Monday, June 09, 2014

Those brilliant Bojeffries


I've always liked the work of Alan Moore, right back to when I read his Roscoe Moscow strips in Sounds (surely in need of being collected into book form) and his early Future Shocks. His V for Vendetta (with David Lloyd) and Watchmen (with Dave Gibbons) are of course rightly recognised as major graphic novels (or "big comics" as Alan less pretentiously called them), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (with Kev O'Neill) is always a must-buy for me. 

On a personal level, I knew him quite well 30 years ago, considering him a friend, and he was very supportive and encouraging of people starting out in comics, including myself which helped my confidence considerably. I've since lost touch with him but I always keep an eye on what new work he has coming up.

There are books by Alan Moore that I still haven't read (Promethea and Lost Girls for example) and may get around to it one day, but one recent collection was an essential purchase for me: The Bojeffries Saga.

The Bojeffries Saga originally ran in Warrior comic in the 1980s and is an excellent comedy-horror in the vein of Ken Reid's Frankie Stein and the work of Charles Addams. The illustrator, Steve Parkhouse, is the perfect artist for the strip, exactly capturing (and embellishing) the British working class setting of the series. There's a deliberate feel of late fifties / early sixties British cinema and comics about it, like a mash up of Leo Baxendale's Bash Street Kids and (amongst others) the movies Billy Liar and A Taste of Honey.

Don't be thinking that The Bojeffries Saga is just a nostalgia-fest for people around 60 years old though. Its comedy and high standard of art should appeal to adults of all ages, and has some genuinely funny laugh-out-loud moments. This is one quality book. As well as collecting all the Bojeffries strips to date, it also includes a brand new 24 page story by Moore and Parkhouse to bring us up to date with the characters.

Jointly published in the UK by Knockabout at £9.99 and in the USA by Top Shelf for $14.95 this 96 page softback is excellent value for money and deserves a place on your bookshelf. 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/THE-BOJEFFRIES-SAGA-by-Alan-Moore-and-Steve-Parkhouse-/201048399905?pt=UK_Books_Comics_Magazines_US_Comics_ET&hash=item2ecf6b2021

7 comments:

Phil Rushton said...

That's a definite 'must buy' for me! I don't remember seeing 'Our Factory Fortnight' before but I love its 1950s 'Dandy Annual' look.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, quite a few pages were new to me as I was only familiar with the strips from Warrior.

Name with held said...

I've never taken to Moore. He made comics too political and too dark. Superheroes were clean escapist FUN until he got his way. Rape, childbirth, porn, extreme violence, NO WAY should be in comic books. Even this so called comedy looks dark.

Lew Stringer said...

Writers such as Steve Englehart and Denny O'Neil were putting politics into comics long before Alan.

By the way, I don't think that childbirth should be lumped in with rape, porn and violence. However, all have their place in adult literature if used sensitively. Bear in mind that Alan Moore did not intend to set a template for lesser writers to follow, so he can't be blamed if superhero comics went down that route. Watchmen for example was intended as a stand alone book, not a 'how to' guide for the American comics industry. When Alan saw that was the way things were heading he tried to lighten comics up with Tom Strong, but the superhero comics industry has continued along that grim, darker route unfortunately.

You should give Bojeffries a try. It's a lot of laughs.

ChanneZeroX said...

There are surely more comic books of all 'grades' than any one person could ever read, from stark bright happy-go-lucky to black hole singularity dark. Whatever mows your lawn.

Even if most superhero comics are widely grim in many respects since the 80s (perhaps in an attempt to fill the yawning spiritual void many might feel in their lives since the collapse of idealist 60s counterculture), there's no shortage of frothy fun to be had with our underoo-befuddled pals- if we have a bit of patience to look.

Hell, they're even making a Bananaman movie now- it could bode the return of a kinder era of hypertrophied heroism altogether... (all the Blimey readers begin in union "it could bode-")

Stranger things have happened- this year alone.

ChanneZeroX said...

There are surely more comic books of all 'grades' than any one person could ever read, from stark bright happy-go-lucky to black hole singularity dark. Whatever mows your lawn.

Even if most superhero comics are widely grim in many respects since the 80s (perhaps in an attempt to fill the yawning spiritual void many might feel in their lives since the collapse of idealist 60s counterculture), there's no shortage of frothy fun to be had with our underoo-befuddled pals- if we have a bit of patience to look.

Hell, they're even making a Bananaman movie now- it could bode the return of a kinder era of hypertrophied heroism altogether... (all the Blimey readers begin in union "it could bode-")

Stranger things have happened- this year alone.

Lew Stringer said...

I'm sure you're right, CZX, and I still buy a few superhero comics I enjoy.

I like some of the grittiness of modern comics. I enjoyed the Forever Evil mini-series for example, even though I didn't expect to. I really like the new version of Ghost Rider, particularly Trad Moore's artwork. Moderation is the key I think. It's nice to have a change of pace and read some Superman strips from 1958 as well, for balance.

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