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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 9
Slow Death #8
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

Back Cover
Indicia Page
(click for larger image)

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1st Printing / late 1970s / 36 pages / Last Gasp
First Printing March 1977
Slow Death #8 is the "Special Greenpeace Issue" and begins with a masterpiece by Greg Irons (which is saying something) called "The Honour & Glory of Whaling." Written by Irons (and not his usual collaborator Tom Veitch), "Whaling" describes the relentless hunting of whales over the millennia, killing hundreds of millions of whales. Necessarily heavy with prose, the story is exhaustively researched and exquisitely illustrated.

I certainly count myself as an environmentalist, but I'm not so naive that I don't understand that whaling was an essential commercial industry until at least the mid 19th century, when more-economical substitutes were found for whale oil. What is tragic is that millions of whales were slaughtered after those substitutes were developed. Irons' story was written before the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but "The Honour & Glory of Whaling" is still a fascinating read and some of Irons' panels are just fucking beautifully done.

Kind of tough for anyone to follow Irons, but the rest of the book does provide some solid stories, in particular "Animals Your Children Will Never See" by William Stout, "Ozean Oinken" by Doug Hansen, "Condor's End" by Sam and William Wray, and "Perfect Evening" by Tim Boxell. Dennis Ellefson also does some excellent drawing (as close to Irons as can be found in this issue) with the poignant "Ballad of the Lost."

The entire content of the book, in combination with Irons' story and Rand Holmes' splendid back cover art, is enough to boost the overall score to a 9 for Slow Death #8.
It is not commonly known that there are two printings of this comic book, both by Last Gasp and both with $1.00 cover prices. The 1st printing (20,000 copies) states "First Printing July 1977, 20,000 copies" on the inside front cover. Kennedy's Price Guide asserts that the printing actually happened in March 1977, so we're going with that publication date here.
But what Kennedy never indicates is that a 2nd printing (unknown copies, but likely 10,000) also exists, which is missing the statement on the inside front cover. The back covers are also slightly different, evidenced in the description under Rand Holme's artwork. The scans of both inside front covers and back covers are presented in the right sidebar of the respective printings.
Ron Turner - editor
William Stout - 1, 18-19
Greg Irons - 2-10
Brenda Bernu - 11
Michael J. Becker - 12-17
Doug Hansen - 20-22
Michael T. Gilbert - 23
Sam Wray - 24-25 (collaboration)
William Wray - 24-25 (collaboration)
Roger Brand - 26-27
Shelby Sampson - 28
Dennis Ellefson - 29-32
Tim Boxell - 33-35
Rand Holmes - 36
Slow Death 8
1st Printing
States 1st printing on IFC.