|GROOVY SEXED UP EUROTRASH OMNIBUS COLLECTION COVER!|
In my never-ending quest to find grist for my Kubrickologist’s mill, I recently stumbled across MORLOCK 2001, an incredibly bizarre mid-1970’s comic book published by Atlas Seaboard, a short-lived imprint that specialized in pumping out thinly disguised hit-and-run rip-offs of popular TV shows and films… often poaching ideas from two or three different properties in a single book. For instance, their TARGITT comic featured plots borrowed from the Steve McQueen hit film Bullitt, as well as The French Connection and Dirty Harry. In terms of pure, unadulterated plagiarism, however, MORLOCK 2001 stands head and shoulders above the competition.
This was originally going to be a short and simple blog post pointing out a couple of age-inappropriate references to the films of Stanley Kubrick in a bizarro 70’s kid’s comic book, but the sheer volume, breadth, and shamelessness of the appropriations screamed out for a more complete accounting. So join me now as I comb through all three issues of this short-lived title in order to count down and catalog each and every stolen story element, copied concept, and misappropriated motif in MORLOCK 2001!
|MORLOCK 2001 - THRILLING FIRST ISSUE!|
In Wells’ 1895 science fiction classic, The Time Machine, the Morlocks are a thuggish species of cannibalistic underground mutants living in the eight-hundredth century, AD. They are one of two species descended from mankind. The other species—the gentle, surface-dwelling Eloi—are used by the Morlocks both as slave labor and as a primary food source. Yummy! The only connection to the comic book is that the main character is named "Morlock", for some reason.
2001: A Space Odyssey, obviously, is the title of Stanley Kubrick’s most popular film, and the subsequent Arthur C. Clarke novel. In MORLOCK 2001, however, the titular year only refers to the fact that the events portrayed take place in... the year 2001.
Something else that is immediately apparent is that Morlock's look borrows heavily from two Marvel Comics characters who were coming into their own during roughly the same period: Morbius the Living Vampire, and Quicksilver.
The very first panel on the very first page describes the story's setting as "a rigid totalitarian regime" run on the basis of lies and propaganda. I don't know about you guys, but that kind of sounds like the setting for George Orwell's classic novel of political dystopia, Nineteen-Eighty-Four to me! Keep reading to find out whether or not this intuition eventually pays off (hint: it does).