I'm not sure who was the mastermind behind the Magnum P.I. 1982 Annual, but I got a lot more than I expected when I recently picked this one up. I expected something along the lines of your typical, boring and benign TV comic adaptation - harmless and child friendly. What I got was something not that far off from those old pulp magazines. Sure, it was no fumetti (i.e. explicit comics from Europe), but I definitely got more than I bargained for.
The first is a story called "Funky Freddie's Payoff" that could've been pulles straight from a True Detective mag from the fifties or sixties. And just like those old pulps, the illustrations were surprisingly well done.
In this story, Magnum is contacted by a mysterious woman needing a private dick. He heads to her address only to find it empty. While rummaging through her stuff, a strange man catches him in the act and pulls a gun on him. Magnum proceeds to beat the shit out of him.
It turns out this is the mysterious womans' lover, and he's completely clueless about what's going on. Magnum tries to get to the bottom of things - he finds out from this dude, Tony, that the girls' name is Karen and she's a stewardess.... and apparently she's gotten herself into a bit of trouble.
Magnum and Tony follow some clues and head to Funky Freddie's restaurant and lounge. The two try to dig for information from the waitress, but to no avail.
I'll cut to the chase and tell you that Karen was given something in her drink (i.e. ruffies, GHB), taken back to Funky Freddie's house and photographed in sexual acts. The photos were then used by Funky Freddie to blackmail Karen to hustle drugs using her connections as a stewardess. Wow - tons of action, blood, sex and drugs.... and this is only the first story!
The next story, "Daddy's Little Girl", delivers the goods too, but I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, Magnum goes into the bad guy's hideout with guns a blazin'!
Holy shit! This never happened on the TV show! Magnum literally goes in shooting and proceeds to blow everybody away! He's a one man army!
I love the next story "The Burning Stops"... as Alex (A Clockwork Orange) would say, "it was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolent." Imagine some elementary school kid picking this one up off the comic book rack. It gives those old EC comics a run for their money.
The highlight is when T.C. gets attacked by snakes injected with amphetamines in his chopper. I couldn't help but draw the comparison to Samuel Jackson in Snakes on a Plane.
I wonder what the Comics Code Authority thought of the next panels. Again, I must emphasize, I had no idea a Magnum PI comic was going to serve up a bloodbath. Incredible.
Check out the graphic death scene. Jason takes a bullet to the heart and then is set on fire. Don't recall this being on TV either.
The next story is no less brutal - this time with a little sex to spice it up. It's called "Henry Wong's Harvest" and starts the way many a pre-code comic did back in the day - a woman shot through the head.
Okay, I remember many a bikini clad hottie on Magnum. But, what I don't remember is one totally falling out of their top like the chick below.
Once again, things get excessively violent. How about that line at the end from Magnum? "And that's how it ended... just like it had begun... with violence, hatred, and death..." Heavy hitting stuff for a Magnum PI annual.
And the best story is saved for last - possibly my favorite title in comic book history. I'd like to cover this in more detail, but I think this post is running a little long as it is.