“Swamp Sluts” by Brian McConnachie and Russ Heath

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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.

KS

P.S. Heath just had a knee replaced after a car accident thanks to the Hero Initiative. He could still use support. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/russ-heaths-new-knee-110314.html

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