Want a funny book to read? (Well, funny in a twisted Boys’ Own way?) Look no further, comrades! This is the business, but like all things funny, you need to pick up the references otherwise the jokes may not work as well. What am I on about?
This is a graphic novel which is a mixture of classic SF from the ’50s, steampunk, Biggles, Hornblower and Ripping Yarns. How does it work? Brilliantly. It is billed as “Scientific Adventure Violence For Young Men & Literate Women”. Vol. 127, if you please. The world is populated not just by humans but also by Venusians, Martians, moon creatures, bug-eyed monsters and more. Lord Cockswain travels around the various planets and such, easily blasting the disgusting aliens with his rayguns and other weaponry. Every few pages, there is a brief comic strip-style story, interspersed with dialogue along the lines of “You bounder” and “I taught the first moon man that I encountered a little Earth culture in the form of some Marquess de Queensberry” (which accompanies a lovely frame of Cockswain punching the alien in the face!). These are classic tales from times when boys wanted to be men, join the armed forces and serve their country, fighting nasty beasties with wither sharp blades or devices which make loud noises and explode.
Other bonuses include posters urging men to join up and “Stride to Victory, good man”, a bestiary with illustrations of the wildlife of Venus (one of which as an anatomy as if “someone got blind drunk and sewed a big bag of genitals together while getting punched in the face”!), adverts for ray guns, articles on tanks (“grinding ever forward like a massive grindy thing that likes going forward”!) and robots, and more. All illustrated by Broadmore with a rich palette of browns, reds, greens and yellows. The copy I bought has very thick card-like pages in its hardback cover; I just hope it lasts the distance as I will certainly be putting into more than a few peoples’ hands.
Author website has a lot of other info on his works, role in New Zealand’s Weta Workshop and more.
I shall leave you with the text from the last frame of one of the stories…Pure genius…
Another tremondous success! My guide had disappeared into the wild like an enigmatic blue badger and I never did see him again. Suitably mysterious. However, I was home in time for buttered scones, so that was nice.”
How could you not love it!