King Kong (1933 comic strip)

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King Kong
Cravath Kong Title.jpg
Story by Merian C. Cooper,
Ernest Schoedsack
Pencils by Glenn Cravath

King Kong was a comic strip illustrated by Glenn Cravath that ran in newspapers in 1933 to promote the film of the same name. It was distributed to movie theaters across the United States and around the world as part of the film's official pressbook, a then-common means of providing promotional materials to venues. It was accompanied by instructions to collaborate with local daily newspapers to advertise the film by publishing one comic each day for the six days leading up to the film's premiere. This would make its earliest possible publication date February 24, 1933, if it debuted six days prior to, and not including the release date of, the March 2 New York City release of the film.

While the comic strip was packaged with a suggested release schedule, the age of the event makes it difficult to determine which newspapers, if any, published the strips and when. However, it is known for certain that it ran over the course of three days in the Daily Enterprise in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, beginning on April 12, 1933, five days after the film's opening in the rest of the United States.


King Kong eagerly awaits his ritual sacrifice, when the ceremony is interrupted by the adventuring filmmaker Carl Denham and his crew. Eager to give Kong the "white-and-gold bride" Ann Darrow, the film's blonde lead actress, and despite protests for violent retaliation from her beau Jack Driscoll, Denham and Captain Englehorn retreat to their ship Adventurer to plan their next move. In the night, the natives creep aboard and kidnap Ann for sacrifice. They open their giant gate and place the bound actress on an altar before beating the great gong to summon King Kong.

The crew of the Adventurer enter the jungle to try and rescue Ann, and encounter a giant dinosaur against which bullets are useless. Instead, they throw their supply of gas bombs at it to bring the beast down. This solution is not viable for long, as while rafting through the jungle's swamps a vicious Brontosaurus overturns their boat, costing the crew their camera equipment, several sailors, and their gas bombs. As the survivors cross a fallen tree over a great chasm, they find themselves between King Kong and a raging wounded Triceratops. Denham and Driscoll watch in horror from opposite cliffsides as their comrades are shaken into a pit of horrible, hungry, creatures. King Kong notices Driscoll, and begins to swipe at him on his narrow ledge refuge. Jack scratches at King Kong's hand with his knife, but the ape becomes distracted by Ann screaming nearby.

Kong finds Ann menaced by a Tyrannosaurus, which he quickly dispatches to Ann's conflicted relief. The two are then attacked by a water serpent from a nearby pool. Kong crushes its head in his hand, and soon reaches his home at the top of Skull Mountain. There he begins to tear away Ann's clothing, and is so fascinated that a pterodactyl is able to to snatch her away. Jack Drsicoll, who had been hiding, then grabs her away, and the pair dive off the cliff into the lake below.

Never having desired anything more in his millions of years of life than he now desires Ann, Kong storms to the native village and tears down the gates before searching and destroying the houses there. As Kong becomes more and more enraged at his failure to find Ann, whom Driscoll is hurrying to the ship, Denham hatches a new plan to capture Kong and exhibit him alive back home. Kong finally spies Ann, but in this moment of distraction he is downed by sailors with gas bombs. With Kong down for the count, Denham has the sailors fashion a raft for him, despite their belief that the man is crazy to try such a thing.

In New York City, King Kong is chained, caged, and put on display for ticketholders to see. The public is amazed, and Ann reluctantly agrees to take part in the exhibition. When cameras begin to flash, Kong believes Ann to be in danger, and in an attempt to protect his beauty, the beast breaks free. The theater empties as people flee before the might of King Kong. Jack and Ann hurry across the street and into a hotel, which Kong glimpses as he breaks through the theater wall and into the street. Kong climbs the building and grabs girl after girl through their window, tossing aside all that were not Ann. Ann comes to understand that Kong is searching for her, and does not fight when he finds her.

Kong flees to the hotel's roof before running through the streets, wreaking destruction and havoc while police chase him, but are unable to harm him with their guns. Seeking a mountaintop like his home, Kong takes the petrified Ann to the highest nearby building, where he is assailed by bombing planes that pump bullet after bullet into his ancient body. Kong does his best to destroy the pesky planes, but with his heart filling with lead, he is unable to continue the fight. With a final triumphant roar, King Kong falls 1,000 feet to the street below. Driscoll grabs Ann in time before she can fall after him.




Weapons, vehicles, and races




Comic strip


  • Glenn Cravath was a prolific illustrator for film posters, and even produced at least one for King Kong, as well as designing and illustrating the dust jacket of the 1932 novelization.
  • The text of the second comic strip depicts the crew of the Adventurer fighting the theropod Meat-Eater in place of the Stegosaurus seen in the 1932 novelization, while the text refers to a "horned hide", which is a description more in line with a stegosaur than a theropod dinosaur. Furthermore, the art of the Meat-Eater seen in the comic is much more similar to the creature's on-screen appearance, and the then-contemporary image of a Tyrannosaurus rex, than to Cravath's depiction of it on the novelization's dust jacket, which is more in line with Delos W. Lovelace's in-text description.
    • The inconsistencies in the artwork continue when the pterodactyl is depicted as something more in line with a vulture.

See also


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