Thursday, 20 November 2014
#41: IN SICKNESS AND IN BELCH
Finally moved into the new home and got my Mac all set back up again, so a little late but here's our Health and Sickness issue (similar to #19's so another reuse of a previous subject), complete with Burp's all-over-the-body workout, inside and out! Seeing Banx's artwork on the cover again is of course extra special since his was the first I ever saw as a child, having created the cover for my inaugural issue, #14. This issue comes to the blog now in the same week Jeremy has also announced a range of new merchandise based around his seminal character, but more on that soon, right here.
For now, if you've already scrolled down to see what has been included this time around you may have been left feeling this post is a little sparse on the strips front. Well, you'd be both right and wrong. Yes, less strips have been picked out of this issue, but as you can see three are double-page spreads so there's still plenty of pages included. But the real reason is to do with what makes up the middle eight pages of this very issue.
It's not that this edition has less possible highlights than previous issues, not by a long shot, but as mentioned in the last issue's post there's a whole mini-comic dedicated to Pete and his Pimple nestled right inside the middle pages. This'll be winging its way to you in just a few days, every single page, so once we take that into account I kind of had to reel myself in with the rest of the issue to balance things out. As much as I want to, I can't be scanning in whole issues!
It may have been a while since we had an Uncle Pigg strip to open the issue, but in this instance Mr. Big Nose and The Torture Twins make a welcome change and then sitting on page 3 is the latest instalment of Baby Vile's introduction to the world in The Sekret Diary ov Hadrian Vile Aged 8 5/8 (years) written by Mark Rodgers and drawn by the only man there could be for the job, Ian Jackson:
Ok so I have to ask, as much as I laughed at its seemingly random inclusion, what on earth is "Ratbay!"? Growing up in a sleepy little seaside town in Northern Ireland have I missed out on a Manchurian expression I'd have happily used to its fullest as a kid?
I really like the story above, as it rings true in so many ways, just think about the things that babies eat! Nice to see that innocent-looking baby from our Happy Families issue now outdoing Hadrian in his usual territory of disgustingly gruesome behaviour. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the next year pans out for them now. It's certainly off to a very interesting (and entertaining) start!
Sometimes I'm surprised at how often I include some characters. It's not deliberate, I take each issue as a separate entity. But I'm quite shocked at how little I've featured the following young lad. Again, hasn't been deliberate, and sometimes it's definitely been an extremely hard decision to not to, but Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins last featured in strip form in the blog way back in #7 unbelievably! He's been on a poster in #13's post and was the star of the cover of #21's Valentine's special, but it's about time he appeared again in strip form:
Part of the reason why he hasn't been included much recently is simply down to the fact Tony Husband's creation is usually written in a long serial format, with each story lasting a large number of issues, keeping us smiling for months on end. Making the length of The Spectacles of Doom epic seem minuscule by comparison it just wasn't possible to include every part and individual issues wouldn't make much sense if included on their own.
It was a delight to finally have one I could include! Yes it's part of a larger tale of Horace playing for his dream football team but it works brilliantly on its own. Tony's style works perfectly with the slapstick routine above, and on the printed page it feels like Tony himself has come along and drawn on your very own comic, just for you. It's hard to explain unless you have the comic in your hands though so you'll just have to go with me on that one.
Or go buy it on eBay.
Speaking of Tony's other writing for this issue, Spectacles hits its penultimate part this issue and it even has time to bring in a refreshing mud bath, as ever from the pen of immensely talented Andy Roper, and so it ends up sitting rather nicely inside this themed issue:
So many nice little details as per usual (check out the monocled skull on the battered flags there) but just wait till you see the next issue! Five whole pages of Endor and his climactic battle and that superb artwork has to be seen to be believed! It's a belter alright and if I was to include nothing else you wouldn't feel short-changed - it's THAT good!
After being the cover star, and with me having a soft spot for him as it is, Burp's entry this time round was a must for the blog.
It's a delightfully written and atmospheric two-page tale of our smelly friend taking a well earned break in a way only he could. Jeremy Banx does it yet again (how does he keep coming up with this stuff?!) and the ending feels like a little of that Mr. Big Nose surrealism has sneaked in. All for the better of course. To try to talk about this next strip is nonsensical as it's one of those that just speaks for itself and needs to be read:
To prove my point, now go and try to explain this strip to someone else who hasn't read it. Try and explain it's humour, its scene-setting and why it's so good. Impossible, right? Perfect.
I'd go as far as to say, as a Burp fan, that's my favourite so far.
Ok, so what else is there in this issue if you wish to catch up on it by purchasing it? Frank Sidebottom explains how to keep fit and healthy through tea drinking, we get the first fact-file on the members of The Slugs, we visit the GBH Health Farm via Vaughan Brunt and Ian Knox and Uncle Pigg strips off in a half-page Newsflash to tell us for the first time Oink! will be going weekly from the new year! Oh the joy that brought as a child! But more on that soon...
Now to finish off the very welcome return at last for Oink!'s infamous WHSmith-troubling duo, Janice and John. If you're new to the blog start back in #7, then use their tag on the left here (under Stuff in the Sty) to follow the story of what happened next. As you'll have seen on the side panel of that tale the next part in Uncle Pigg's Reading Course was to be Janice and John and the Thermonuclear Reactor. Well, never one to break a promise, our illustrious editor has finally come good only thirty four issues later with the aid, again, of Tom Johnson:
Now either that 'Next Lesson' line last time was just a joke but then they went ahead with it all this time later as a joke in itself (who could resist bringing them back after the reaction to their first story!), or they'd planned it and possibly finished it, but held it back for obvious reasons.
Either way, the ante has been upped again and I won't be the only one looking forward to that next lesson!
So there we are, a whirlwind guide to #41 and there's more to come. Much more in fact. Above you've enjoyed eight pages of strips. Now imagine that exact same amount but dedicated to one of the comic's most fondly remembered characters and his giant pimple. Then come back this Sunday where you won't have to imagine it any longer!
That's the Pete and his Pimple Oink! Mini Comic this Sunday 23rd November, with the next full issue (with that superb Michael Jackson cover no pig pal will have been able to forget) on sale right here on Friday 28th.
See you then!