Here's something new... As in, something that's available right now, and isn't a relic of the 1980s or 1990s. And I'm reviewing it! How interesting. It's two comics of the "small press" variety, which is what "underground" comics are called nowadays, I think. And they're both by a certain Mr. Turnock.
A bit of history first, why not? A year or two ago, I was reading that relaunched, revamped Dandy, and obviously something seemed a bit "off" with it. So, as is the fashion in this day and age, I went to the Internet to see what other folk thought of it. A fair amount of what I found was the current staff of the Dandy moaning about how people were too thick to share their artistic vision (in so many words), and how two notorious trolls in particular were ruining it for everyone else. But who were they? Further "research" led me to Kid Robson - an articulate, level-headed fellow who'll always fight his corner, and also post lots of nice Thunderbirds stuff and tell you about his schooldays. The other "troll" was the less-restrained yet still passionate Mr. Turnock, who posts a lot of his own work on his blog and, as it turns out, used to work on Acne, a comic I enjoyed as a nipper and will soon be covering RIGHT HERE.
In short, I liked what I was seeing on those two blogs, and felt "inspired" to start my own one too (as in, this one here, right now). It's a lot of fun, and about a billion times more "successful" than I'd ever anticipated, and it stops me from going out at night causing riots and stealing cars and so on. So in that respect, I think a bit of plugging's due - Mr. Turnock now has two new comics, that you can actually BUY and OWN, printed with REAL INK on REAL PAPER. Smashing, eh?
Here's the first one, it's called Honk!
One big long story, that's what it is, "in the spirit" of Alan Moore's Lost Girls, in that we have Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Alice from Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins from... Mary Poppins, I think. One of those "how it REALLY happened" sort of tales, filled with all the fun things you'd expect from a cartoonist who hasn't got any editors or censors breathing down their neck.
Lovely bouts of violence:
Sorry for the bad scanning there, staples play havoc with flatbed things.
Digs at things that the artist personally detests:
Utterly deranged scarecrow sex:
And of course, a rare behind-the-scenes look at that old favourite, The Raccoons:
Those little buggers get really nasty later on - I won't spoil it here, mind.
In short, it's everything you'd want from a comic that's not available in the shops. You know, proper "underground" stuff - or at least as underground as pointing your mouse at the right website is.
The other comic is Scumbag Funnies, which seems a lot more "personal" than Honk! - beginning, appropriately enough, with a page ripping into Jamie Smart (one of the previously-mentioned Dandy staffers):
Scumbag consists of a series of shorter comics, rather than the epic that Honk! is, featuring a variety of characters. Whattock Hunt, for one:
And a four-page adventure in which the Goodies are tasked with erasing the UK comedy scene and bringing it back to rights:
The "main bulk" of Scumbag consists of a 12-pager titled The Goddess Lucy, a seemingly autobiographical (?) thing that's equal parts funny, depressing and even... sweet!?
That's the main reason I find myself seeking out small-press comics whenever and wherever I can - when there's so much of the artist actually ON as well as IN the pages, it seems so much more relateable. Maybe some interesting or horrific or amazing or even mundane things have happened to you in your life, stick it into cartoon form and it becomes completely yours, as well as everyone else's. I love 'em.
Plus, you get to say what you think of a LOT of things, and offer some solutions of your own:
And there we go, two comics that are new and cheap and readily available - get yourself over to The Comix Company and have a browse. Loads of stuff for every taste and whim!
And also, because it's a Canadian company, they're super-friendly. This is the envelope my comics arrived in:
And there was a free gift in there too, which was nice:
If you've any idea what a Tijuana Bible is, I don't have to tell you what's inside that thing. And if you don't, it's probably best keeping it that way (wink wink, nudge nudge).