Wallace and Gromit - The Complete Newspaper Strips - Volume 1 by Nick Park
|Wallace and Gromit - The Complete Newspaper Strips - Volume 1 by Nick Park|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Better late than never, as these strips bring the horrendous punning of the newspaper cartoons to lovely, full hardback status.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 136||Date: October 2013|
One man and his dog never had such a famous theme tune. One Man and His Dog had a piddly little melody, but the triumphal, old-fashioned and charming parp of the theme tune to Wallace and Gromit has resounded out for decades now. While Aardman moved away from the near-silent classic animations the series first gave us, the plasticine creations mutated into incredibly popular characters, which included a daily strip in the nation's biggest-selling tabloid. Here is the first lump of them, 312 daily doses of tomfoolery, collected for everyone to enjoy. Even if you thought the franchise had travelled its course a long time ago…
312, if you add 52 Sundays, and Christmas and New Year, gives you a full year's dose. That might be a good or a bad thing, because these were designed to be immediate and immediately funny. Every day's panels – whether it was three, four or five – were designed to be a dollop of punnery, with each week (bar some daily filler funnies here and there) a self-contained story. Taking them in the form of a large hardback might well be an overdose to some, however, and I can see the full-on bad cheesy comedy might be too much for some.
I certainly engaged with the humour, groaning away just as I was supposed to. Taking the book as a whole adds things – the recurring characters on West Wallaby Street – and takes things away – the slight repetition of some jokes, the major repetition of Wallace inventing something which goes wrong yet gets put to a different practical use in an unexpected way. You might as well find a happy ground and ration the contents here.
As for the quality of those contents, well, it's worth seeing them in relation to the filmed versions. And those are classics, with far too much attention to detail, and never a throwaway note. These go some way to mimic that, with digital backgrounds, a lovely eye to framing the characters and the action, and a love for the look and feel of the original. Yes, the captions and the wise-cracking puns give a different flavour to proceedings, but there never would be space here for silent, dramatic chases or for Gromit to get centre-stage and take over. The only silent bits are some large bonus photos of our heroes. So while these are a different beast, perhaps, they still have the unmistakable hallmark of Wallace and Gromit. We may never see more of their adventures on our screens, but heck, a second generation will be enjoying them right about now, and these pages are certainly enjoyable too. If, perhaps, just a few at a time.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Our heroes last crossed our paths here at The Bookbag with this.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wallace and Gromit - The Complete Newspaper Strips - Volume 1 by Nick Park at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Wallace and Gromit - The Complete Newspaper Strips - Volume 1 by Nick Park at Amazon.com.
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