The Cougar #1 1975 review – Bronze Age madness! Bronze Age Madness !

January 20, 2021
Louie Fecou 0
Comics
3

Summary

The whole Atlas line is one we might look at again since there were rumors pre-Covid that it was being looked at as a new superhero universe film franchise, but in the meantime, you might have fun picking up some of these Bronze Age beauties, and The Cougar is worth a look.

3

Summary

The whole Atlas line is one we might look at again since there were rumors pre-Covid that it was being looked at as a new superhero universe film franchise, but in the meantime, you might have fun picking up some of these Bronze Age beauties, and The Cougar is worth a look.

This classic comic review of The Cougar #1 is spoiler-free.


There’s a lot you could write about Atlas Comics in the mid-’70s. The short-lived company is one of the most incredible events of the decade and would fill a dozen columns. Artists and writers were tempted by increased page rates, and the company was also offering creator rights. A lot of top talent would jump ship until the reality of going against both Marvel and DC Comics would kick in, and the company would fold within months of publication.

However, there were a few hidden gems from Atlas, and today we can have a quick overview of The Cougar #1.

Lasting only two issues, The Cougar was written by Steve Mitchell with art from Dan Adkins and Frank Springer. Springer would also ink.

We open with a two-page spread as the drama unfolds on a Hollywood production of a Gothic horror movie. Instantly a dialogue box reveals the premise of the series: “Stuntman Jeff Rand thrives on the danger of his chosen profession, he is known as The Cougar, due to his cat-like speed and agility.”

Jeff is already falling out of coaches while being berated by the pompous director who is fed up having to make horror schlock. However, when an ancient evil is accidentally unleashed, the horror of the film becomes a reality.

There is an idea behind The Cougar #1 that seems more suited to a TV show than a comic. Stuntman turned superhero allows for a lot of scope, and I imagine that subsequent issues would have perhaps followed a formula, but there is a back story to The Cougar that would have opened the series up quite a bit.

In the second and final issue, we see the origin of The Cougar, and it’s a tale from the Bayou swamps of Louisiana. Jeff and his brother, mum, and dad live in the wild of the swamps, but a curse from a witch dooms the family, as a werewolf-type creature murders his parents, and his brother has gone missing.

Meanwhile, on set for a new werewolf movie, a body has been found and Jeff recognizes the wounds as they are just like the ones on his murdered parents’ bodies.

You can no doubt see where this one is going, but there is a shocking cliffhanger to the issue, and sadly it may never ever be addressed.

Oddly the second issue is written by Gary Friedrich. There did seem to be a lot of behind-the-scenes problems at Atlas, and many of the titles would receive abrupt resets after their first issue, but The Cougar has a solid idea that is used in both issues.

Atlas seems a little edgier than Marvel and DC, the loose linework of Frank Springer lends these issues a European feel, and the violence, although passed by the CCA, seems more visceral.

The Cougar seems to be set in a world of horror, and it’s telling to notice that the first issue is dedicated to Dan Curtis, the writer behind many horror properties including cult 70’s show Kolchak The Night Stalker. To help cement the premise that this comic was inspired by that show, on the front cover there is a blurb that reads, “A Hollywood stuntman turned night stalker.”

The whole Atlas line is one we might look at again since there were rumors pre-Covid that it was being looked at as a new superhero universe film franchise, but in the meantime, you might have fun picking up some of these Bronze Age beauties, and The Cougar is worth a look.

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