Graphic Novel Review: Kirk Brown

The graphic I chose to review was Captain Marvel Adventures volume 1 issue 5 by Fawcett Publications. I will give a summary from the comic “Captain Marvel Solves the Swamp Mystery.” The story begins with radio reporter Billy Batson who visits a very rural community on the edge of a large swamp, to cover a story. The swamp is expanding, and ruining farm land, despite the efforts of some government engineers, and also, a mysterious “swamp devil” is rumored to be terrorizing the local people, some of whom seem to be extremely superstitious. The first people he talks to are Pappy and Mammy Sims, at their farmhouse; they fear that the devil can hear even a whispered mention of his name, and very shortly, the caped green lizard-like Swamp Devil does indeed show up at their farmhouse door, to interrupt Billy’s interview. Captain Marvel gets called in and punches him way out into the swamp, into which the terrible creature escapes.

The next morning, Billy interviews the government engineer, who characterizes the “swamp devil” as being just a crazy superstition, but admits that the swamp has been expanding and he hasn’t so far been able to stop it. Meanwhile Pappy Sims rallies up a hunting party (himself plus 3 guys) to deal with this Swamp Devil once and for all. They encounter a cloud of hypnotic gas, and the Swamp Devil shows up and orders them to follow him, which they do. Billy arrives shortly later, and is almost overcome by the gas, but turns into Captain Marvel, who can resist it; Cap finds and disables the gas-spraying machine, then rescues the hunters from being drowned by the Swamp Devil, who escapes again into the swamp. Cap then explores the swamp, and finds a dam where there shouldn’t be one, and a beaver-house-style hideout, and also gets attacked by the knife-wielding Swamp Devil. That fight is only one punch long, and the dam is quickly broken, which begins the process of draining the swamp.

The chief engineer of the swamp-drainage project, Mr. Woggs, turns out to be behind all the mischief. He was flooding the farmland in order to come back later and buy it all up cheaply. The clinching piece of evidence was that the eyepieces in the Swamp Devil’s head gear were ground to the same prescription as Woggs’ glasses, as Captain Marvel could tell just from looking at them.

The iconography and style of the artist displays creates thriller of a story. Captain Marvel can be seen making many actions in this comic. As stated in Scott McClouds chapter titled “Living in Line” we know that lines can define emotion and tone in graphic novels. While I read the adventure of Captain Marvel I felt like I was on a never ending roller coaster of emotions because the stories had many highs and lows. The artists lines also display a lot of smoke clouds insinuating multiple movements and actions in the story.

In my opinion, I believe the Captain Marvel Adventures is a great read for someone looking to get into super hero comics. The stories have great reoccurring themes and characters, plus he is a lesser known superhero so if you’re like me all of it will be completely fresh and new.

Captain Marvel Adventures Volume 1 Issue 5 pg. 41 and 42 by Fawcett Publications

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