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junkwaffel 2 1st
 
brilliant writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 9
Junkwaffel #2
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AVERAGE SCORE 8
1st Printing / 1972 / 36 pages / The Print Mint
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Junkwaffel #2 opens with the second and final installment of "Tubs," which continues the story from the first issue until it concludes somewhat unsatisfyingly with the abrupt demise of the mission. Bodé's signature character Cheech Wizard makes two appearances, both subtitled "In His Student Days." The first story is about a day in Cheech's life at "Sorceror's University" and the second is about his attempt to create a Frankenstein-style college professor, which is especially amusing.

The second issue of Junkwaffel is best known for Bodé's "Cobalt 60," featuring a semi-human mutant protagonist named Cobalt 60. The story takes place a distant, post-apocalyptic future, when humans known as "Radios" seek to eliminate the existence of semi-human mutants like Cobalt 60. But Cobalt 60 doesn't go down easy and counters with his own deadly offensive on the Radios and their killer slaves, the Lopers.

Though not as well known, another strong story in Junkwaffel #2 is "War Lizard," which insightfully examines the necessity for callousness when killing is your job. "War Lizards" takes an almost impassive approach to the inevitably of death in wartime, making it hard to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. The back cover art, which reprises some of the characters from the story, is brutally astute about the psychological and emotional numbness that accompanies war.

Junkwaffel #2 provides some of Bodé's most ambitious concepts and extraordinary writing, with a fine balance of humor and pathos. This was the comic book that made me a fan of Vaughn Bodés early work and seek out other obscurities that might achieve the same level of excellence.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
There are two printings of this comic book, easily distinguished by the cover price. The 1st printing (30,000 copies) was published by the Print Mint and has a 50-cent cover price. The 2nd printing (10,000 copies) is by Last Gasp and has a $2.50 cover price.

The first ten-page chapter of "Cobalt 60" originally appeared in the long-running sci-fi fanzine Shangri L'affaires (#72) in 1968. It was republished in Witzend #7 in 1970. For the Witzend reprinting, Bodé asked Larry Todd to add zip-a-tone line screens to the original artwork, which had appeared as pure line art in Shangri L'affaires. The screentoned version is also what was used in Junkwaffel #2. A six-page second chapter of Cobalt 60 (with pencil illustrations) was published in Shangri L'affaires #74 in 1968 and reprinted in Junkwaffel #4.

When Vaughn Bodé developed Cobalt 60 back in the '60s, he also created a large cast of characters for a much longer story, but didn't utilize any of them in either of the two chapters he produced. Despite winning the 1969 Hugo Award for Best Fanzine Artist, earned primarily by his Cobalt 60 chapters, he never did anything else with the Cobalt 60 character. His son Mark Bodé said the project made him too depressed.

In 1984, Mark Bodé revived the character, developing a full-color story with a script by Larry Todd. The new story included Vaughn Bodé's original characters (including those he never used) and plotting but went in a new direction after the first two chapters. Mark Bodé said the revised Cobalt 60 was more "lighthearted" than what his father would have done if he had continued the story. We'll never know for sure if Mark was right, but I would've loved to have seen what Vaughn might have produced had he pursued such a dark corner of his creativity.
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COMIC CREATOR:
Vaughn Bodé - 1-36