Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Finally got round to seeing the Armando Iannucci-narrated BBC4 documentary "The Fun Factory" as part of their Comic Britainica strand.
Although there were a few niggling cliches of documentaries on comics, flippant title credits, e.g. Paul Gravett, referred to as a "Comics Brainaic", it was a genuine joy to find out more about artists like Ken Reid. Along with Leo Baxendale, he did provide a strange almost unsettling edge to occasionally twee British comics which I caught the tail-end of while growing up with "Sweeney Toddler" and "Calamity James". I suppose the U.S. precedent to a lot these artists' styles was Basil Wolverton, but they all share a seething madness breaking through the weekly grind of sometimes generic repeated storylines. There was a continuity between the crazier Baxendale strips and Oink and Viz. It was also interesting the way stuff like Baxendale's Thrpp! could fit effortlessly in with the anthology boom of more adult title in the early 1990s, Jimmny's personal peak of obsessive comic collecting where a cold sweat would ensue if McCawley's newsagent in Cootehill hadn't kept my reserved copies of 2000ad and Overkill.
Extensive coverage at the Forbidden Planet Blog here.
Next Up is Jonathan Ross in search of Steve Ditko.