Friday, July 18, 2008

Comic Book Flashback # 11: Logan's Run #4: "Dread Sanctuary!"


In early 1977, Marvel Comics offered "the official adaptation" of Logan's Run, the hit science fiction movie starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter.

As you no doubt recall, Logan's Run concerned a futuristic City of Domes which was a virtual paradise...except citizens were not permitted to live past their thirtieth birthdays. This comic-book adaptation split the movie's sprawling narrative into five issues authored by David Kraft and drawn by artist George Perez (based on the screenplay by David Zelag Goodman).

My favorite issue of the bunch is April 1977's action-packed number #4, "Dread Sanctuary" which finds an on-the-run Logan 5 and his sexy companion Jessica leaving the City of Domes proper and stumbling upon the "eternal ice world" of the mad robot called Box. As it turns out, Box is a bit of a sculptor in his spare time despite his mechanical nature, and he wishes to forge (out of ice..._ an artistic representation of Logan and Jessica that he believes will prove his enduring "masterpiece."

While Box sculpts away, Jessica and Logan - still in search of Sanctuary - stumble upon a colossal ice cavern where all previous runners from the city have been frozen and trapped: entombed in the ice where they are now stored as food for the city's young denizens. "It's my job to store fish, and plankton, greens and protein from the sea," explains the chrome Box, "So I store them here. It's my job."

Logan and Jessica, now wearing "primitive" animal furs, quickly realize they must battle Box or face the same fate as the other unlucky runners. Fortunately, Logan is still armed with his Sandman handgun, and the war is joined. Box is destroyed (or mostly destroyed, anyway...) and Logan and Jessica flee the cave...only to see the sun for the very first time; and to feel the welcome warmth of it as well.

Logan and Jessica begin wandering the outdoor wasteland. "They have no specific destination...only a renewed zest for life, a developing affection for each other and a shared determination to eventually find the elusive Sancturary. They are open to new experiences, to new feelings..."

With Jenny Agutter at my side, I'd likely be open to new experiences and new feelings too. But I kid Logan's Run.

Before long, the runners stumble upon the ruins of Washington D.C. (particularly the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument), and make contact with a strange old man (in the movie, Peter Ustinov). But before these former-inhabitants of the Dome City can learn what it means to "grow old," Logan's Sandman pursuer, Francis, shows up to "terminate" them. The final chapter: End Run!

I guess I enjoy this chapter of the Logan's Run comic the most, because it encompasses some of my favorite scenes from the movie. Jenny Agutter in a barely-concealing fur wrap; Jenny Agutter wet in the water of the Potomoc; Jenny Agutter...

Umm, where was I?

Oh yeah, so this part of the story is my favorite because it reveals (some) of the mystery of what lurks beyond the City of Domes. As a kid, I was terrified of the deep-voiced Box (Rosco Lee Browne), a character depicted here -- in author William Nolan's words to me a few years ago -- as something like "a walking vanity table." I was also thrilled with the special effects depiction (mostly impressive matte paintings) of abandoned Washington D.C., with all of our national monuments overgrown with vines. These scenes of our society -- left behind and forgotten -- stuck with my young mind.

Thinking about these moments again just makes me want to watch (and review) the film here on the blog. It's been a while since I saw the movie, but it's one of my all-time favorites. I was thrilled, a few months ago, to work a Logan's Run reference into the final episode of The House Between's season three. Now if I could only get Jenny Agutter to cameo...

1 comment:

  1. Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea. It's all here, ready. Fresh as harvest day.

    I do like Logan's Run and Jenny Agutter is great !!!

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