Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Big Viz Book of Adventure

This book is brilliant. It collects scores of the excellent adventure comic parodies that have appeared in Viz comic over the years illustrated by Simon Ecob. Presented in a chunky softback format of 224 pages, it includes delights such as Jason and the Lagernauts, Jimbo Jumbo's Robo Jobos, Topless Skateboard Nun, Sherlock Homeless, Ted Rogers in the 25th Century, Roy of Crescent Mews, and of course many of the regular Jack Black strips. (No relation to that actor.) 

There are also several features spoofing the sort of thing that appeared in Look and Learn and World of Wonder. Here you'll find the history of The Breville Sandwich Toaster, How A Lesbian Works, and many other fascinating made-up facts. 

Simon Ecob really doesn't get enough recognition in the comics industry. His work is absolutely fantastic and wonderfully drawn. Anyone who dismisses Viz as 'badly drawn' really needs to take a look at Ecob's work to disprove that myth. He's been producing detailed, top notch artwork for years for the comic and it's great to see his strips collected at last. 

The stories are written by Graham Dury and Simon Thorp but Simon Ecob is the perfect choice to illustrate them. His style is evocative of that traditional DC Thomson/early Fleetway adventure comic look but it also has an irreverent edge to it that's ideal for these deadpan comedy spoofs. 

There are also a few strips by other Viz artists in the book, including The Q-Shoes and Barry the Cat by Simon Thorp (who also did the cover). Another superb artist. 

The Big Viz Book of Adventure has a RRP of £10.99, which is a bargain in itself but you may find it cheaper online. (Not for sale to children, or adults who can't cope with sweary bits and drawings of bare bosoms.)


Also available now is the latest issue of Viz which is the Christmas edition. 52 pages plus a pull out Sexist Calendar of Records. Again, the myth of Viz containing substandard artwork is shattered with contributions by Simon Thorp, Davey Jones, Paul Palmer, Lee Healey, Tom Paterson and more. (This is the first time I haven't contributed to a Christmas Viz in years but I hope to return to the comic in 2015.) Out now on the top shelves of many fine establishments for only £3.20. 


James Spiring said...

That yellow spot colour on the barbershop panel reminds me of old Beano and Dandy annuals. And the design of the Q-Boots team is absolutely spot on, they look almost exactly like the strip it's parodying, the Q-Bikes, though without the bikes obviously. That drill also reminds me of the Black Sapper.

As for Viz being badly drawn, I don't know where people get that idea from. Haven't a number of it's artists also worked on Thomson or Fleetway titles (yourself included, obviously)? I can understand people criticising the humour style (which I suppose is a bit like Marmite, some love it, some hate it) - but there's definitely nothing wrong with the artwork.

Lew Stringer said...

Exactly. The humour is an acquired taste but the art is great. I think the impression that it's poorly drawn came from the very early issues which were crudely drawn in places (but even that was part of its appeal). I'd suggest that anyone who still thinks it's inferior needs to take a look at current issues. It's had a high standard of artwork for many years.

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