Story file: Shako!
Shako! – ‘The Eskimo word for the great white bear. It means simply … Killer!’ – was the first new serial to begin in 2000AD following the initial line-up of the first two progs. It replaced the first series of Flesh and offered similar fare of man versus flesh-ripping beast, although here set to the more familiar notes of a contemporary 1970s action thriller. With Shako himself a virtually unstoppable monster of a creature, ripping human limbs from multiple torsos on a blood-soaked rampage across the Arctic wastes, this strip has clear similarities to the more celebrated Hook Jaw – the psychotic shark tale still running in stablemate Action. However, Shako! featured a more prominent human lead – the bear’s demented nemesis, Alaskan CIA controller Jake K Falmuth (aka ‘Foulmouth’) – whose pursuit of Shako gives the thrill something of a Moby Dick flavour.
Falmuth’s obsession with the beast begins when Shako swallows a canister of the Agency’s latest top-secret weapon, a virus with the capability to turn bones to jelly. As the capsule is too large for the bear to pass naturally, Falmuth swears to hunt and kill Shako, assisted by his own number two, Dobie, and the improbably named Eskimo-American ecologist Buck Dollar. Shako, befriended only by a young Eskimo boy, Unk Sumak, wreaks havoc after his family is murdered, and the ensuing bloodbath includes memorable moments such as Falmuth’s arm being bitten off and the Russian KGB joining the hunt. In the final episode, the Shako is shot and killed by Dollar (Buck, not David and Thereza) who is himself crushed to death by fallen great bear’s body.