Graphic Novel Review


(2007) Leah Moore, John Reppion, Shane Oakley And George Freeman, Titan Books, 9.99, trdpbk, 176pp, ISBN 1-84576-351-3

This is 'plotted' by Alan Moore, but since the plot pretty much consists of "All the old British weekly comics' heroes have been locked up, someone ought to set them free", then that is not saying much. Still, hard for the offspring to go wrong... I don't mean that to sound as dismissive as it does, but I have heard many grumblings around that this is pretty lame stuff for all the hype. But maybe that is a leftover from the erratic release of the individual issues (of which there were six) when this originally came out? Who knows, but even Neil Gaiman was bussed in for an introduction for the sake of putting another 'big name' on the cover. Neil just runs through a potted personal history of reading these comics when he was a kid, and names Wham!, Pow!, Fantastic!, Terrific! and Lion, Valiant, Vulcan and Hotspur as among his reading material. Yeah, me too. I doubt modern kids have got a clue and I suspect that the bonus reprints of the old strips in the back of this volume will just have them scratching their heads. But what the matter, this is clearly designed for thirty-to-fifty somethings, and nothing wrong with that!

The script by Moore L. and Reppion is competent, but nothing to write home about, but the art is quite enjoyable, if somewhat reminiscent of Frusin. I liked spotting the background details (but doubt I got all of them, my comics budget as a kid being limited) and it was fun to stumble across Robot Archie and the Spider again, along with all the others weirdos, oddities and eccentrics that populated British comics (we never really did super-heroes as such, just 'outsiders'). It is hard to know whether to actually recommend this or not... It will satisfy a certain type (and age) of person if they are in the right mood, but as 'a piece of comics work' it really is a bit lame, just as the grumblings would have it. Guess you'll have to make your own minds up...

Tony Chester

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