Any kid who read comic books in the 1950s and ’60s– and what kid didn’t?– had to have read a story or two that involved Easter Island statues either being alive or being brought to life to attack mankind. These statues, properly called Moai, were built between the years 1250 and 1500 and they are huge. Hewn from rock quarried on the island, they can be as tall as 33 feet– almost as high as a three-story building– and weigh over 80 tons. There are over 850 of these amazing statues scattered over the island. Some are buried in the earth up to their necks, but their bodies are under the soil, ready to erupt from the earth and smush us whenever they feel so inclined.
These Moai originally sported red stone hats, made of a different stone than the bodies, but that’s something not essential (as if anything could be) to this little post.
But comics with walking Easter Island statues were guaranteed to creep out the bravest kid and, most importantly, get his money out of his pocket and into the cash register!
Here’s a classic example, drawn by Jack Kirby for DC Comics’ House of Mystery, cover date April, 1959:
Here’s another Kirby cover, this time drawn for Marvel/Atlas’ Tales to Astonish, cover date February, 1961:
Here’s a third from either Ron Wilson or Larry Leiber for Marvel’s Chamber of Chills, cover date July, 1974:
And finally, another Kirby example from Marvel’s Tales of Suspense, cover date April, 1962:
Why am I bringing this up? Because I just read a Scientific American article by Nature writer Ewen Callaway which describes how the folks living on Easter Island got these ungainly statues from the rock quarry to the platforms made for them. Evidently, they walked them into place!
Here’s a YouTube video of this being done and you have to admit, it’s rather creepy!