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|Gilgamesh the immortal|
Gilgamesh on the cover of the comic El Tony Super Color #267. Artwork by Alfredo de la María.
|Created by||Lucho Olivera|
Gilgamesh the immortal is an Argentine comic book created by Lucho Olivera and published by Editorial Columba. It is freely based in the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, and features Gilgamesh as an ancient king that met an alien who turned him into immortal by using his advanced technology. The story of the character spans from that point to the death of the human race during an atomic holocaust, a space journey, the establishment of the human race on another planet and his eventual return to earth. The comic book was first published in 1969.
Gilgamesh was initially created in 1969 by Lucho Olivera as a single story, but its good reception turned it into a regular publication. Olivera worked initially at both the drawings and the scripts, but he later left his scriptwriting duties to Sergio Mulko, who was working by then under the pseudonym Leo Gioser. Mulko wrote with a higher emphasis on the psychology and motivations of the character.
The series was relaunched in 1980, with the scripts of Robin Wood. Wood was later replaced by Ricardo Ferrari and Alfredo Julio Grassi. Lucho Olivera stayed working with the drawings during all of the editorial history of the character.
Gilgamesh was presented as a prince and later king of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk, worried about his death. He thought that, as a king, he should be beyond death, to be able to protect his population forever. Then he saw the fall of an alien spaceship, and met the sole alien inside it. In a twist of the Epic of Gilgamesh, that alien is named Utnapishtim. Gilgamesh saves his life by following his instructions to use the alien technology to restore him his immortality, and is allowed to repeat the same process on himself as a reward. The character becomes immortal, never aging and impossible to kill. He stayed as King, but found that his population was increasingly sad and refusing any activity, as his immortality reminded them of their own mortality. He staged his death and left the city, that became active again.
From that point, he became an errant. The comic book depicts his many adventures at ancient civilizations or historical events, or the meeting of historical people like Jesus or Napoleon. He also met fictional creatures, such as vampires or Atlanteans, and other characters created by the authors. The overall theme is his displeasure of human mortality, his rejection of warfare and, in later stories, his own desire for death.
The human race dies during the explosion of a nuclear plant, reflecting the fears caused by the contemporary Chernobyl disaster. However, another character presented in earlier stories was already aware of the risk and the existence of Gilgamesh, and developed a plan: a spaceship with preserved human embryos, that Gilgamesh would take across the space and restore the human race at another planet. He rejected the plan then, but carries it out after the explosion. He met other alien races, and eventually settles at another planet. The embryos become a tribe and, centuries later, a technologically advanced society. This new human race, unaware of being alien to that planet, organizes a space journey to planet earth, after discovering life in it. Gilgamesh joins it, but the tripulation dies during an accident after arriving. Gilgamesh is then left alone in a devastated planet.
He eventually meet other aliens that preserved human life in a similar manner, and would restore the human race when radiation had lowered to allow life again. Another alien race establishes itself on earth, but is followed by an enemy ship and destroyed. Gilgamesh kills the single attacking alien, but realizes that the action was observed by others of his race. Fearing a conter-attack that would be devastating for the small human tribe, he took the ship and attempted to take the fight to the space. He met an alien post on Mars, of the same race of the aliens that gave him immortality, and they destroy the whole attacking fleet.
Gilgamesh is sent by them to another level of existence, similar to the Olympus, where he met other immortal people, with him being the only immortal that was mortal once. He is proposed to move to yet another higher level of existence, but requests instead to live his life again. This event relates with the relaunch of the series mentioned earlier.