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Creator / RAK Graphics

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RAK Graphics was an independent comic book company owned by Robert A. Kraus (hence the name) in the mid-to-late 1980s.

The company was never popular. Back in the day it had a sort of following among convention-goers, and one of Kraus' creations, Chakan, The Forever Man, was popular enough to earn a Sega Genesis game and make cameo appearances in other comics, but the company is barely remembered anymore.


And That's Terrible, because the works published by RAK (not all of which were actually authored by Kraus) tended to be very, very good. They had a raw, honest quality about them that was quite at odds with most comics publishing then. All at once they were dark and gritty, and yet somehow idealistic. This created a sort of captivating quality rarely seen outside of manga. Their lack of popularity, however, may be a blessing in disguise: it means back issues are very cheap indeed.

Most of RAK's stuff also had a narrative quirk: the comics totally forego conventions such as word balloons, thought bubbles, and sound effects. Instead small bits of prose are placed among the images that describe what is being said and done. Very often the visuals speak for themselves.

The following are works published by RAK Graphics:


Thundermace: A young warrior fuses with an ancient dragon to become a powerful warrior capable of fighting off a Dark Lord. Lasted seven issues. The first four issues were collected in a graphic novel.

Chakan: The Forever Man: Originally a backup feature in Thundermace, Chakan became popular enough to spawn his own magazines. Three of them, to be precise. This is the only Kraus work that can still be bought direct from the publisher (see link at bottom of article) and also the only one he still writes for (though his new works are more like illustrated novellas than actual comics, but they're still pretty good).

Stephen Darklord, The Survivor: A man surviving a world After the End discovers conspiracy and a powerful, experimental gauntlet. Lasted three issues.

Buce n' Gar: by James Groman (who also did Madballs). Two aliens with an empathic link fight intergalactic crime. Recently there was a graphic novel (now titled Boose n' Gar) collecting all the issues and stories, including ones left out of the original RAK magazines due to a printing error. You can find that here. Note: the listing claims there were six issues, but there seem to have only been three. However, there were some stories published as back-up features in other RAK magazines, which is probably what the listing is talking about.


Dragon of the Valkyr: By Steve and Cheryl Simhauser. A four-issue series in which an alien being (who resembles a dragon) crash-lands on a technologically underdeveloped (read: dark ages) planet and is treated to various reactions by the local population. The authors own a webpage in which they sell dragon-themed sculpts, and have expressed interest in continuing the story (the published chapters being essentially a prologue). They seem to be taking their dear sweet time about it though.The storyline of Dragon of the Valkyr was a collaboration between Steve Simshauser and Dan Mickle adapted from an original novel by Daniel D. Mickle -copyright 1968. Perhaps the copyright problem is why they have not continued the story?

The Executioner #1: A story of a man's guilt. Has Multiple Endings.

RAK #1: There are in fact two books bearing this name. One is a collection of art and writings (mostly art), the other is a half-sized volume containing prequel stories for Thundermace, Stephen Darklord, and Buce n' Gar. The second is usually called "RAK Collector's Edition #1" and was printed in limited quantities.

Not published by RAK but featuring his work:

Platinum #1: Seemingly the only thing ever published by Komodo Comics. An experimental "3D Comic" (read: the whole thing looks like a circa-1996 computer game) about demons trying to take over the world, and a hero made out of platinum coming to challenge them. For some reason Chakan shows up near the end. Its a rather unusual read for actually featuring word balloons despite otherwise sticking to the RAK storytelling style.

Robert Kraus still owns a website where you can view or buy his art and books and buy some of his old comics. Unfortunately he seems to care only about Chakan now (tip: ask about the "RAK Graphic Novel Grab Bag" listed on the older site).


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