King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World
King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World, alternatively shortened to just King Kong, is a graphic novel published by Dark Horse Publishing through their "Dark Horse Books" imprint. It is an adaptation of the 2005 Universal Pictures film King Kong, and was written by Christian Gossett and illustrated by Dustin Weaver.
In 1933 New York, Ann Darrow is persistently seeking work from a Mr. Weston for a role in a play called Isolation, by Jack Driscoll. Weston however, already fed up with her for her previous attempts at employment, informs her that the play had already been cast, much to Ann's disappointment, as she knew the role almost by heart. Elsewhere, movie director Carl Denham is being reprimanded by his producers for his having sunk forty thousand dollars into another safari picture. Carl however, reveals to them that principal photography will begin on the ship, as he had come into possession of a map to an otherwise uncharted island. He is then asked to step out of the room, and he eavesdrops to learn that they plan to scrap his film and sell his animal footage. Carl and his assistant Preston then head for a taxi to save the film. Preston however, reveals that their leading lady, Maureen McKenzie had dropped off the project. Carl then storms out of the car to find a new star in the next three hours, while bidding Preston to call Jack Driscoll to finish their screenplay. Becoming desperate, Ann attempts to steal an apple from a fruit vendor but is caught. Carl however, sees this and buys her way out of the situation. Over dinner he invites her to join onto his film, and when she learns that Driscoll is the writer she eagerly signs on. That night, while boarding the Venture, Preston informs Carl that the police are on their way to arrest them, and in making a hollow promise to deliver another thousand dollars, Captain Englehorn is convinces to cast off. Denham goes to see the impatient Driscoll, who attempts to leave Carl with an unfinished script and his notes, but he discovers that the ship is already moving. Preston then shows Darrow and leading man Bruce Baxter to their quarters, and Jack is forced to sleep with the cargo. As the days pass, Driscoll and Darrow grow closer over the course of Denham's filming and their generally spending time together, which eventually leads to a kiss. At one point, during the night, Englehorn and his first mate Hayes come dangerously close to sinking the ship on the treacherous shores of Skull Island, Denham's secret island.
The next morning, Denham took a rowboat to the shore, with his entire crew, but shortly after entering the forested coast, they are attacked by a group of natives, who are quickly scared away by Englehorn and Hayes' gunfire. That night, in the midst of a tropical storm, Englehorn orders for the ship to be lightened in order for them to make their escape. While throwing unnecessary things overboard, Driscoll discovers a native's necklace, and several dead crewmen in his ensuing search for Ann. He informs the crew that she had been taken as the natives sent Ann over their immense wall, tied on a fork-like device. As the crewmen storm the beach, the islanders' god Kong comes into Ann's view, and she is helpless as he takes her away into the jungle. Denham catches a glimpse of Kong, and Englehorn gives the crew supplies and twenty-four hours to bring Ann back. While Carl films in the jungle, Preston becomes worried that they will run out of film for Darrow's scenes, prompting Carl to reveal that the journey is no longer about her. While filming Baxter with a herd of Brontosaurus, they were attacked by a pack of hunting Venatosaurus, which caused the sauropods to start stampede which killed several crewmen.
Deep in the jungle, Ann awakens among the skeletons of previous sacrifices, and watches Kong as he looks at a giant ape's skull in his lair. While he is distracted, she attempts to escape, but is caught. After he pushes her over in retaliation, she discovers his love of her pratfalls, and entertains him with them for awhile until he becomes upset that she will do no more. Ann fears for her life while Kong, overcome with new and strange emotions, leaves her to return to solitude. With the crewmen's travels having lead them to a fallen tree bridging a chasm, they begin to cross, only to have Kong come and shake them off before throwing the log down, leaving few sailors, including Driscoll and Denham, alive. However, they are almost immediately attacked by the Carnictis that live in the sludge river at the crevice's bottom. As Ann treks through the jungle, she finds herself being chased by a Vastatosaurus rex. However, Kong returns and saves her by charging at the beast with a punch, but another V-rex comes in to fight as well. Just as the Weta-rexes and Arachno-claws began to swarm the Chasm survivors, Bruce Baxter and the rest of the Venture crew came to their rescue. Unlike the rest, Jack opts to continue into the jungle to go after Ann, while Carl persuades Englehorn to use his expertise in live-animal capture to trap Kong.
Now fighting three V-rexes, Kong uproots a tree and drives it through one of their necks before flinging the carcass off a nearby cliff. Because of his desire to protect Ann, he fought with more voracity and purpose than he ever had. After dropping into the chasm and fighting a V-rex through the vines all the way to its floor, Kong breaks the jaw of the last V-rex and beats his chest in celebration before calming down to watch the sun rise with Ann. However, that night Jack arrives at Kong's Lair and wakes the sleeping Ann to take her away. However, they manage to wake both the flock of Terapusmordax sleeping above, and Kong himself, who prepares to attack Jack before seeing a Terapusmordax attempting to fly away with Ann, and begins to fight them instead, giving Jack and Ann a chance to escape by climbing down cliffside vines, grabbing onto a flying Terapusmordax before dropping into the river below. When they reach the wall, Kong has caught up. Just as they cross the gate, Kong breaks through and the crew of the Venture attempts to capture him with nets and gas, but to no avail. As they retreat, Kong chases them to the rocky shore where his leg is speared with a harpoon, and one final bottle of chloroform, thrown by Denham takes the beast down as Ann watches in tears.
Months later, back in New York, Driscoll and Preston watch as Denham unveils Kong to the viewing public. However, Preston reveals that no matter how much money was offered, Ann had refused to participate in the show. The defeated and depressed Kong, on realizing that the girl before him is not Ann, breaks free of his chains and bursts through the front of the theater and into Times Square to search for her. The real Ann quickly approaches him, and he picks her up and begins his ascent up the Empire State Building. When he reaches the top, the sun is beginning to rise, and he sets Ann down in order to swat at the attacking biplanes, sustaining heavy fire in the process. Ann climbs up to be with him, but he begins to slip from the top. With his grip lessening, Kong takes one last look at Ann before allowing himself to plummet into the street below. Jack then approaches to comfort her while on the street below Denham approaches the corpse and brushes aside the buzz of the crowd, surrounding Kong's death by proclaiming that "It was beauty, killed the beast."
Differences from the Film
- Aside from the many aspects of the film that are cut out or shortened, the comic differs little from the film upon which it is based.
- Preston, while escorting Bruce Baxter and Ann Darrow aboard, assures them that the unpleasant smell will disperse quickly. These lines are present in the film's novelization.
- The film crew meets the natives of Skull Island on a cliff overlooking their village, while in the film they walk into it from the coast before they are discovered.
- While fighting the Vastatosaurus rex, Kong, Kong kills the second of their number by ramming a sharp branch through the back of its throat and out of its head, as opposed to the film's more tame bashing-in of its head.
The Brontosaurus stampede
- A single issue of the comic was produced as a forty page preview of the finished product.
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