Tuesday, January 12, 2010

'Slow Death' Comix No. 4

'Slow Death' No. 4 (Last Gasp, 1972) features a cover illustration by Richard Corben (under the pseudonym 'Gore').

This issue includes 'Eyes of the Beholder' (uncredited, but probably by Metzger); 'Ecotopia 2001' by Irons and Veitch; 'Mangle, Robot Mangler' (a satire of Gold Key Comics' SF title 'Magnus, Robot Fighter' ; uncredited, but apparently by Corben); and 'Homesick', by Veitch and Jaxon.

Probably the best story in the book is the one I've posted here, 'The Awakening', by Corben.  The Eco-catastrophe theme is subtle but effective.

The inside page of the back cover publishes a very grim and cynical poem, 'Napalm Sticks to Kids', apparently written by some US troops serving in Vietnam and originally published in 1971. By 1972 most of the US forces had been withdrawn from South Vietnam and the NVA, by virtue of their Spring Offensive, had seized control of much of the country. The writing was on the wall for the end of South Vietnam, and it was clear that any forthcoming US involvement would be restricted to air offensives.

However, the antiwar movement was still a strong political and social force, with the revelations of the My Lai Massacre continuing to raise questions about the US involvement in Vietnam. For 'counterculture' publications like the underground comix, the war in southeast Asia was still a very high-profile event, and continued to receive much attention.

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