Marder-ography – Rip Off Comix #17 [1987]

“My Covenant With The Hawk” is a short story, published in RIP OFF COMIX #17 (look for the Reagan-as-Dick-Tracy cover). The theme of the issue was true arrest stories, and Larry Marder provides a four-page autobiographical story illustrated by Don (Megaton Man) Simpson.

Yes, this is Marder’s brush with the law. Or something very much like it. Definitely one of the more innocent stories in the issue. Marder’s criminal reign of terror consists of shoplifting, in particular the time he got caught shoplifting two comic books (we’re not shown what comic books they are. From the comics we are shown on the rack, this story would be 1966 (go-go checks on the SEA DEVILS comic. There’s a FANTASTIC FOUR shown, I wonder if I can match it to an actual cover…). I’m guessing some Marvel books by Jack Kirby, maybe a Superman. Also on the racks are some ARCHIE comics, DANIEL BOONE, MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER, SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON, SPIDER-MAN and BATMAN).

Of course he promptly gets caught, by some big scary guy with a scar across one eye known only as the Hawk. The rest of the story follows Marder’s subsequent fear of the Hawk and reluctance to go near the dime store, and how he was scared out of a life of crime. And the comic world is so much the better for it. Three cheers for the Hawk!

It’s a cute story, and quite a change from the hard-time, low-life scum story you get from the other underground artists in here.

I was less enamoured with the artwork. I’m not a huge fan of Don Simpson, especially on stuff he didn’t also write. He starts off pretty strong on the opening scene with Marder and the Hawk, does okay on the next page with just Marder, and then absolutely falls down on the last page with Marder and his friends. That last page is sketchy and lifeless compared to the earlier pages

Still, an interesting experiment, the only thing I’ve seen that Marder wrote for another artist. It certainly would be hard to imagine this being done in his own style.

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