.

Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

Cleaned-up art with missing bits drawn in where the trade dress was, and bleeds extended.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

Colour and re-created trade dress applied.


BONUS MATERIALS

Claw Adventure Line Ad

House ad created by Elliot S! Maggin for DC President Sol Harrison, announcing a whole new adventure line. Most books would last only a few issues. Claw got 12, and The Warlord lasted 133 issues plus annuals.

Claw House Ad 0

A great piece of concept art by the series’ original artist Ernie Chan (then known at DC as Ernie Chua).

Claw House Ad 1

Scan of the original art from Heritage Auctions.

Claw House Ad 2

New design and colour.

Claw House Ad 3

Another diversity house ad showing new directions for DC Comics.

Claw Pytharia Map 1

The map of Claw’s world first appeared in No. 5, and was later reprinted in No. 11. Created by David Michelinie (content), Paul Levitz (cartography), Debra Ulrich (calligraphy), Joe Kubert and Tex Blaisdell (forests, mountains).

Claw Pytharia Map 2

Redrawn with that classic cartographic flare.

Claw Whos Who

Years after Keith Giffen had worked on the book, he drew Claw’s entry for Who’s Who in the DC Universe.


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