Overheard at the headquarters of IPC Magazines, somewhere in the UK, sometime in 1972: "We all know what the kids love. They love marshes. They love masters. Can't we somehow combine these two ideas into one feature they'll go bonkers for? Perhaps... perhaps a marsh, that's the... master of all the other marshes. A marsh master, if you will. Keeping those other marshes in line, telling them what to do, how to marsh. What do you think?"

Oh, a master OF the marsh. We can work with this, I guess. Sure looks angry, doesn't he? I'd be angry too if I was in charge of a lot of muddy, wet, bug-infested swampland.

ah yes, that favorite pasttime of British school kids, teasing the feral hounds. Nothing says "fun" like a painful course of rabies shots!

Be you whelps tormenting dogs? BE YOU? hollers Patchman, who has mastered marshes but hasn't quite got the knack of "shirts" or "grammar"

He's a "mighty hermit who had become a marshside master," so we're told. I suspect "hermits" and "marshes" and "masters" are all completely unrelated things that have just been slapped together to hang a story onto. Will this ramshackle construction hold up?

Nothing teaches respect for animals like the threat of physical violence from a half-naked swamp giant!

Maybe Patchman has a point about shrews being worth ten annoying teenagers. Shrews consume three times their body weight every day, eating insects, grubs, slugs, worms, spiders, millipedes and other harmful pests, while these teen slackers consume nothing but cigarettes, pints, chips (that's "fries" to us) and the patience of everyone around them older than 20.

Meanwhile in another part of the fens, isn't that a great term, " the fens," why don't we use it over here, anyway, it sure looks to me like these two goons are attempting to create that internet meme thing about honey and badgers forty years early!

On the one hand this is a shocking act of violence upon minors. On the other hand, these two goofs probably deserve it.

If I'm understanding this slang correctly, Knocker's going to kill two British girls with one rock? Taking a dark turn here, comic!

Are we about to see Patchman, the Marsh Master turn into Kenshiro, the Fist Of The North Star? (Note that first panel - Knocker was right, Patchman DID have them gather nuts for his squirrels)

I guess not knowing what common institutions like "zoos" are would be a prerequisite for hermit life, yes.

He's like "Dr. Doolittle," except he's ignorant, barefoot, and covered in slime and leeches. In other words, EXACTLY like the Rex Harrison version of "Dr. Doolittle."

I think this is the part where Patchman realizes how awesome big cat zoos are, starts his own big cat zoo, and winds up getting 22 years in prison on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder?

Tharka! Maweepa! Skree! Oookka! This is how the Marsh Master says "Marsh Avengers Assemble!!!" Get ready for that Patchman Cinematic Universe.

Cinematography by Robert Sorrentino
Directed by William Girtler

Don't laugh! When these animals finally achieve their goals, we'll ALL be living in human zoos.

Really? Two guys ignore every safety warning and jump over a barbed wire fence into the lion enclosure? I don't think they have a legal leg to stand on. Or soon a regular leg. either.

Now is NOT the time for your Iggy Pop impersonation, Patchy

You whelps have seen how puny man can be beside the creatures of the wild, especially when a vindictive marsh hermit unleashes armies of them upon anyone who gets on his wrong side! So be warned. Don't piss him off!

And here we take our leave of the Master Of The Marsh and his new Nature Study Prize Winner chum Knocker. If YOUR school doesn't have a bare-chested hermit squatting in the retention pond or lurking in a nearby vacant lot, harassing all who dare to scoff at the chipmunks and the dandelions, contact your local school board and find out why. Demand your Marsh Master!

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