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|St. Swithin's Day|
|Created by||Grant Morrison|
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) Trident.|
|Publication date||August 1989 – February 1990|
|Colorist(s)||Steve Whitaker (reprint)|
The story is said by Morrison to be based upon his diaries and is also said to be partly autobiographical.
In 1990 it was compiled into a single edition and reprinted by Trident Comics in colour. This edition quickly went out of print and for many years it remained out of print as Trident Comics had gone out of business in 1991. It was later reprinted by Oni Press in 1998.
We first meet the lead character, a teenager (who is not given a name in the story) shoplifting a copy of Catcher in the Rye from a London bookshop. He says, "I hate the rain. Everything bad happens in the rain." His reason for stealing the book is not clear beyond him saying they can find it in his pocket "when this is all over".
During the course of the story we find out that the teenager is from an unnamed northern British town or city, stealing his housemates' unemployment benefits to come to London to assassinate Margaret Thatcher while she makes a public appearance at a technical college. We see he has a gun to shoot her and she is due to appear on July 15, which is Saint Swithin's Day, hence the title of the comic.
Much of the strip is made up of the teenager preparing himself to assassinate Thatcher and exploring his own teenage angst. The final chapter starts with the teenager waiting for Thatcher after writing "neurotic boy outsider" on his forehead.
It is raining on the day and the teenager manages to get near to Thatcher and starts to pull out what the reader thinks is the previously seen gun. However we see it is actually his hand and as he points his hand at Thatcher he says "bang" shortly before her bodyguards leap upon him and begin beating him.
While being beaten the teenager thinks, "it was worth it just to see her scared". The last scenes are of the teenager traveling on a train on a sunny day and his final lines are "I don't care if it rains. I really don't care at all."
Reaction and controversy
Reaction to the story was hugely positive within the comics community. However, the story of its publication had been picked up by the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, a pro-Thatcher newspaper. They ran an item on the story under the headline "DEATH TO MAGGIE BOOK SPARKS TORY UPROAR," with quotes from MPs such as Teddy Taylor condemning the book. This even led to questions being asked in the House of Commons about the comic.
All this proved great publicity for Trident Comics and they took advantage of it, even going as far to reprint The Sun's article in advertising for the reprint edition.