Cover of The Sandman (1974 series) #3 (July 1975), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mike Royer
The gorillas are given intelligence by their master, the [unamed] tyrannical count, who has cleverly installed into their monkraniums transparent domes stuffed fulla Kirbytech. I bet they look real pretty when all the lights blink and the gears spin around. Do you think Robby the Robot demanded royalities on this design?
Panel from The Sandman (1974 series) #3 (July 1975), script by Michael Fleisher, pencils by Ernie Chan, inks by Mike Royer, letters by Ben Oda
As befits all noblemen in eastern European countries who hold a higher status and a degree in Mad Sciencry (Ph.M.S.), the Count has a creepy castle in which to perform his unworldly, unnatural experiments, including the one with the milk bottle and the hard-boiled egg. Usually the story of such gleefully cackling madmen ends with the townspeople approaching his estate with sharp pitchforks, flaming torches, and a few bloody flashlights. This one tilts the genre on its ear by starting out with the revolution of the men and women of the valley. Down with the Count! Oh, wait, he's already down for the count.
Later, the renowned funeral home of Fisher, Diaz and Igor arrives to pick up the body of the Count, who curiously hasn't already been tossed into a burning pyre or beheaded and his corpse strung up for the birds. It's not that I'm approving such methods, townspeople, I'm just saying. Anyway, these funeral directors rip off their rubber masks and actually prove to be either members of the Monkey: Impossible Force, or else those pesky zombie gorillas disguised as (the other kind of) monks. Pretty sneaky, simian!
The gorillas bring the body of the Count to his evil associate Professor Runhaven...hey, how come he gets a name?...and Rundhaven is able to extract the Count's brain and keep it alive, floating suspended in a solution of Mountain Dew and Cristal! Science!
Whadayaknow! It's the old double-cross. I know that Fleisher didn't give this brain-guy a name, but I'm gonna start calling him Count Cranium. And that's Count Cranium one...Professor Deady nothing.
Count Cranium may brag that he's going to steal the mysterious formula of eleven herbs and spices from the American scientist Ralph Ervin, but he still needs zombie gorillas to do the dirty work. The brain psionically sends nightmares to little Susie Ervin to take her dad's papers, and the gorillas go do some B&E work to get them. Luckily the Sandman is watching on his Universal Dream Monitor (which is the subject of an entirely different post, I promise you!).
And now, a little ironic slapstick humor, courtesy of the Zombie Gorillas of Count Cranium.
Yep, it's true: the (pre-Joseph Gordon-Levitt) Sandman is the hero of this story, but he really doesn't do much until the very end. After all, who takes out the Zombie Gorillas? Stereotype beat cops, that's who. Mayb you should have built your Zombie Gorillas with some bulletproof pelts, Count. Ah well...thus perish the Zombie Gorillas.
The Brain invades the Bronx! Because...that's where...you'd invade first if you were a floating brain, I'm guessing. Take out the New York Yankees and the rest of the nation falls!
THE BRONX IS
Then, the Sandman appears and blows him up real good. End of story.
Luckily, that last panel gives us a hint at another piece of KirbyTech we'll look at this year. Stay tuned, TechHeads!