Forgotten Villains: Who's Kraklow?

Who's This? Next in Forgotten Villains Week, Kraklow, the old wizard in the purple robes.

The facts: An 18th-century Polish wizard (hence the name that sounds like a Polish city), Kraklow's only pre-Forgotten Villains appearance is in Rip Hunter... Time Master #28, but at least it's a full-length story.
How you could have heard of him: Like the Atom-Master, he only then appeared in DC Comics Presents #77-78 and Resurrection Man #25.
Example story: Rip Hunter... Time Master #28 (Sept.-Oct. 1965) by George Kashdan and Will Ely
Out story starts with a Silver Age twist-hook, as a monster attacks a town and is defeated by one of the Time Masters, Jeff, who throws magic dust at it and transforms it back into none other than Rip Hunter himself. Flash back to a few days ago when Rip visits a famous historian (these seem to exist in the the DC Universe) who asks him to go back to 18th-century Poland and investigate a legendary sorcerer called Kraklow. From Jeff's dismayed expression, it looks like something Rip was always getting into, so off they go.

Back in time, Rip's time sphere is attacked by monsters created by the nefarious Kraklow. He explains his modus operandi:
Polish voodoo, I guess. Kraklow's also quick to mention the two antidotes - a bag of magic dust and destroying the original statuettes. Not surprisingly, the heroes are outraged by Kraklow's plans to use his monsters to conquer the country, so they destroy his work and free his enslaved humans.
That's a great expression. Poor guy. His dear old dad left him that magic clay. Now he's got nothing. Except a burning hate for Rip Hunter that transcends time itself! So obviously, he lied about having no clay left and makes a statue of Rip that he then molds into monsters. In the present, the cops jail Rip to keep him from threatening the city, but he again turns into a monster and destroys the prison, until Jeff once again shows up with the magic dust. The authorities have no choice but to let Rip and his team return to the past to deal with Kraklow once and for all. But Kraklow won't give them the statuette unless they comply with his demands:
Nothing less than Rip training and arming his makeshift army so they can wrestle the country from King Stanislaus. Rip can certainly arm them with modern weapons, but teaching them to march in unison, that proves a little harder.
Yeah, there's no way they can take over Poland with that complete lack of discipline. But they can certainly try, and under General Rip's orders, are directed to scare Stanislaus' men and not injure them. Because comics are for kids and no other reason, these rebel toughs agree. Now for a little history lesson. The King Stanislaus in this story is likely Stanislaus II, who reigned from 1764 to 1785, was, in his youth, Catherine the Great's lover, and as King of Poland, was a great patron of the arts, but failed to prevent the destruction of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After abdicating to the Russians, he spent his few remaining years in semi-captivity in St. Petersburg. So he can't exactly lose the kingdom to a sorcerer now, can he?
Regardless, he shows here what made him a great abdicator of thrones. "YIIII!" The mood in Kraklow's camp is nothing short of giddy.
But as Kraklow takes over and holds the king for ransom, he is himself defeated by a combination of yet another monster attacking the castle AND Corky, the juvenile Time Master, jumping him. How to get Forgotten as a villain in one easy step: Get beat up by a little boy who wasn't trained by Batman.
The monster takes care of the henchman army, and it's then revealed that the Time Masters manipulated the Rip statue to make their own assault creature.
If there's one thing that makes Bonnie hot for Rip Hunter, it's when he turns into hideous monsters. She loves it. In the confusion, the statue disappears and Kraklow is all, like, nyah-ha-ha, you'll never know when I'll turn you into a monster again, future-man! But since it never happened, I'm going to put my money on Bonnie taking the magic clay with her. She really IS hot for monster-Rip...
In a superhero universe, you're sure to get some weird fetishes, after all.

Being from the past, you wouldn't have expected Kraklow to ever appear again, so it's a small miracle that he was added to the Forgotten Villains' roster, making a clay statue to turn Superman into a monster, and brainstorming with his team as a magic hologram beamed from the 18th-century. But DC Comics Presents often proved to be that brand of crazy.

Who else? THREE down, TWO to go, as Forgotten Villains Week continues!


SallyP said...

Rip Hunter? Woohooooo!

Siskoid said...

I should compile a list of your favorite heartthrob heroes some day.

Señor Editor said...

"Yiiii!", "Whoopie!", "Yow!" and "Whee" are all things we like to shout when we get excited, here in Poland. Can't believe I never heard of Kraklow!

Señor Editor, from Warslaw

Siskoid said...

Well, he IS a Forgotten Villain.

I've usually been disappointed with heroes and villains who come from my neck of the woods. No wait, I don't think there are any.

Señor Editor said...

Is the OG WWII-era Blackhawk still Polish or did they retcon this out completely? I think he's the only good guy we ever had in mainstream comics:( Other than people like Kraklow, one scientist villain guy from Marvel whose name escapes me, and some random mafiosos that the Punisher gunned down.

Siskoid said...

Blackhawk doesn't exist as such in the New52, but last time he was seen, he was indeed Polish.

I could also name Magneto, probably the most high profile Polish comics character (which means Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are Polish, if not Poland-born). Marvel also has the Rattler, the Golem, Prodigy, Crucible, the Blue Bullet, and Bloodlust.

DC would have Stanislaus from the Blackhawks in addition to his leader, the Monolith, T.O. Morrow who invented the Red Tornado, and apparently the guy who is Ragman in the Brave and the Bold cartoon tie-in comics.

Señor Editor said...

That's actually not a bad list at all, thanks for that! Though I seem to remember Magneto was changed to being German-born a few years ago in a mini series of his, which is why I didn't mention him. I remember some Polish fans were actually quite upset about it.

Siskoid said...

I'm going to say he still counts because in the movies he's still Polish. Probably.


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