Welcome Back Kotter #1. November 1976.
Cover: Bob Oksner. Editor: Joe Orlando
“So Long, Kotter!”
Writer: Elliot S. Maggin, Penciler: Jack Sparling, Inker: Bob Oksner
Kotter’s kitchen ceiling starts to collapse when the building next door gets demolished. Putting up with the drunken superintendent/janitor almost makes him late for school. Kotter literally runs into the mailman downstairs. Among the letters flying through the air into Kotter’s hands is one from the City Board of Education approving his transfer to a better school.
The Sweathogs notice Kottter is in a strange mood and see him poring over the letter. When they find out he has scheduled a physical (required for the transfer), they assume he is sick. The TV show would have milked this for the bulk of the show, but Kotter and Vice-Principal Woodman tell the Sweathogs that Kotter is leaving them – to allow his wife to live someplace safer.
The Sweathogs help Mrs. Kotter clean the apartment and shop for groceries to convince her to be happy where she is. She realizes what the students are trying to do and comes up with a better plan. She calls Mr. Pevey, the Social Studies teacher when Kotter was one of the original Sweathogs.
They meet and reminisce. That and Epstein’s practical joke convinces Kotter to stay. He tears up the letter.
The text page asks for letters from the readers giving their “ratings” of the comic and contains a biography of Gabe Kaplan.
Humor very much reflects the show – you can hear Gabe Kaplan’s voice delivering his Groucho-like Kotter lines.
The art was spot on – all the characters looked like the actors that portrayed them.
Much like the show it began and ended in Kotter’s kitchen. The last panel even had the lyrics to the song played over the closing credits. Truly a DC-TV comic.
About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped. Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!