America gripped in the deadly hands of an epidemic! Gangs of toughs crowding the streets, assaulting at will! Fear and ignorance reaping a deadly harvest of lives! Old men getting thrown out of bars! Is it fantastic imagination, or the terrifying truth of right now? OR did this all happen decades ago in a comic book? Maybe that last one.
Yes, it's Kayo Ward, America's favorite disfigured boxer turned hobo. Here he arrives in Boswell Oklahoma, just in time for the annual Tossing Of The Codgers. Toss that codger, fellas!
That'll learn ya to come into Boswell with your VACCINATIONS and your INOCULATIONS and your DISEASE PREVENTION, you medical doctor, you!
Well, of COURSE they're going to refuse cholera vaccinations from you, Doctor Graves! They know full well you're only looking for many ghosts to populate the horror comic you'll be headlining in thirty years.
Don't fret, though, because Kayo just waltzes in and starts beating the holy hell out of everybody. Go ahead and vaccinate 'em up, Doc. And then you can fix some broken noses and a few busted ribs and some disolocated shoulders.
Honey, Martha, I'd like you to meet the guy whose pummelling is helping to keep this town safe from cholera! I know SOME cities improve sanitation and waste disposal, but here in Boswell we'll just rely on fists and needles, thanks.
Wow Mom, way to make Kayo - sorry, "Tom Brown" - feel awful about his terrifying facial scars that are too horrible to show the reader! Let's try to be considerate of his feelings, or he'll, uh, beat the holy hell out of us.
It's at this point where I'm starting to fall in love with the broad strokes and big figures of Phil Sturm's artwork here, particularly that bartender skimming the foam off the beer, which is not a thing I think I've seen in a comic book before or since. I'm also starting to get into the town's regular doctor, who's a loudmouth drunk who wouldn't know cholera if it infected him and caused sudden and violent diarrhea.
That's right, you sodbuster - cholera just strikes you down instantly, with nary a stain nor a mess. You wish!
Well, if it ain't cholera killing people, it's gotta be Doctor Graves and his Many Ghosts and his injections that's killing people! Or maybe, as we see in the last panel here, it's Boswell's many terrible hit and run drivers.
Guys, this town stinks. Just leave this town. It's doomed.
Oh look, an angry mob of anti-vaxxers ready to string up the only sane man in town! Doomed, I tell ya.
It's Frontier Justice, Andrew "I'm a fraud" Wakefield style, where the only sane response to cholera vaccination is to lynch everybody who looks like they might know what a cholera vaccine is.
A smacking good time is always had by everyone at Boswell's regular Saturday night man-pack. We'll bring the men!
Looks like even Kayo's mighty fists are no match for this kind of savage man-packing. Sorry, I just like the sound of that phrase "man-pack," that's all
Stop, men! Doc Graves didn't kill Billy Beaver! Yes, that was his name, "Billy Beaver." Anyway he didn't die of a cholera vaccination, he died of heart failure! Heart failure... CAUSED BY CHOLERA VACCINATION!! GET 'EM!!!
I sure hope Doc Graves is getting good rates here, because in between vaccinating the entire town, splinting all the limbs Kayo broke convincing the entire town to get vaccinated, operating on a little girl, and now fixing a severely pummelled Kayo, he's working himself to death!
"I may be a drunkard myself, but I sure know what good doctoring looks like! At least I think I do!" And with that dashed-off confession of professional malfeasance, and a grinning "Gee, Doc!", the crisis is over and the formerly blood-thirsty lynch mob is back to being merely a *potential* blood-thirsty lynch mob.
It's Tom Brown who deserves your thanks, for beating and getting beaten in just the right proportions.
That's what America's healthcare system needs, it needs doctors who can spearhead community vaccination campaigns, set the broken bones of a bar full of toughs, repair the damaged organs of a hit and run victim, and skillfully repair the horrific scars of a badly mangled prizefighter turned hobo. Will the next issue of Pep Comics solve all our medical crisises? Wait and see!
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