Monthly Archives: April 2011

“Swamp Sluts” by Brian McConnachie and Russ Heath

(Click to Enlarge)

I’ve refrained from posting whole comics on this site before because I felt it would be a conflict of interests. But now that we’re on hiatus, what the hell?

Plus, this is a story that I have never heard anyone ever mention, and probably — I guess — very few people probably know about. Googling “Russ Heath” and “Swamp Sluts” brought up only five results. (Although, Heritage Auctions did sell off all eight pages of the original art about eight years ago for $483.00 total, apparently.)

As far as I can tell, the story’s first and only appearance was in National Lampoon’s Encyclopedia of Humor (1973). This was a book that I first read, in the most unlikeliest of places, when I was living in Tokyo, and working near Jimbocho — an area of Tokyo known for its hundreds of used book shops. (They have to put out a guidebook for them all every year.) Somehow the NLEoH ended up in one of these shops and then in the hands of one of my co-workers. The book also features the much more famous “Cowgirls at War” by Michael O’Donoghue and Russ Heath, which ran in NatLamp, and was reprinted in a few specials.

One thing I love about this story other than it’s hilariousness, is how the humor functions because the images are still. The passing trucks are “stuck” there so you can’t see what’s going on behind them. Imagine if it was a movie and the trucks rolled past (they would have to given the amount of dialog). Or try doing it in prose without the images — how could you? It only works in comics, although some of those scenes in the Austin Powers movies are a close equivalent.


P.S. Heath just had a knee replaced after a car accident thanks to the Hero Initiative. He could still use support.

Albert Camus’s THE OUTSIDER

Just finished reading The Outsider (1942) today, the most existentialist / absurdist / nihilist book I have ever read. Here is my favorite page for sheer hilarity, related by the protagonist in jail:

Between my mattress and my bed-plank, I’d actually found an old scrap of newspaper which had gone all yellow and transparent and was almost stuck to the material. It was a small news story. The beginning was missing, but it must have taken place in Czechoslovakia. A man had left some Czech village to go and make his fortune. Twenty-five years later he’d come back rich, with a wife and child. His mother and sister were running a hotel in his native village. In order to surprise them, he’d left his wife and child at another hotel and he’d gone to see his mother who hadn’t recognized him when he’d walked in. Just for fun, he decided to book a room. He’d shown them his money. During the night, his mother and his sister had clubbed him to death with a hammer to steal his money, and then thrown his body into the river. The next morning, the wife had come along and without realizing revealed the man’s identity. The mother had hanged herself. The sister had thrown herself down a well. I must have read this story thousands of times. On one hand, it was improbable. On the other, it was quite natural. Anyway, I decided that the traveller had deserved it really and that you should never play around.