Wednesday, 10 July 2019

TECHNOFREAK ISSUE 2 REVIEW



Hot on the heels, appropriately enough, of Techofreak issue one comes issue two, and the continuing adventures of private eye (and technofreak cyborg) John Sherlock, aided and abeted by the real star, robot cat Maurice, who again gets all the best lines as he hogs any exposition required ("Who ya talking to, ya dumb cat?" - "He's narrating. He does that"). Also along for the ride again is Neville the Private detective cum dimbulb thug, and the lovely Loretta.



In this issue the team (mnus Loretta) head to glamorous Dorking to investigate a possible rebooting of the Technofreak programme, and give the reader a little more info on where exactly he comes from, of course. Cue a mad scientist, a creepy castle and plenty of fun that ends up like a cross between Frankenstein and Scooby Doo.


One thing about issue 2 is it's definitely a step up from the first as it get straight into the action, with loads of funny lines to boot. In fact, the humour is one of the best things about it, as if the creators realize it's inherantly daft and decided to have fun with it. Tom Newell's art is really good, and the whole thing reminds me of 90s Marvel UK, with the feeling that Technofreak would have sat comfortably alongside Dragon's Claws and been just as fondly remembered.


Newell, John Charles and Barry Mayhave  delivered a strong continuation of the Technofreak story, and I feel this issue will go down extremely well with comics fans who don't want anything too serious. A quality piece of work that's a genuine pleasure to read, Technofreak is definitely something to freak out about. Now... where's my Maurice sketch...

CLICK HERE TO BUY

Monday, 1 July 2019

DOGBREATH ISSUE 36 REVIEW





Like a terrier snapping at the heels of a badger, Dogbreath issue 36 screams 'buy me as well' at anyone who has sampled the delights of the latest issue of Zarjaz, coming as it does from the same stable. Unsurprisingly dedicated to the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter, the superb exclusive cover from comics legend Colin McNeil tells you straight away that this is a good un.

This issue kicks off with 'Back To Basics', from writer Daniel Whiston and fan favourite artist David Broughton. We find Johnny hanging from the neck on a gold mining colony, with no weapons and seemingly no hope as his air is slowly cut off. Then he dies – the end! Nah... of course not, but to find out what happens you'll have to read it. It's a very good tale indeed, with a Western-y vibe that has always suited the character and first rate art from Broughton (including the least subtle Carlos tribute EVER). A great start.



Next up is that crazy Scottish mutant Middenface McNulty in 'McNulty's Law'. Kev Hopgood tells a tale of a mystery man (complete with a bag on his head) being transported through the rad wastes. Naturally, it all goes shite shaped, but you know that at some point someone is going to be told 'Take your lumps like a man', and that's fine by me. It's all a bit political (possibly an accurate picture of post No Deal Britain), with some nice art from Richard Waugh that helps carry the story. At fourteen pages it has a strong whiff of the overlong about it but it's well presnted and does a nice job of displaying the UK in the time of the Stronty Dogs. One thing bugged me a bit, and that's that McNulty does not seem remotely Scottish in anything he says – Hopgood needs to be reprogrammed with McNulty speech patterns before he does the character again, ye scunner!

Away from our regular characters next, with David Fenn delivering a Strontium Dogs tale, aided and abeted by artist Adam Caudill. It concerns the Weyland mutant prison (although it says 'HMP WAYLAND' on a big ass sign – woops!) and the sinister goings on within. Tobe brutally honest it's the opposite of the previous story, with ten pages of story squeezed into five. Caudhill does his best with a solid art style, but in the end it's one of those stories that left me scratching my head at the end, wondering who the characters had been and why I should care that much.



Seasoned scripter Matt Sharp is up next, paired with Gail Nedry for a Durham Red tale set in Egypt, so scope for plenty of crypt action. Although Red's appearance is limited to the end, it's a smart story that works very well. Nedry's art (showcased well in Rogue Trooper for Zarjaz) ,is scratchy but endearing, with a fleeting similarity to Mike McMahon in the early days. Overall this is a really solid entry that keeps things simple but stays smart regardless.



More Strontium Dogs now, as Mark Keenan and Scott Twells bring back the potato headed Spud Murphy, and yes, there is a chip pun included. In 'One Patoot, Two Patoot', we get a slightly muddled story of murder on a patoot farm. What's a patoot? Some sort of alien vegetable, and that's all you get from me. It's another strip that may have benefitted from an additional page to flech out a couple of things, but has a decent core story and nice art from Twells.



Matt Sharp returns for the last story, another Strontium Dogs tale 'What Goes Around', this time assisted by artist Matt Sandbrook. Their story of a couple of executions is a simple concept but one that's remarkably effective. The art is really good, although the main character could have been more distinctive, and there's very little not to enjoy here despite the pitch black story idea (or maybe because of it).



As ever, Dogbreath is certainly worth picking up if a little less structured than Zarjaz. The art throughout is worthy of attention and there's decent writing that may have flourished better in a couple of cases with an an extra page to play with (that could have been taken from' 'Weyland' tbh). Personally, I wanted another cool Johnny Alpha story, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment the stories included provide. 

It can be bought from the Futurequake website HERE

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

ZARJAZ ISSUE 34



Remember that little tingle excitement that you used to get when 2000AD would drop through the letterbox? Me, I don't get that tingle any more, although I still thoroughly enjoy the prog each week. The thing is, the tingle has returned (new Star Wars title? Return of The Tingle? Naaah...), and it's connected to the one and only ZARJAZ, the long running 2000AD fanzine. Each issue is guaranteed to feature original takes on classic characters and a few surprises on top, starting this issue with a cracking cover by 2000AD artist Neil Roberts as seen above.

The cover leads the reader into the opening story, a rare fanzine outing for everone's favourite grumpy Robo Hunter, Sam Slade. 'Guy, Robot' sees Sam, Hoagy and Stogie up against new robo hunting rival, a robot called Guy (hence the painful title pun). Alan Holloway's script captures the personalities of the main characters very well, as well as the humour of the original strip, whilst Denis Vermesse's art pushes Sam and co even more towards noire with great flair and detail. A solid story with a classic payoff, this should keep fans very happy.


Dredd crops up in two stories, namely 'Double or Nothing' and 'Iron Chief''. In the former, Mega City gamblers find something new to wager on - Judges, whilst the latter sees some criminal get more than they bargained for when they steal from Justice Department. Both stories are nice, neat one shots, with 'Double Or Nothing' being the more humerous. The art, from Jack Davies and Tom Bonin respectively, is of a good standard, suiting Mike Lynch and Santiago Mayaud's scripts down to the ground. Zarjaz always gives good Dredd, and these are no exception.


Perhaps the standout story in this issue is 'Harlem Heroes: Feat Of Clay', written and drawn by John Farrelly. Iit's a six part story to be serialized in Zarjaz, with the first two parts in this issue. The story is a prequel, concerning young John Clay, later to be known as Giant,  his introduction to Aeroball and his rough family life. As a Harlem Heroes (original series) fan I was looking forward to this and it doesn't disappoint in any way. As any good serial should, each part left me wanting to read the next one, and this is an instance where the long gap bewteen Zarjaz isssues is gonna grate. Great script, great art and a great contribution, this is going to be popular.


In a sideways move but a welcome one, there's also a text story in this issue, featuring Judge Anderson. I'm not generally a fan of text stories featuring comic strip characters but a good tale is a good tale, and Matt Sharp provides a rather decent, dark story here. Aided by some nice illustrations from Gail Nedry, 'Tom's Diner' breaks up the issue very well, adding a slab of minutes onto the reading time if savoured properly.



The surprise for issue 34 comes courtesy of Santiago Reyaud (who also writes a Dredd) and Barry Renshaw as they resurrect Night Zero, an android cab driver who does, um, stuff. Look, it was a long time ago and I barely remember it. Luckily, it's fully accessible to new readers (or forgetful ones), as we see the hero, Tanner, being drawn into  a crazy guy's murderous intentions because he's that sort of cabbie. The smart story with a little twist impresses, whilst the art is a little blocky but quite suits the story and clearly shows the action.

Another blast from the past is Bix Barton, still wibbling on about the rum and uncanny with the help of his cane, Michael. Mark Howard again brings us a tale of fourth wall breaking that will have readers scratching their heads and laughing out loud, also managing to bring back a character from 2000AD history that will delight ancient squaxx like me. Simon B Hayes' art is pretty decent all round and this strip is a nice sidestep overall.


Finally we get a two page Strontium Dog story from artist/writer Brian Corcoran, and it's a perfectly condensed tale that doesn't waste too much time bringing the reader to the end gag. The art really stands out as well, full of detail yet never overcrowding the panels. A perfect way to end the issue.

As usual, Zarjaz manages to throw everything it can at the reader without missing a beat. The return of old favourites plus those nearly forgotten makes it a heady mix of thrills that Tharg himself would be proud of. Long may it continue.

ZARJAZ Issue 34 can be bought from July 1st at: https://www.futurequake.co.uk/zarjaz/

Friday, 21 June 2019

ROY OF THE ROVERS: THE 50s - COLLECTED EDITION REVIEW



Goold old Roy! There's a phrase that you'll know very well if, like me, you followed the golden haired hotshot's adventures over the years. Publisher Rebellion have scored a credible brace by not only giving us new adventures (see my reviews elsewhere) but also chucking out some collections of Roy's earlier adventures, starting with the very genesis of the character in the 1950s.

Roy Of The Rovers was given the esteemed front (and back) cover spot in Tiger weekly ('The Sport & Adventure Picture Story Weekly'), a comic aimed at boys who wanted to read thrilling tales of heroism and footie. Debuting in September 1954, Roy was popular with readers, eventually getting his own comic, but that's for another day. Although created by Frank Pepper, he only wrote a handful of strips at the beginning, and the remainder of the 140 pages are supplied by UK comic legend Joe Colquhoun, for some reason supplying art and script as Stewart Colwyn. It has to be said that he does a fine job of making the reader want to find out what happens next after the two page weekly instalment, and he sets up many of the tropes that would roccur in the strip for the next few decades. Although the art is very of it's time, not like Joe's beautiful 70s work, it's decent enough with plenty of nice detail throughout as he gets into it.


Story wise, we follow Roy as he joins the legendary Melchester Rovers as a lad, going from the reserves into the first team through sheer talent and determination. We meet team mate Blackie Gray, who is a constant throughout the strip's history, and a few others readers from the 70s and 80s will recognise. Each instalment is two pages long, consisting of a colour front page and black & white rear page, never failing to whet the appetite for the next one. Naturally, much of it involves Roy battling nasty types trying to hinder his career and shining on the pitch, often scoring the traditional last-kick-of-the-game goal. My only rea gripe is a story is set up that culminates in a trip to South America with the team, but there's then three months of strips that are cut out, with a new thread starting when they return. I can only assume there was missing material, but it's vexing! I assume Roy gets kidnapped whilst abroad, as this happened quite regularly.


This is the first time I've had the chance to experience Roy's early days in print, and I thoroughly enjoyed it throughout. There's nothing big or clever about this type of strip, but if well done it's just a joy to read, with thrills and spills and plots that vary the sublime to the ridiculous. If, like me, you enjoyed Roy's later years in his own comic, then I can guarantee you'll enjoy this, and whilst you're at it buy Williams and Willsher's new Roy stuff for the grandkids.

 ROY OF THE ROVERS: BEST OF THE 50's IS RELEASED JULY 25TH BY REBELLION, WITH THE BEST OF THE 60's FOLLOWING 22ND AUGUST





Tuesday, 14 May 2019

SECTOR 13 ISSUE 5 (A 2000AD Fanzine)



The lastest issue of Belfast based fanzine Sector 13 certainly grabs the eye, with a superb Rogue Trooper (well, Venus Bluegenes anyway) cover made from live cosplay and digital tinkering. It's a cover that makes you want to see what's inside and so does it's job perfectly. Of course, regular readers will be wanting to take a look anyway, as Sector 13 is a high quality fanzine that has been getting better with each issue. It's A4 size with 42 thick, glossy pages and sumptuous colour, not your usual fanzine by a long shot.

Issue Five kicks off, as usual, with a Dreddworld photo story featuring the Sector 13 cosplayers, a motley crew of perps and ne'er do wells who meet up to get drunk and discuss knee pads. What they also do is star in very impressive photo strips that look great considering this is done on a budget. 'When I Lost Control' features the unexpected result of an EMP blast let off at Ed Norton Block by a known seditionist. It's a tight, interesting story with plenty of nice small touches, featuring character development for one of the strip's regular characters, Judge Knight.

'The Lament Of Gravlax' is next, and despite the title it's a rather silly four page humour story written and drawn by the very talented Cat Byrne. Basically, Aliens want to abduct some humans but because of all the PC nonsense on their planet they have to be subtle and kind about it, no 'zap bam boom' or death rays allowed! It's a wonderful antidote to the seriousness of the photo strip, and Byrne has a knack for humour that combines well with the colourful, cartoony vusials that jump off the page. Excellent work!

The third strip introduces the reader to a new title character, the excorcist Judge Whatley, who is not the barrel of laughs you might think. A demonic wossname is threatening the city and only Whatley and his apprentice West can stop it. A standard type of set up from writer Peter Duncan, but the devil is in the details, and this is an extremely good story that has a dark twist that left me hungering for the next issue. The black and white art, from Joseph V Parangue, is very impressive, reminding me quite a bit of 2000AD legend Boo Cook, and I can't wait to see more of his stuff.

The centre pages (and the next two!) are given over to a second Gronks story, following last issue's 'Legend Of Snarki'. 'The Gronk With No Name' is unconnected apart from the titular character's race, and we meet a Gronk who just isn't like the other Gronks, starting with the fact he's hanging out in a spaceport bar. Alan Holloway's script once again blends pathos with action and humour, while artist Ed Doyle (a known Gronkophile) delivers bright, colourful images that suit the story down to the ground. Your poor heartses will never be the same!

A short interlude, called 'Interlude' (ya see what they did?) is next, following on from the photo story as Judge McBride investigates a recent case converning Judge Knight. Donna Anita Black's Simon Harrison-esque visuals work very well with Peter Duncan's script, effectively filling out Knight's story a bit more, making you realize why he has become disillusioned with Justice Department.

We return to the darkness next, with another Excorcist Judge story, this time featuring Judge Merrin, sent to apply Judge boot to a demon's backside in 'The Terror Of Titus Tower'. Firstly, the strip looks great, with lovely clear black and white art from Morgan Brinksman. Secondly, it's another case of what is a standard set up being built on with clever twists and a satisfying pay off, so thumbs up for writer Mark Keenan as well. A great one off strip that made me think a bit more of what exactly is inside a cloned Judge.

Things get very silly for the next two pages, as Davy Francis' 'Revengers: Deadend' throws a few laughs around with a throwback to the likes of MAD magazine as some robot superheroes go nuts at a screening for the new Revengers movie. It's very daft but funny with it, but looks quite messy, like he sent the Editor a few pages out of an A4 notepad, with the result being we actually miss the final pay off line that is cut off by the page size. I'd have liked to see it redone on white pages, although it's still a good laugh with plenty of nice touches.

Finally, we return to the story of Judge Knight, and I can't go too deep into this without spoiling the ongoing plot. It does a decent job of setting up the next chapter in his story which I assume will continue next issue, and Sector 13 has to be appluded for this approach which has resulted in a magazine you have to take your time with to follow the story properly. Peter Duncan scipts again, and whilst I find Scott Twells' art a bit rough, it's rough in a McMahon sort of way, and fans of the old master should certainly appreciate it. Composition wise I've no conplaints, though, as it's all well handled and well told.

So that's Sector 13 issue 5. It's a ludicrously solid read, with thrills, humour and theological discussion. I genuinely think that several strips would be very at home if you found them in 2000AD itself, and as ever the photo strip is very well done. The fact that the story from it is continued throughout the mag is testament to the ambition of the people involved. Available through the post or at various conventions (such as Lawless May 18th in Bristol), it's well worth picking up.



Thursday, 11 April 2019

COR! & BUSTER HUMOUR SPECIAL


As someone who has entered their second half century, I'm well placed to remember British humour comics, having grown up with the likes of Monster Fun, Whoopee!, Whizzer  & Chips, Beezer, Krazy and many, many more. It seemed that every other month there'd be a new title unleashed as another was sucked into another comic to make room. The all conquering behemoth was Buster, which ran from1960 to 2000, swallowing up a multitude of other titles along the way. Headed up by Buster himself (originally billed as Andy Capp's son) it was a constant delight. One of the comics that ended up as part of Buster was Cor!, a similar title that launched in 1970 and ran for four years, and Rebellion have dug out characters from both (and more) to give today's kids a taste of some classic characters.

It all starts off extremely well with Sweeny Toddler getting a page to himself as "Sweeny's Soap Box", with a funny few lines to get you in the mood for his main strip on the following three pages. Writer and artist Tom Paterson dserves tons of credit for starting off this revival with as much talent as was ever seen in the original comics. It no doubt helps that he is an old hand, having drawn Sweeny before, as well as Grimly Feendish, Buster and more. The strip is genuinely funny for both kids and adults, with tons of visual gags squeezed in around the story of Sweeny going to nursery for the first time. I'd happpiy read a whole volume of this (there's one coming soon, readers!), and to say it's worth the entry fee alone isn't an exaggeration. Me like!



Monster Fun was one of my favourite comics, and when it merged with Buster I happily went with it. One of the strips was Kid Kong, unsurprisingly about an oversized gorilla who was definitely NOT King Kong's son, as that would get Universal's lawyers on the phone (but he was, really). Obsessed with bananas, he returns courtesy of scribe Alec Worley and artist Tiernon Trevasllion. The wonderfully banana-centric plot concerms Kid and Gran (who he lives with) going to Banana Con, the convention for banana lovers. Of course, Kid scarfs down too many "Dragon fire bananas stuffed with curried baked beans" and hilarity, as they say, ensues. It's a silly little tale, good fun and with a decent payoff line. Trevallion's art does a decent job and the script is light and fun.

Another old favourite is Faceache, who started off life in Jet from 1970, a creation of comics legend Ken Reid. He is a bit of a twatty little boy who can change his face into almost anything, often accompanied by the classic "Scrunge" sound effect (a bunch of the single page originals have been collected in a rather spiffy book that is highly reccommended). This time round he's had a bit of a makeover as Steve Mannion has given him a non-scrunged face that looks as grotesque as some of his monster faces. He's been teamed up with another Ken Reid creation (from Monster Fun), Martha's Monster Make Up, featuring a girl called Martha who has make up that turns anything it touches into a monster (well, duh!). Writer Ned Hartley delivers a neat little two pager that Mannion's art compliments nicely, and it should certainly get a chuckle or two out of the readers.



Yet another Monster Fun title (Hmmm... maybe this should have been the Buster and Monster Fun Humour Special) is Gums, who is a great white shark that needs false teeth. His nemesis Bluey, a surfer dude, keeps stealing them so as to render the shark harmless. That was the plot, every week, and so help me it was always fun so what the heck. Lizzie Boyle and Abigail Bulmer tackle this one, with Bulmer providing clear art that would be quite at home in The Beano. The script is pretty run of the mill but does a good job of retaining the original's humour with a totally up to date plot.

The first duffer comes in the form of a two pager featuring X-Ray Specs, in which a kid called Ray has glasses that allow him to see through stuff. It was always a bit of a naff strip when it was in (where else) Monster Fun, and things haven't improved much as Ray goes afer his Dad's wedding ring that falls down the plughole (really?). Sammy Boras' art is decent enough, with large, clear images, but Grainne McEntee's script is not big or clever or even funny.

I have to confess that I don't remember the next strip, a Buster original (I think) called Deadly Hedly, about a vampire detective. I was encouraged by the art fron Neil Googe, who provides the brilliant visuals for 2000AD caper Survival Geeks, and so approached it with good humour. With references to the fact the strip has been mothballed for a fair number of years and an opening exchange worthy of Morecombe and Wise, it's clear Paul Goodenough had his tongue in cheek when writing this, realising it would be read by old buggers as well as kids. It doesn't really go anywhere in it's two pages but is simple fun and full of (after)life.

There's 2 pages of child friendly puzzles next, after which comes a fruity foursome consisting or Ivor Lott and Tony Broke along with their female counterparts Milly O'naire and Penny Less. As you can probably guess, oen of each pair is poor, with the other rich (and a total twat). Ivor and Tony are the first characters here to orginate in Cor!, whilst the other two came from Jackpot, launched later in 1979 but not averse to a bit of recycling. 2000AD editor Matt Smith provides the story, whilst Tanya Roberts does a decent job, even if the lines are a little thick and the colours (in my download preview, anyway) too muted. It's... well, it's an okay strip but it never takes off or does anything too fun, and the end is just daft rather than fun daft,

Things get interesting now, with a three page look at some of the classic titles of yesteryear that is followed by a strip called "Who's In Charge" that brings together a multitude of characters that have just been discussed (pay attention, children!) as they argue about who should edit a new comic. It's only three pages but John Freeman's fun script is enlivened by Lew Stringer'senergy filled artwork. It points to a new comic being released at some point in the future, and I hope it's not just for the strip's plot, as it would be great to see a 'proper' comic joining The Beano and The Phoenix that concentrates on characters not free gifts.



Out of the pages of Krazy (and later Whizzer & Chips) comes Hit Kid, in which a trenchcoated kid gets revenge for children who have been wronged by bullies, parents, miserable adults etc. In a nice twist, Hit Kid has quit, with bullies running rampant, but his son appears to take over the mantle and deliver justice wherever needed. A snappy script from Robin Etherington keeps the fun coming and really works well with David Follett's art. Although only two pages, it introduces the character perfectly, gives him something to do and even gives a little giggle at the end. Ivor Lott and pals should have been this good.

One of the more unusual Buster merges was when it swallowed Oink! comic in 1988. Oink! was a pig based, rude humoured comic that did a good job of being funny to kids and adults alike, eventually finding itself condemned for being a bit too adult for it's own good. Although not an Oink! strip, "Swines Of Anarchy" is Oink! in everything but name. Very respected comic artist Pye Parr does an excellent job on The Feek's story of a pig biker gang at war with a monkey biker gang. It's lots of fun with a couple of bits that kids will snort at as intended. Definitely brings home the bacon, this one.

A veteran of several different titles (and yes, including Monster Fun), Frankie Stein is a bumbling monster forever getting on the tits of hs 'Dad', the scientist who created him. As usual, the poor Professor is being eaten out of castle and home by greedy Frankie and so invents a growth ray, like you would, to make all their vegetables bigger. Naturally, everything goes all Pete Tong, with Cavan Scott's script keeping things barrelling along in a silly way that's still bettter than Von Hoffman's Invasion (an old boys comic strip with stuff growing big). Speaking of Hoffman, Mike Hoffman's art works very well here, although the pastel colours do seem a bit soft.

Another lesser known character is Disappering Trix, a girl who turns invisible when she blinks. In the two page strip by Karl Stock and Andy Clift she helps the town sort out an invisible monster, though why only she can do it is very unclear. There's a couple of decent gags about the readers imagining the action (because it's an invisible monster), but overall Trix should have stayed disappeared.

There's a nice two pages of horoscopes next, featuring lovely Ken Reid creations with a silly rhyme each,  strangely called star signs when Horror-Scopes was begging to be used. After this it all goes a bit odd, as Fuss Pot meets Captain Crucial in the weidest match up of the comic. Fuss Pot is, well, a very fussy girl who originated in the 1970s, whereas Captain Cricial is a cool superhero from mid 90s Buster. It's a pretty mental two pager that certainly crams alot in and is lots of fun to boot. Full marks to Lee Langford and Edward Whatley for managing to make this work.

Hire A Horror comes next, a strip that never survived the merger between Cor! and Buster. In it, people can hire a horror (these literal titles, eh readers?), at which point things predictably do not go as planned. In the new strip, penned by The Feek (nope, no idea), a man wants to stop the heavy metal band next door keeping him awake. A simple set up that gives plenty of room for big, colourful fun (provided by artist Mick Cassidy)

After a new Creepy Creation from Brett Parson, we come to the final strip. This chap is the oldest of the bunch (apart from Buster himself), first appearing in an issue of Wham! in 1964, as the nemesis of Eagle Eye, Junior Spy. Yes, it's the lovable bad guy (and obvious basis for Groo in Despicable Me) Grimly Feendish. Another slice of genius by Leo Baxendale, Grimly is brought to delicious life by Sweeny Toddler artist Tom Paterson, and he again does a masterful job on the single page story. Ned Hartley matches him with a neat script, and to be honest it's the perfect way to finish this trip down memory lane.

If you've got kids, then buy them this as it's full of funny, silly, inventive strips featuring characters who still deserve to be loved today. If you're just an old fart who used to buy these comics in your misspent youth then buy it anyway, as there's enough genuinely funny stuff to go along with the nostalgia.  Everyone wins here, and if you don't like it just hire a horror to go and bust up Rebellion HQ. Sorted.



Tuesday, 26 March 2019

"FRAN OF THE FLOODS" GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW



It's time to delve into the Treasury Of British Comics again, as publishers Rebellion trawl British girls' comics of the 1970s to unearth hidden gems that only our big sisters will remember. Appearing in the disarmingly named Jinty throughout the most of 1976, Fran Of the Floods manages to warn people about the dangers of global warming before it was even a thing. Thank writer Alan Davidson ('Little Miss Nothing', 'The Valley Of Shining Mist') for that.


The floods in question aren't just a case of people canoeing down the high street for a few days. Fran lives in Hazelford, not taking much notice of the dire warnings of excess rain coming from further down south. Instead of preparing for a national emergency life goes on as normal, with a school concert and squabbles with her sister, until the rains come and refuse to go away. Even though they are on relatively high ground, Hazelford is soon submerged, and Fran is separated from her family, trying to survive as best she can.

 


She sets out on a quest to get to Scotland, where she hopes to find both her family and higher ground, and it's this quest that provides the bulk of the story as she runs into groups of survivors both good and bad and is reunited with a school friend, Jill, bringing conversation and shared peril into the narrative. Phil Gascoine brings the scripts to life very well, with a style that is pretty standard for the time but nonetheless clear and highly readable.



'Fran Of The Floods' has it's flaws, like the world's stupidest doctor, but it's a surprisingly robust series with a sound basis for the frak weather that has stood the test of time. It's neither a girls or boys strip in the end, just a story that happens to have a girl as the main protagonist. A fascinating piece of comics history that has certainly earned it's right to be reproduced today.

BUY DIRECT FROM REBELLION