Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Trunks, tails, ears, eyes, tusks, feet, mouths, and wrinkly grey skin

Not the Michael Nesmith film, but another Galaxy/Tristar comic - Elephant Parts is what appeared on the shelves instead of the fifth issue of Brain Damage's third year (1991), hence the odd numbering of its first issue:

Three cheers for Ben Baker for spotting Oink! co-creator Patrick Gallagher on the cover there.

"Incorporating The Damage" it says, but far from it - Elephant Parts is printed on cheaper paper with mostly black-and-white pages (or spot-colouring at best), and it does away with (almost) all the political parts that made Brain Damage that much more "interesting", and instead goes for a more "surreal" tone (so a bit like Gutted, but only slightly). As with most things that set out to be deliberately "weird" it's mostly a disaster, but there's also a few odd bits of genuine "goodness" - read on to find out, if you're up for it...

It's mostly fairly difficult to really figure out what they were going for with Elephant Parts - in that it includes a fair amount of that annoying "random/weird" stuff that's STILL prevalent nowadays, seen here in the form of Mister Completely by Tony Reeve:

And this thing:

In amongst that lot there's the kind of thing that made Scurvy Dog such a miserable read:

As well as more "traditional" (at least in the sense of "adult-comics-that-appeared-when-Viz-was-selling-millions") fare from the partnership of L.D. Cane and Martin (???) Honeysett:

And Mike Cook:

Fun fact: This page appears in both the first and last issues of Elephant Parts. Useful knowledge!

Mike Cook also gives us a couple of fun-enough DC Thomson parodies - they've already appeared on this blog in the past, but here they are again, just for the fun of it:

Also in residence are several names we should all be familiar with by now... Names such as Rob Filth/Yuppies:

Tone (aka. Anthony Naylor):

Chris Whitehead, who here has Woodrow Walker the Non-Stop Talker (previously seen in Gas) and Maxwell Beecher the Trendy Teacher (who also appears in Spit! and Zit), as well as Monty the Masochist:

Gary Whitlock:

Joe Matthews:

Ty Dalby:

And of course, Nigel Maughan:

This one would go on to appear in The Scurvy Dog, four years later, just so you know.

Let's get interesting now, with some cross-publication fun... Remember Acne? The comic that was aimed at "teenagers", so it had swearing in it but nothing too strong - yeah it was an odd one. Lee Healey did (amongst many other things) a serial-of-sorts for Acne called Adventures in the Land of Crap Drawings. Around a year or so before appearing in Acne, that same serial is here in Elephant Parts, only with more swearing in it:

And here's something a bit more confusing still... Elephant Parts replaced Brain Damage (or The Damage as it was latterly known), and at the same time Tristar was also publishing Gas. That too was eventually cancelled, perhaps unexpectedly for some, as a number of its strips were left on cliffhangers - two of those were eventually concluded in Elephant Parts. Lee Healey's Robin Hood thing:

And Kev Sutherland's Tales of Nambygate, which if you remember was last seen in Gas in a bit of a pickle... Here's the conclusion complete with a nice bit of sarcasm in the second-to-last panel:

Also worth noting - another Sutherland story titled That's The Way To Do It! appears in Elephant Parts, which a year later would be reprinted in Kev's own Bloody Hell! horror comic.

Now we get to the parts that give Elephant Parts its own identity, of sorts. As in, GENUINELY "odd" stuff, not just of the "lol random" variety, beginning with this wonderful bit from Davey Jones of Viz fame:

My own personal highlight of Elephant Parts is the stuff done by Phil Baber, wonderful Crumb-looking stuff with an odd air of dread about them, I like this lot - a lot:

If Phil Baber is the Elephant Parts R. Crumb, then that would make Pete Williams its Robt. Williams, even down to the near identical signature. His three-part The Satanic Mofo Acid Massacre appears in every other issue and isn't exactly subtle about its influences - there's even a cameo from one of Victor Moscoso's toothy dinosaurs in there somewhere. Have fun trying to spot it, why not?

Nearly done now, and it's time for what most folk remember Elephant Parts for mostly - Horny Estelle, the painfully, depressingly relatable tale of unrequited lust amongst a group of fairly despicable teenagers from Charlie Brooker (him off the telly). Here's the whole thing, you just might flinch a bit (or is that just me?):

A much later episode of Horny Estelle can be found here.

And... That's Elephant Parts, and the end of the third part of the ridiculously convoluted rash of titles that Galaxy and Tristar published in the late Eighties/early Nineties. It's a hit/miss affair but there's enough in it to make repeat readings enjoyable, and that's good enough for me. Here's the rest of the covers, just for completion's sake:

Coming up next... Nudity! Loads of it!


  1. Excellent stuff- hee-hee Dumbskulls!

  2. Phew! Yet another outstanding post, Ryan. Thanks for going to all the trouble scanning all these pages, much appreciated! :-)
    Going to take me some time to go through this little lot....

    1. Thanks, John :)
      Enjoy! Those Baber pages are definitely worth anyone's time...

  3. Here's what Lee Turnock reckons about Elephant Parts, which he posted on Facebook:

    I think the reason that 'weird / random' school of 'comedy'(!) that took off in the eighties with EP and Gutted largely springs from the fact that it's piss easy to do. Replicating the jagged surrealism of Spike Milligan - damn nearly impossible. Shoving a load of pop culture references together with some immensely lazy "LOL! WACKY!" writing - piece of cake, anyone can do it. Same deal with those boring 'LOL DRUGS!' comics - every strip boils down to the extremely obvious observation that smoking weed makes you tired / stupid / forgetful etc, end result - the comics get boring very quickly.
    Charlie Brooker - wretched little shit that he is - virtually admitted to me during our one and only phone conversation that his Horny Estelle crap was a knock-off of Peter Bagge's HATE comics, and a pretty shit one at that. There is NO JOY in his drawing, there never was any - nothing to suggest he was having fun doing it. just the unpleasant image of him hunched over his drawing board looking like a constipated Grumpy Cat... better finish now before I drop-kick my fucking computer through the window...


    Perhaps I ought to start a Facebook page for this blog, everyone else is doing it - and it IS the future, after all. Yes?

    Ryan, you might be interested in this page.

    1. Another one! Just when I thought the end was on the horizon... Cheers for that, I've downloaded all those pages for perusal :)