Dear oh dearie me, what have we here? If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, what's the road to good intentions paved with? Discarded issues of The Scurvy Dog, probably.
Whilst other "adult humour" comics of the time mostly relied on lampooning the likes of your Beano and your Whizzer & Chips, the makers of Scurvy Dog - those being Graham Hey of Spit! fame, along with Chris Whitehead and Paul Kelly - in 1995 decided to go further back and have a go at a "boys' paper" parody. Writing as someone who's never got ANY enjoyment from such a publication, maybe it's not entirely fair of me to be looking at Scurvy Dog? Well, it's not like anyone else is going to be doing it, so here we go...
Really, I don't know where to start with this one. So we'll just pick a page at random:
There we go - open the Scurvy Dog at any page and you're more than likely to get something like that. Aiming for playful ignorance or something, but coming across as dull more often than not. Here you go, have two more similar pages:
Oh, and that other staple of the boys' paper, the text story - they have those in the Scurvy Dog as well:
I'll admit that I've never read this page all the way through - it was tedious enough by the end of the first paragraph. That probably shows more ignorance on my part than anything else, but I'm not going to force myself to enjoy something. To enjoy a parody, you must be familiar with, and ideally gain enjoyment from, that which is being parodied. I meet neither of those criteria, sorry.
There's lots of re-scripted adventure stories too, of the kind that needlessly filled so many pages in Spit! - and just like in Spit!, they go on and on and on forever, and aren't funny at all. Essentially, they're keeping the story the same but adding swearwords and a few colloquialisms. Regard:
See that? NINE BLOODY PAGES! Just to give Scurvy Dog an equal amount of attention as I've been giving to most of the other Viz-ish things, here's a couple more of the exercises in tedium, starting with The Lost Bay, a diving yarn, which at least has the pictures doctored a tiny bit:
Sharon - Best Chum of the Elephant Boy seems to be lifted from a "girls' comic", something else that I have no interest in whatsoever. This one managed to raise a small smile on my face with the erratic self-censorship:
There ARE a few bits of "original material" in here, at least. For a start, there's this nice little bit from John "The Modern Parents from Viz" Fardell:
A few reprints of Andy Fraser's "apt" material from Spit! also appears:
Along with a Just William pastiche from Nigel Maughan, which appeared in Elephant Parts four years before appearing here. If it was 1995 and I'd just bought Scurvy Dog, this'd be the highlight. However, it's 2014, and I've just read every issue of Elephant Parts a couple of weeks ago, so here it's more like "Oh, that one again".
I'm not playing fair here, am I? Must be something in the air.
In Scurvy Dog's defence, at least it was trying something different, and the covers by Michael Hingley are very nice indeed:
It only lasted for three issues. I saw all three of them sitting on a table in Oxfam a few years ago, but after flicking through them decided against buying them. The third and final issue is supposedly a bit of a rarity these days, so hindsight blah blah blah. In conclusion, if you enjoy the old boys' papers enough to enjoy a parody of them, go for it, but you'll probably get more enjoyment from Viz's Bumper Book of Shite, or maybe from getting an issue of Commando (they still sell it in WH Smith's!) and going through it with a biro, drawing giant cocks all over it.
How about some "irony" to finish off with? The one page that had me laughing out loud in the Scurvy Dog was an advert on the back of it. An advert for a video game, something completely at odds with what the rest of the comic was aiming for. Ho ho, what a wheeze etc: