Saturday, January 01, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 1: You can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of his name

This is a modified version of a post originally presented on January 27, 2017.

Born on this day: singer, songwriter, musician, actor and political activist Country Joe McDonald, he of "and the Fish" fame ("The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag," "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag," "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine," and the proverbial many more). Happy birthday, Joe!

But, you might ask, why are we talkin' 'bout him here on this comic blook blog, even one so springtime fresh-newly reborn? Answer: Celebrities get birthday wishes on this here puppet-town cow blog if'n they've been in a comic book (and, if we don't hate them. So yes, in additional to stage, screen, and probably that dive bar down the street that you love, Country Joe has also been in comic books?. Let me set up the scenario, as wel ike to say 'round these here parts, for y'all.

Nick Fury (the original one: e.g., David Hasselhoff rather than Sam Jackson) grew up as a member of the Greatest Generation, and he likes it that way, goldarnit it, not the way it is today with these modern kids with their underpants showing and their cone bras and their dancing with cartoon cats. Why, back in Nick's day when he was young and white, he and his gal pals jitterbugged to the smooth rhythms of Glenn Miller and Gene Autry and Spike Jones and the Fabulous Stains and Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes! That was just the way music was, and Nick liked it that way!

Which is why Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.* (*Some How I'd Envy Literal Death) would rather be in the clitches of Baron Stucker and his All-Girl HYDRA Commandos than at a concert for today's birthday boy, Country Joe McDonald!

from Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD (1968 series) #15 (Marvel, November 1969); co-plot by Gary Friedrich, Herb Trimpe, and Dick Ayers; script by Gary Friedrich; pencils by Herb Trimpe and Dick Ayers; inks by Sam Grainger; letters by Jean Izzo

Yes indeed, those verses about the FF and Doc Strangerthanmost are not an invention of the Mighty Marvel Bullpen, but the actual song lyrics from C.J.&F.'s classic song "Superbird!" (There are lyrics referencing Superman and Kryptonite too, but I don't see any sign of the band appearing in that month's comics from the Distinguished Competition.

Why, it's such a short song even Nick should be able to stand it, but no! As soon as the band rocks into the freaky riffs of "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" Nick's head totally expands, man! I mean, like literally! He's completely blown away by this song!

Is Nick dead, Nick's generic date? Why, he's not only rockapelic dead, he's also psychedelic dead.

Is Nick really dead? Who knows? Who cares? Because this is the last original issue of his comic book and we don't get to find out! In fact, the next three issues are completely filled with reprints. Way to duck the press asking the probing questions about Nick Fury's death, Dum-Dum Dugan!

And nobody ever saw Nick Fury, ever again.

But we don't blame you, Country Joe McDonald! Let not the tragic shooting death of master spy Nicholas Fury weigh on your mind, especially today as you celebrate your 80th! Happy birthday, Joe!

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