The Bojeffries Saga by Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse
|The Bojeffries Saga by Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: An unexpected delight - the scabrous sense of humour in these cartoons is not what one might expect from such a creator.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: May 2014|
|Publisher: Knockabout Books|
A very truncated history of comics will start with the idea that they should be funny strips – one jape then you're out; then that they should have more – perhaps a superhero; then that you can have so much more than just a superhero – witness the works of Alan Moore. But you mustn't be too surprised to see the whole thing come around in a full cycle. Because Alan Moore has, with this volume, concluded his own funny strip japery, and whatever history or greater opinions about the canon of comix might say, it's just about his best ever book.
The Bojeffries family must be one of the most unusual imaginable, and that's saying much in the world of sequential art. Over the years since they first appeared we've learnt more about them – it was only late on that we discovered that the baby in the basement was extremely radioactive, and only really with the new story do we learn all their names. One is a lethal werewolf who can't keep track of new moon, another a vampire who doesn't get on well with modern life. The daughter of the household is a vengeful harridan of a behemoth, so overt about the sex appeal only she thinks she has it's unreal (imagine Ann Widdecombe injected with TOWIE girl DNA). And then there's the scion of the family, who's only safe in the greenhouse in the back garden (that might actually be in the attic).
As such it's a hellish household, one where visiting rent collectors don't stand a chance. Pity the company who invite a Bojeffries family member to its firm dinner. But reading about them – which includes seeing a host of visual jokes – is much more delightful. There are copious real, resounding laughs to be had on these pages, and great invention as regards format. The only colour (apart from the language, that is) comes from an old-fashioned selection of annotated holiday images, there is a great Christmas episode, and even a sung one. Who needs Buffy?
The diversity is not just in form, but also in derivation. One piece seems to have been US-only, and while that might well have been collected in the UK before now, the latest work, a 24-page exclusive, certainly hasn't. It shows that even over the years Moore lost nothing when it came to the hard-hitting punchline, showing up British culture and attitudes in a distinctively British way.
For me, the digital effects and increase in shading make the new work stand out a little too much compared to the others, but that's a petty quibble. The character is in each person and in the strip as a whole, and the inkwork is of a great standard. I can only assume Moore provided his usual, overly-verbose script for his artist, for the in-jokes, snide opinion of modern life and inventive displaying of rudeness suggest a typically laboured, detailed instruction from the author. But then again, perhaps not – perhaps Moore could feel his own feet kick back in carefree leisure at the great levity and humour of these pieces? If so it's an emotion the reader is bound to share.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
You can see where this fits into the grander scheme of things in Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore by Lance Parkin, which is a great biography. The Weirdo Years 1981-'91 by R Crumb is a further collection of hard-hitting looks at oddball lives.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bojeffries Saga by Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bojeffries Saga by Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse at Amazon.com.
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