Wallace & Gromit : The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Vol 2 by Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybird

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Wallace & Gromit : The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Vol 2 by Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybird

Category: Humour
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Being the second volume in the self-explanatory series, with just as much cheese as the first – in all regards.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 136 Date: November 2014
Publisher: Titan Books
ISBN: 9781782760825

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For me there are two important areas of the cover of this book where three letters are arranged in meaningful ways. The first is with the S-U-N in their obligatory red and white font. No minor paper could hold Wallace and Gromit, their adventures have to be in what is (unfortunately) the most widely read tabloid in the country. And elsewhere is C-B-E, suggesting that even the storytellers at Aardman Animations who are not household names are feted and revered as artistic experts, raising many laughs and much money for the country courtesy of their creative output. Together these short collections of letters show just how much WaG are major creations, and if the proof was needed this much longer collection of their daily comic strips provides it in spades.

Everything that applied to first time round applies here too. The strips in three or four panels each day are jam-packed with quips and punning, to the extent it's better to ration the contents for fear of being overwhelmed by bad jokes. The ration when they were first seen, however, is far too limiting, and is shown by the yellow caption boxes that appeared five days each week to recap the story. Take these away and the craft of the real strips are allowed to flow – even if they do stick very much in the mainstream, and to a rigid routine as well.

Only towards the end of this book do the creators run out of/give up on/move on from (delete as applicable) wacky numbered names for the creations Wallace comes up with. Before then we have the Lazy Reader 3000 for helping him get up to speed with the local book group, the Cater-Maker 3000 for feeding the masses at a garden party, and the Washinator 600 for, er, washing. (Obviously that only needed 599 prototypes.) The weeks pretty much follow the same routine – our heroes see the problem, something gets invented, it seems to work, then fails, so is used for something else. If not that then Wallace comes up with a disastrous business idea, and the routine is followed right to the typical mass refund over the last few panels.

Such repetitive nature does mean the team behind the strips needed to have worked well to make them all distinctive, and pretty much they do. There are still some surprises – if not from the inventions and all the weird and wacky scenarios that cause them then from the corniness of the punning. And like I say, there is an inevitable familiarity with these works – WaG had to have a huge built-in audience for them to get in The Sun in the first place, and now they and their makers are national institutions they can't divert too far from the expected or be too, er, inventive. That said, they do get puns about Dostoevsky into the tabloids, which is no bad thing whatsoever. The reader may have to take away some of the feeling of been-here,-seen-that that the cartoons have in order to thoroughly love this book, but generally it serves its purpose superbly well. Unlike almost all the ideas contained herein.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

For a further quintessentially English dose of humorous life you would enjoy Outraged of Tunbridge Wells: Original Complaints from Middle England by Nigel Cawthorne.

Buy Wallace & Gromit : The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Vol 2 by Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybird at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wallace & Gromit : The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Vol 2 by Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybird at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Wallace & Gromit : The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Vol 2 by Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybird at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wallace & Gromit : The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Vol 2 by Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybird at Amazon.com.


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