Monday, 14 April 2014

Devastated?

Here's a lesson in why setting out to initially do things in a chronological order was a doomed task from the start... As in, I had this "piece" all ready and prepared when I found out that this particular publication is/was the "sequel" to another one. No worries, I'll just have to shift things around a bit and "do" Gutter after this one - which is called Gutted.

Get me and my fancy sample edition

The story goes that there was a comic called Gutter, itself an off-shoot of Zit - same publishers and everything (Humour Publications), and when things weren't going so well there Gutter was shut down and re-launched as Gutted, printed on cheap paper and using spot-colour throughout, and claiming "bizarre humour" as its selling point. Yep, it's rude comics having a go at surrealism, with mixed results.

Before I got hold of any issues of Gutted, I was informed that it was the equivalent of what you'd get if you could staple wank together - an understandable opinion when looking at lazily "random" bits like these:



Yes, that thing that Noel Fielding does nowadays, only on paper. I stand here today to say that despite such rubbish as this, I enjoyed reading the four issues of Gutted that I've acquired so far. I really have! 

The "proper" first issue

Conceived and written mostly by Ged Backland and Shaun Taft (previously featured here within the pages of Igor), and lasting for... Maybe seven or eight issues? Beginning in 1992 anyway, and the only source I've found so far says it lasted for "about" eight issues, so that'll do for now. Let's have a peek at what else constitutes "bizarre humour", shall we?


By far the most prolific contributor to Gutted is Dave Iddon, whose Man Who Collects Eyeballs would go on to feature in Zit following the death of Gutted (even appearing on Zit the Video). This here is his first of many appearances:


Yep, why not give him two strips on one page?


That's Doctor Proctor underneath there, another regular Gutted character. Another issue has him inventing a teleporter, and he then appears on different pages all over the comic. In the seventh issue, he invents a "chaos generator", which turns out like a static Terry Gilliam animation, almost (probably the idea in mind at the time, anyway):


Gutted's usage of stock images continues throughout, as demonstrated here by Barry Freeman, along with a Don Martin-esque thing from Dave Iddon again:


The last of Iddon's somewhat regular characters is this devilish character:


And just while we're on the subject, sort of... Where can I get one of these?


Who bought them? Where are they all now? How come every last one of these comics had their own range of T-shirts?? Questions for another day and all that... 

There's obviously more to Gutted than Dave Iddon, and here's some of it, beginning with something by staff-writer/co-founder Shaun Taft:


Those expletive-marks there (in place of "twat" I'm guessing?) give an opportunity for this bit of noteworthiness - there's hardly any swearing in Gutted, placing it around the level of Poot! in terms of... playful silliness? Will that do? Just thought it was worth mentioning.

Also from Shaun Taft, but drawn by Bernard Morris is this thing, which I'm only really including here because the last panel made me laugh a fair bit:


Ty Dalby is another frequent name appearing within Gutted:


And this page from him certainly befits the "bizarre humour" promised by the cover:


And speaking of the cover - good gravy, aren't these covers good??




Definitely of the "standing-out" variety, despite being mostly devoid of colour. Going for a Basil Wolverton look, perhaps? It works, is what I'm saying. You might also note that those covers mention interviews - these are played completely straight, and don't really fit in at all. Whatever helps to sell, I can only suppose.

The back covers, meanwhile, mostly feature "observations" by Dave Iddon (again), possibly of the sort that brought up that "stapled wank" accusation again:


Back inside we go now, with all sorts of recognisable names - we've got current Viz-man Lee Healy:

That pea house thing also appeared in Zit, word-for-word.

Former Smut/sometime Beano guy Nick Brennan:




The inimitable Phil Baber:



And of course, the omnipresent Nigel Maughan:




And just to prove that Barry Freeman's lack of artistic skills can still produce something hilarious, here's The Saint's Dad:


Well I like it anyway!

It's not all laughs though, and in the interests of balance may I present this obvious Viz reject by Andy Fraser:


As well as the mandatory "foul-mouthed parrot" characters, from Stuart Robinson:


Okay, Stuart redeems himself here with the fatalistic adventures of Jambo:



Depressed enough yet? Hold on, have some more:



Just getting you prepared for this thing by Gary Small - it's Young Steven! As in, the Smiths are depressingly awful and that's what I reckon of them besides maybe one song - but I'm sure the fans might enjoy this one:


This one's for you, Greenaum!

And there we go, that's Gutted - a pleasant enough surprise as far as I'm concerned, and from what I've seen of its predecessor a definite improvement over Gutter as well, as shall (eventually) be demonstrated. Not exactly "bizarre", but different enough to stand out. It's a goodie.

One last page now, by special request, sort of:

Always happy to oblige to any "requests" folk may have of these very particular comics.



26 comments:

  1. Another belting find there, never heard of this before and judging by the quality of both jokes and artwork could scream considering the shit that did make it onto newsagents shelves round here. Not sure if you've been following the new Tumblr but Spitting Image did a spectacularly point missing Viz parody in 1991: http://mumphus.tumblr.com/post/81509964239/spitting-image-takes-on-viz-in-1991-for-being

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    1. I HAVE been following it, Ben - yep :)

      That parody had me confused for a short while, as I must've gone through the Spitting Image Giant Komic Book six times looking for it, thinking I was going mad - until realising it must've been on the show, right?

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    2. Yeah, final show of series 10 from early 1991. Bloody awful. I was always scared by the Komic Book as a kid (which was in pound shops for decades) due to that John Hurt strip at the front. Still treasure my battered to fuck Round The Bend one-off though.

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    3. There was a Round The Bend one-off?? Was it a book or a comic? Oh dear, now I have to find it somehow.

      I always preferred the double-ended Spitting Image Book to the Komic Book. Off to see the Spitting Image exhibition at the Cartoon Museum in London in a few weeks, that should be enjoyable, a bit.

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  2. Wow. And people say my work isn't 'mainstream' enough. Compared to the contents of Gutted, I'm a one-man Disney empire!

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    1. Seems it truly was a time of "anything goes" in comics - a revival is needed!

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  3. I have one issue of Gutted.. it's the last one, number 8.. think it mentions inside about it's characters being absorbed into Zit but other than the Man Who Collects Eyeballs, I don't know if any other characters made the jump. There's a strip in 8 about a giraffe-necked boy who is rejected by his peers and commits suicide that just comes off as tragic rather than the bizzare and whimsical they were probably aiming for.
    Speaking of tragic.. those Jambo strips were a find! It's rare for adult humour comics to go for that kind of "slow burning existential absurdity" humour, so they're a nice change of pace. Very reminiscent of the mid afternoon boredom more prevalent in the days before widespread internet usage.

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    1. A situation thankfully destroyed by Tim Berners-Lee, thankfully... A bit like those Drunken Bakers only without the crippling alcoholism.

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  4. Never heard of either comic before - I'm gutted (not).

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  5. I hate that whole "I'm mad, me" thing. But if this was just presented as a comic, with no proclamations of "bizarre" humour made on the front, this might have been really good.

    The Man Who Collects Eyeballs, for instance, is quite brilliant. Genuinely disturbing, even on the surface, but even more so when you really look. His grim determination and obvious satisfaction after the act. The fact that he seems to have involved Marge Simpson in his racket. The fact that he has apparently "collected" the prime minister's eyeballs and got away with it.

    You're wrong about The Smiths, though. The notion that they're "depressing" is supremely misguided. A lot of what people seem to think of as miserable is actually meant to be funny. You might think of them as a poppier Half Man Half Biscuit.

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  6. I think you have to see all these comics as a genuine outpouring of creator/artist activity. A lot of us could do whatever we wanted (literally) with little or no editorial imput. It was very liberating, unfortunately not everyone who could draw could write and not everyone who could write could draw. In fact they are a very good argument for strong editorial direction. Chis Donald was a very strong editor and despite the amateurish air the early issues give off they were very tightly controlled. I still have a lot of his letters detailing minutely what he wanted and he often changed my strips, and when he did they were always better. Unfortunately outside of Kev Sutherland ( a very underestimated creator) I can't think of anyone else who gave a toss. If they had had that sort of strong leadership they could definitely have lasted longer on the shelves.

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    1. Good points all round, although you have to admit that there were SOME that seemed like nothing more than a quick way to make money (looking mainly at Jockstrap and the Twilight Clone here).

      A good editor is definitely the key to a good (if not successful) comic - I'm looking at an issue of Top Banana here that has two nearly-identical characters, but drawn by different artists. Nearly everything Kev Sutherland's involved has a definite air of effort about it (particularly latter-day Gas, those are brilliant!).

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  7. Have I said thankyou yet? Thank you!

    And you've got The Smiths all wrong. They're actually quite funny and life-affirming. It's a wry sense of humour but we've all got that in t'North.

    Any chance of CBRs one day? Stick em in your email space if you had to, Google give 5GB. Or their Google Drive thing, dunno how that works. Since it's a minority interest, not gonna need to send too many out, and once they're on Google's server it won't take any more of your bandwidth. I don't think so anyway.

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    1. I understand "oop north" humour - I'm of Mersey stock! More of a Half Man Half Biscuit kind-of-guy though...

      I've got several more issues of Gutted SINCE this article, so it's something else on the pile. Once they're done and ready, I'll put links somewhere where they can be found (wink wink).

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    2. You're the second person to tell me that today, I'm a happy guy!

      If all goes to plan, I SHOULD have every last issue of Gutted within the next few hours... Exciting times!

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  8. Those comics aren't going to get any funnier with time...

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    1. I know, I know, activity here has been slow so far this year, I'm sorry...

      Someone special has arrived in my life, so I'm not the obsessive loner I was when I started things here. The good news is she loves these articles/comics too, and keeps telling me to get back to scanning and whatnot. And I will! It's just "finding the time" is all. It's definitely NOT dead to me though, and that's a promise.

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  9. Bah! Obsessive loners need their comics! And she SAYS she likes the comics, oh yes. Wait til that ring's on her finger, it'll be "How many times have I told you about them STUPID COMICS? Now go buy me some flowers, or sanitary towels, or whatever we women like".

    I'm not saying it's gonna happen, I'm just saying watch your dustbin like a hawk, that's all.

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    1. Ha, you crack me up, sir!

      She's happily feeding my addiction to all things Red & Stimpy, good signs indeed? I'm still obsessive, just not as much of a shut-in as I was this time last year is all...

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    3. I seem to remember love as quite nice, although a fair bit of work too. Especially if you're a bit thick re mind-reading, or at least having the slightest idea what's important without someone having to tell you. Well, me. Hundreds of times. And I still forget.

      I'm "nurturing" myself at the moment. Well not this very moment, hard to type at the same time. Shut-ins need to be shut in for long periods of time, or we get all freaked-out and bewildered. My skin shall not know daylight!

      Enjoy yr love!

      Sam xxx.

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  10. Thanks for finding these, Saints Dad and Young Steven were gateway comics for me - from the Beano to somewhere much funnier. The surrealism really appealed to me. I seem to remember "The Tragic Tale of Terry and his Biscuity Breath" and "The Jiving Jessops". "Papercut Pete" too... Slashy slashy, stingy stingy!

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    1. It's an absolute pleasure... Far too many comics just aren't remembered nowadays, yet guff like Bunty and Superman gets sung to the heavens... I'm slowly (VERY slowly) trying to get the balance back!

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  11. I used to help create this comic for Humour Publications.
    I personally coloured in some of the pages (One spot colour).
    And helped do the paste up of laying the pages ouut and getting the, off to the printer. I worked with Shaun (The Artist) and Ged (The copywriter) We wehere based in Hove nr Brighton. We used to have a right laugh at work and Shaun had his full drum kit set up at work. Plus a Marshal amp and guitars. It was a fun time of my life. Yes the comic was a bit pants but it used to be create dall on the fly in a few days by Ged and Shaun with contributions from David Iddon.

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    1. Nice to hear from you, Mr. Mitchell...

      I actually like this one a lot more than others of its ilk - there's some genuine goodness in there! Sounds like a lot of fun was had in the making of it anyway... Been up to much comics-wise since the end of it?

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