"JOLLY SWAGMAN"

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human mutate;
    Australian citizen

Occupation: Swagman (itinerant worker - see comments)

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Flush Gordon

Enemies: Notorious Outback Toilet Tarantula

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Australian Outback

First Appearance: The Bog Paper#6/1 (9th December 1989)

Powers/Abilities: In his transformed state, the Jolly Swagman was a giant, larger-than-human sized arachnid with a fanged mouth and eight limbs (two arms and six legs). It is unrevealed whether he had proportionate strength, speed, etc., was able to wall crawl, or had a venomous bite.

Height: (Either form) Unrevealed
Weight: (Either form) Unrevealed
Eyes: (Either form) Unrevealed
Hair: (Both forms) Black

History:
(
The Bog Paper#6/1 (fb) - BTS) - The Jolly Swagman wandered the Australian Outback. At some point he overindulged in "Big Ben Pies."

(The Bog Paper#6/1) - As the Jolly Swagman was waltzing his Matilda over to a billabong, the pies he was digesting began to disagree with him, causing him to soil himself. Embarrassed, he spotted a latrine standing alone in the Outback and raced towards it, seeking its shelter before he further disgraced himself. In his rush, he failed to check the toilet bowl and so didn't spot the Notorious Outback Toilet Tarantula lurking within until it bit his naked posterior once he had lowered himself onto the seat. As he leapt up in terror and pain, he inadvertently pulled the chain, flushing the receptacle, which had the unexpected and startling side effect of summoning Flush Gordon, a stranded alien superhero who lived within and transited across the Earth's plumbing waste pipes. Seeing the distressed Swagman, the hero asked the shocked Australian if he could be of assistance, and the Swagman gathered his wits sufficiently to tell Flush to "kiss me bot."

    Angrily Flush told the Swagman there was no need to be offensive as he was only trying to help, but the panicking human clarified, explaining about the tarantula bite and saying he needed someone to suck the venom out. Now understanding the situation, Flush flew off to get the antidote, returning only moments later as he had luckily encountered a flying doctor. Snatching the antidote from Flush, the Swagman downed the entire vial in one go, not giving Flush time to finish reading the antidote's instructions: "Under no circumstances swallow the lot or else the victim will turn into a spider also!"

    Even as Flush completed saying this, the Swagman was transformed into a gigantic spider. Announcing there was only one way to trap a giant spider, Flush flew off and returned in seconds with a giant matchbox, which he dumped on top of the mutated monstrosity. With the Swagman suitably restrained and Flush confident he would soon return to his original form, Flush headed back into the latrine to depart.

Comments: Created by John Geering.

   The Bog Paper was a short-lived weekly humor title, lasting only eleven issues, that Marvel UK launched in late 1989. Like its recent predecessor, It's Wicked, it was a departure from Marvel U.K.'s usual fare. For those not used to British comics, while Britain did have some comics whose format was much more akin to American titles, the most common format for British comics was weekly titles, anthologies split into multiple ongoing strips. Adventure series would usually be two or three pages per issue with an ongoing story, or story arcs, while humor strips were frequently one page and usually each issue's installment was self-contained. It was very common for humor strip characters in a given title to randomly pop up in another character's strip, as if they all lived in the same town, and breaking the fourth wall was likewise commonplace. Marvel U.K. was predominately adventure strips, based purely on the fact that they originally started with material reprinted from American Marvel titles. Even when Marvel U.K. began producing its own original material, they generally stuck to the adventure strip format, with humor strips normally only represented in three panel strips (similar in format to newspaper strips), usually on the inside front page.  By the mid-80s there was tiny bit of variation on this, with humor strips like Lew Stringer's Combat Colin getting a whole page to work with. Then, out of the blue, and overlapping the time that Marvel U.K. made tentative ventures into American format titles like Sleeze Brothers and Death's Head, along came the polar opposite, It's Wicked!, a humor title that was clearly trying to mimic the art and layout of Britain's highly successful Beano or Dandy comics, full of single or two page strips with anarchic but child friendly humor. The Bog Paper was a second attempt at this, following It's Wicked's swift cancellation, but this new volume had a literal toilet humor motif (Bog being British slang for a toilet, and Bog Paper thus being toilet roll/what I believe Americans call bath tissue.."toilet paper," actually--Snod); perhaps unsurprisingly given this bizarre choice, it was even less successful than It's Wicked and was cancelled in even less time. Despite this, all the characters within are owned by Marvel, so in theory they could reappear.

   Flush Gordon was the headline star of The Bog Paper, his name an obvious play on Flash Gordon. Created by John Geering, who was better known for the non-Marvel comedy superhero Bananaman, Flush's toilet-related schtick was that he traveled the world via the waste pipes connecting people's toilets, emerging when someone flushed them. This made him frankly one of the least gross characters in the comic. Could Flush Gordon, or any of the other characters in The Bog Paper, be 616 residents? I've not been able to read every issue (which is probably a blessing), but from what I have seen there doesn't seem anything to prevent it nor to confirm it.

   In case it's not commonly known in the USA: A Swagman is Australian slang for a hobo or itinerant worker, who wanders from one location to another carrying his belongings, a.k.a. swag, usually wrapped in a blanket to form a backpack; swag is also known as Matilda, apparently because a Dutch swagman named his swag that in memory of his late wife, and the name spread. A billabong is a branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pond, while waltzing is Australian slang for traveling by foot. The terms are best known in the U.K. because of the Australian bush ballad Waltzing Matilda, considered to be Australia's unofficial national anthem, which begins:

Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

or, translated:

Once a happy itinerant worker camped by a pond
Under the shade of a breed of tree native to Australia
And he sang as he watched and waited till his tin can full of water boiled
"You'll come a walking with your belongings with me."

    It definitely sounds better in the slang version.

   As for the "flying doctor" Flush encountered: The Australian Outback is so vast and sparsely inhabited that many people live in locations remote from medical facilities such as hospitals. To cover those households' health care needs, Australia has a flying doctor service who can be summoned by radio and travel by airplane or helicopter from one patient to the next.

This profile was completed 3/18/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Jolly Swagman has no known connections to:


Notorious Outback Toilet Tarantula

The Notorious Outback Toilet Tarantula lurked within the toilet bowl of G'day Bogs. When the Swagman lowered his unadorned bottom onto the seat, the tarantula bit him. As the terrified man leapt up screaming, the tarantula was pleased to note its victim correctly identifying who/what it was. It hid back in the bowl until Flush Gordon brought the Swagman an antidote, but emerged laughing when the Swagman inadvertently transformed himself into a giant spider. After Flush had trapped the metamorphosed man, the superhero prepared to depart via the toilet, but leaned over to check that the tarantula wasn't lurking within, not wishing to fall victim like the Swagman had. Having been instead hiding on the latrine's ceiling, the tarantula gleefully leapt down, aiming for the bent-over hero's raised backside.

--The Bog Paper#6/1


images: (without ads)
The Bog Paper#6, p3, pan1 (spider form)
The Bog Paper#6, p1, pan1 (human form)
The Bog Paper#6, p2, pan1 (headshot)
The Bog Paper#6, p4, pan2 (trapped in matchbox)
The Bog Paper#1 cover (Flush Gordon)
The Bog Paper#6, p3, pan1 (Notorious Outback Toilet Tarantula)


Appearances:
The Bog Paper#6 (9th December 1989) - John Geering (writer, art), editor unknown


First Posted: 09/08/2021
Last updated:
09/06/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
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