Thursday, June 11, 2009

'Slow Death' Comix No. 9 (1978)

‘Slow Death Funnies’ was the first title produced by Last Gasp, a small press outfit started by Ron Turner in Berkeley, California. ‘Slow Death’ was a b & w eco-conscious comic book produced to coincide with the first Earth Day celebration in April, 1970. Throughout the 70s a total of 10 issues were produced; in 1992, an 11th issue appeared, which is still available from the contemporary Last Gasp catalogue.
‘Slow Death’ was part and parcel of the eco-catastrophe consciousness that was in fullest flower in the late 60s and early 70s. Many of the better-known underground comix artists had stories in the book, including Jack Jackson (‘Jaxon’), Richard Corben, Charles Dallas, Fred Schrier, Dave Sheriden, and Rand Holmes. Some issues of the comic have explicit content and bear an ‘Adults Only’ notification on the cover.
‘Slow Death’ No. 9 (August 1978) was devoted to exposing the dark side of nuclear power. The cover illustration is by Greg Irons, who also did the first story in the book, ‘Our Friend the Atom’. The other content is ‘Faustus II’ is by Michael Becker, ‘Beyond the Wall’ (posted here) by Dennis Ellefson, ‘Lights Out’ by Errol McCarthy, and ‘Close Encounters with a Blurred Mind’ by Tim Boxell.
I can’t say that No. 9 was one of the better issues. The stories are rather pedestrian, and lack the overtly horror-oriented content of the entries in other issues. But this was considered edgy stuff back in the days before non- Comics Code books were a staple of the store shelves.

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