Jul 8, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 134: Strange Tales #171, December 1973


I recently started investigating the Marvel Comics horror titles of the 1970s. Well, when I say recently, within the last 5 years or so. Though I can't claim that the writing is up to a standard that matches what I think is some apotheotic work in current comics, they have a certain style, a certain panache, that makes them thoroughly entertaining to read.

I have to try to turn of the critical voice in my head when I read the highly exploitative titles like Brother Voodoo. It's not so much that it's in any way explicitly racist, but the utilization, and exploitation of Haitian culture into a superhero comic is postcolonially problematic.

Okay, let's leave some of that critical language behind. This tale of zombies in league with A.I.M. is a bit trite, but it does showcase some interesting story telling techniques in the extended flashbacks, the omniscient, but somehow still unreliable, narrative voice. Len Wein, close to the same time he created Swamp Thing, is plumbing the depths of Marvel's horror universe and meshing it quite nicely with the superhero universe. There's no explanation as to why the mad scientists of A.I.M. are working with Baron Samedi, who is, I think, one of the Voodoo Loa that Brother Voodoo is ostensibly "master" of, but in seventies comics, such things were not of paramount importance. What mattered was the nod to the shared universe, and the action. And this comic is full-on action, cover to cover. One has to question why such titles were considered as horror titles when really it's superheroes fighting supernatural supervillains.

Full disclosure: I'm really tired right now, and I'm not sure any of that made sense, but I have to keep up the daily comic, so here it is. I'm going to bed now. See you tomorrow.

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