Today is Kalimánday!

Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »

Like most right-thinking people, I’m sure you’ve found yourself asking, “So who is this mysterious Kalimán, anyway?”

Hey, I hear ya. Kalimán is mysterious. Terribly mysterious. He is such a cypher, in fact, he barely has any origin at all. But in spite of that (or maybe because of it), the peace-loving warrior who fights evil with equal parts mysticism and knuckle-sandwiches is one of the biggest comic book heroes to ever come out of Mexico. Imagine a more centered, less psychotic Shadow mixed in with Mandrake the Magician and Indiana Jones and you’ve got a little bit of an idea where Kalimán is coming from. (He shares something else with The Shadow — Kalimán also started out in radio before moving on to comics and eventually a couple of movies.)

“Serenity, Yulma. Your worst enemy may be fear.”

As created by Rafael Navarro Cuthbert and Modesto Vazquez Gonzalez, Kalimán is the apex of human potential, and while he isn’t superhuman he has unlocked the vast power of the mind,  allowing him to do all kinds of crazy shit. Among his brainy abilities are telepathy; telekinesis; levitation; remote viewing; astral projection; hypnosis; self-healing; and — most famously — “actus mortis,” the power to control the involuntary functions of his body to the point that he can put himself into a death-like state.

(When I was talking to my Mexican wife about Kalimán’s mystical bad-assery, she actually shouted out, “Actus mortis!” before I even had a chance to finish my sentence. Seriously, he’s big in Latin America.)

And of course, when you’re the sum of human potential, you’re probably going to be pretty damn manly. Which Kalimán is, displaying a marble-like physique under his tight, white, vaguely Arabic uniform. Which he mostly manages to keep on.

Except when he doesn’t. Bam!

While Kalimán the comic ran weekly for an amazing 26 years (that’s 1,348 issues, if you’re counting), all printed in that iconic sepia tone that is a hallmark of Mexican comics, the only thing readers know about Kalimán is whatever’s happened in his various adventures. Basically, there is no “Kalimán – Year One.” In the first published story, “Los Profanadores de Tumbas” (“The Tomb Defilers” or, less dramatically, “The Grave Robbers”) our boy shows up fully formed, calmly using superstition to scare off a gang of Bedouin raiders. Then he hypnotizes a cobra and goes to a cocktail party. That’s just how he do, y’all.

Here’s what we do know about Kalimán: He’s a light-skinned, blue-eyed orphan adopted by Prince Abul Pasha, ruler of one of the kingdoms in the valley of Kalimantan. He’s the seventh man in a dynasty dedicated to preserving justice in the world, having sworn an oath to the goddess Kali to wander the world fighting for justice, a vow he must return to India to renew every seven years. He carries a ceremonial dagger, but he never uses it in a fight and doesn’t use weapons, with the occasional exception of a blowpipe and tranquilizer darts. Kalimán is also a master of the martial arts, science and and the fine arts. He also has a young companion named Solîn, who has been the Short Round to his Indy ever since he saved him from kidnappers/muggers in a back-alley in Egypt.

Kalimán saving Solín while asking that eternal question, “What do you think of this?”

But why did the prince adopt Kalimán? Who were his real parents? How did he join this Kali dynasty anyway? And how does Solîn manage to fall into every pit of quicksand in a three-mile radius? Nobody knows.

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter — Kalimán just kicks a lot of ass, which is why I’m making him a regular feature starting … now. Every Monday Kalimán will be here dropping wisdom like, “There is no force on Earth greater than the human mind; he who masters the mind, masters everything” and “Serenity and patience, lots of patience.” While punching out vampires and hypnotizing aliens from outer space.


It’s a mystery.

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