We open with a young blind child following the putter patter of his kittens feet through the various alleyways and tenements, only to halt together at the sound of something suspicious. That sound, it turns our is the sound of three thugs hanging two individuals for telling the neighborhood to NOT pay them for protection. This execution is meant to put the neighborhood in it's place. Suddenly the child's little white kitten meows (as kittens are want to do) and the sound alerts the thugs to the boys presence. As boy and kitten go racing into the shadows with the thugs hot on their heels, Ragman suddenly appears.
Ummm yeah, Rory would freakin KILL IT on some party charades...just saying.
Recognizing the danger the boy is in, Ragman takes the child back to Rags N' Tatters to hide out and assures him that his friend Rory Regan will look after him.
As Rory looks over the sleeping boy and his kitten, his mind wanders into a recap page of the story/origin thus far.
I like that particular page because it seemed more seamless than many other recap pages in comics of the times. Remember, most comics had a sort of "origin recap" panel or page in their comic issues JUST IN CASE a new reader were to pop in. Now, at this time in comics, that practice was on its way out, but it's still a mark of an older comic. That, and I liked the page because it confirms my theory from the first issue that Rory's abilities were transferred into him when he touched his father and his friends (in the process of them being electrocuted).
The scene cuts back to the thugs reporting in to their boss "Mr. Big". Mr. Big is displeased, as all crook bosses are who discover they hire incompetents, and vows to solve the problem himself.
Cut back to Rory and...sigh...Bette, as she makes her customary appearance to remind Rory of their "date"
to celebrate Chinese new year as Bette covers the event. Later that night, as the kid is sleeping, Rory dons the Ragman outfit again and sneaks out back to the sound of the thugs canvasing the neighborhood (and the back lot of Rags N' Tatters) to find the kid. Once more he expertly takes them out and walks back inside, right past a pile of mattresses as the comic once more reminds us of the presence of two million dollars in Rorys back lot.
Next morning, after breakfast, Rory goes to work once more at Rags N' Tatters.
I've always loved those scenes, as you probably can tell by now.
After work Rory and the kid walk out to meet Bette when, coincidentally, a woman in charge of an orphanage recognizes the child and thanks Rory for looking after "Teddy". Bette then pulls and uncharacteristically UN-bitchy move and suggests that herself and Rory take Teddy along with them to the Chinese new year festival and the head of the orphanage agrees.
Well it's there that Teddy smells the pomade and hears the knuckle cracking of one of the thugs and FREAKS out trying to identify him to Bette. No matter however as Ragman leaps out of the shadows to take him down. Mr. Big, not to be deterred by a child and a grown man in a suit of rags, takes this moment to begin ROCKETING TOWARDS TEDDY IN HIS WHEELCHAIR SHOOTING A MACHINE GUN.
Kitten, boy, Bette and Ragman fine (and the enemy dispatched) the story ends there.
Now I said this was my favorite issue. Here's why.
1) The cover is nice and DARK. Thus far they've all had alot of color but Ragman is like Batman; he works best in shadows. Plus Kuberts name is on the cover in a completely unmistakable way.
2) There we unintentional(?) bits of humor in there with rocketing wheelchairs and Ragman charades.
3) Bette wasn't a completely unlikable character this time around.
4) A hero helped a child.
5) A theory was confirmed.
6) The letters page.
AH the letters page. I told you last time that I couldn't wait to get to this one for you guys. The letters page is constantly something fans of old comics talk about as a great resource. I never understood that love until now. Here is the COMPLETE letters page of "Junk Mail" featuring fan feedback from issue #1.
Allow me to point out three letters in this page.
Just a little foreshadowing of the DC implosion that would take Ragman (and Firestorm) off the stands in a scant few issues.
Confirmation from OTHER fans reading the series when it came out (and the powers that be) that the theory of Rorys abilities is correct.
As of right now, Rory is apparently IRISH...but, knowing what we know about the future of the character, it's VERY interesting to read this letter in the pages of Ragmans third appearance.
Now to leave you, once more, with some humorous ads for Hostess, other DC titles (featuring gorillas), Spalding basketballs and a PSA from Supes about domestic child abuse.
Thanks for reading and PLEASE don't forget to "follow/join" the blog, comment on the postings and share the content to your hearts desire! Till we meet again!
Great article, Chad. I need to check this character out. Seems like fun.ReplyDelete
But where to begin?
In the Kubert Art School library there were various JK-related comics lying around, and this was one of them. I had heard of Ragman before but never read any of the comics until then. Ragman looked very distinctive then and still does to this day.ReplyDelete
Haha. I totally remember those Spalding ads. I thought they were hilarious when they came out. Moreso now.ReplyDelete
I've griped about the Giffen/Fleming retcon before, but I do like his becoming Jewish. It flips the script on the miser stereotype, but on that note, they had to make Bette Jewish? The shiksa bitch? Oy vey! Maybe Kanigher said "shrewish" and Orlando misheard. That was more of a Schwartz trope than a Kanigher one.ReplyDelete
One thing I forgot to mention in my last comment was the book was courageous for featuring a 'Nam vet in 1976. That was not a popular thing at the time, and pop culture grappling with that scene didn't really kick in until The Deer Hunter in 1978. The Punisher may have appeared a couple of years earlier, but he was also a psychotic villain at the time.