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solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
Slow Death #4
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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1st Printing / November 1972 / 36 pages / Last Gasp
George Metzger leads off Slow Death #4 with a story about a drug-happy hippy who is given a "truth" pill by a mysterious "religious nut" and discovers the world is populated with robots (he shoulda stuck with the acid). Greg Irons and Tom Veitch give us a futuristic world (29 years into the future: 2001) where pot is legal but being straight isn't. We get another robot tale a few pages later from Richard Corben and it doesn't end any better than the first one.

The book closes with a rare collaboration between Tom Veitch and Jack Jackson called "Homesick," which features a man on a distant planet from his native Earth, who is watching over a colony of mutants and hoping a passing spaceship will finally take him back to Earth. After many years, he gets his wish, but discovers that being homesick was really just a waste of time.

This issue is notable for how much Richard Corben's illustration skills are beginning to look like the science-fiction tales he would craft in later years. He's in command of his airbrush and his work with light and shadow and facial expressions is beautifully realized, even in these lowly black-and-white pages.

There is also a harrowing poem on the inside back cover, written by a few young men serving in the First Air Cavalry in Vietnam during the war. A sample stanza: "A group of gooks in the grass, But all the fighting's in the past, Crispy youngsters in a mass, Napalm sticks to kids." The poem, as Ron Turner explains it, "expressed their bitterness about the things they had done and toward the military that had made them murderers." Yeah, those fuckin' hippies with all their peace signs and make-love-not-war bullshit. Buncha morons. Don't they know there's children we gotta slaughter to make the world safe for democracy?
There are three known printings of this comic book, all by Last Gasp. They are easily distinguished by cover price changes. The 1st printing has a 50-cent cover price, the 2nd printing has a 75-cent cover price and the 3rd printing has a $1.00 cover price. It is currently unknown how many copies were printed for any of the printings. The back cover art slightly changed between printings.

Ron Turner - editor, 35 (text)
Richard Corben - 1, 17-26
Dave Sheridan - 2, 36 (ad)
George Metzger - 3-10
Greg Irons - 11-16 (art)
Tom Veitch - 11-16 (script), 27-34 (script)
Jack Jackson - 27-34 (art)
Eric Kimball - 35
AF & Army GIs of the First Air Cavalry - 35 (poem)
Slow Death 4 3rd
3rd Printing
$1.00 cover price.