Sunday, May 28, 2017
Down down in the drowned town
Memory is a funny if unreliable thing. Often a flashing glimpse into your hidden past, a few minutes of your past life that suddenly blazes bright and then cools to nothing at all. When I looked at the above photo for some reason I was taken back to a comic annual I had as child, maybe the Victor or the Hotspur, I don't know. There was a comic strip picture story in it called "Down down in the drowned town". Why it was "down down", doubly down I don't know. Somehow that added to the depth and mystery. The town was deep and out of reach. I can't recall the story, stick thin in the plot department I imagine, just enough to act as page filler, but the images have gone in. Funny how those 50's and 60's grim British comic art styles stick, they were always less dynamic than their free form American counterparts but they still had style and of course the grit of a bulldog etched on every face and clenched fist. The war was a recent memory and we were still flying armed V Bombers over European skies. Comics reflected how we perceived ourselves to be with all the jingo and I grew up in a world still coloured a faded pink from the stains of the Empire.
Anyway the drowned town was pretty much a normal town but with fish and sharks and all manner of sea creatures in the buildings and amongst the streets. There was that lurking hidden menace in the shadows of the ruins. The visiting SCUBA divers had to avoid it if they were to complete their mission. Nobody wore rubber Scooby Doo monster masks or threatened the pesky kids either, this was a serious story, UK interests were at stake. Quite how the town had drowned was never made clear, perhaps it was all an early insight into the Global Warming to come but it was no place for the faint hearted or anybody who wanted to breathe air on a regular basis. Perhaps there were pirates, spies or Soviet agents in midget submarines trying to kidnap scientists. All gone now. It was a one off story and so has disappeared, drowned in the torrent of other more colourful (this was only red and back ink on white) and better drawn super hero and wartime tales. I've googled for it but never discovered it, it's lost in the fog of childhood obscurity. Deep down in the depths, covered in the mud of all the other forgotten things that dislike disturbance. Just as well.