Oct 3, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 586: Street Wolf #2, September 1986

http://www.comics.org/issue/320999/

I did say a few days ago that I was going to keep reading Smurfs, didn't I? Street Wolf is really about as far from Smurfs as it is possible to be.

The inside cover editorial in this issue demonstrates the heavy-handedness that many overtly socially relevant comics fall into. While the message is essentially laudatory (stay away from crack), it buys into the "Just Say No" rhetoric that lumps all drugs into the same category. If you use them, any of them, you will become a psychotic serial-killing gang member, and eventually die.

*sigh* (Thanks so much, Nancy Reagan.)

This story, as far as dealing with social issues, was not quite as adept as the previous issue. There was nuance in the previous issue, but here it seems the creators heaped problem upon problem onto the one major antagonist, Ed Graves. Even after the villain's death, after being depicted as a drug addict, as a sociopath, as victim of childhood abuses, as attempting to kill his own brother, even after all this, in the final caption box dealing with the character, he's also revealed to have been a necrophiliac. This adds no real depth to the story, but makes the antagonist just that much more despicable. It was a bit much, I thought.

But the really interesting thing about this comic, and something that Harris notes in his editorial at the back, is that Nathan Blackhorse plays only a tangential role in the story. Harris lets us know that the series isn't just about the Wolf, but about the people with whom he interacts, even if only briefly. It's an excellent set-up for a series, and one that Mr. Harris seems to anticipate in the editorial (promising that the character will not be solely relegated to these three issues), but, unfortunately, does not seem to have come to fruition.

We'll finish this series off tomorrow, and then perhaps move back to the Smurfs. I've a feeling I'll need to after whatever transpires in Street Wolf #3. Onward!

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