Thursday, July 16, 2020

Warrior: Har! It the way I tell 'em!

Alan Moore's comedy comics have always been incredibly under-rated, and always seen as a footnote to the serious comics about realistic superheroes, swamp monsters and Jack The Ripper, but nonsense like The Bojeffries Saga can still stand up a lot stronger than some of that grave and weighty work.

The Bojeffries Saga appeared a dozen issues into Warrior, smashing the eternal melodrama of 'it's grim up north' into fantastical horror, less magic realism and more kitchen sink weird tales. A household of werewolves, vampires and various other monsters facing off against real modern horrors, like paying the rent and going to a work dinner.

And like all the Warrior strips, it had exactly the right artist - Steve Parkhouse had earlier had a sharper, more detailed line, but that flamed out with mystical combat series The Spiral Path, and his Bojeffries comics have always had a scratchier and more goofy quality to them. Parkhouse was able to let loose on this strange terrace house with its garden that exists in two places at once, and the Grandfather in the Shed who has become a bit too hyper-evolved..

The comedy means the story has dated a little better than many of its contemporaries - the jokes might be old, but they're still funny if you're seeing them for the first time - and the working-class setting meant it can sometimes be alarmingly prescient years later. In one chapter of the Saga, police officers are called and find a werewolf chewing down on a tablecloth, and instantly beat up and arrest the nearest Black man, making a date for the next white supremist meeting on the way out the door. The humour of the moment is only sharpened by the tragic recognition that things haven't changed that much in the past 40 years.

The Bojeffries are normal, dull folk, who happen to be supernatural monsters with weird mental abilities and gross powers. Their story would spill out beyond Warrior, and there was even a 21st century update, where the whole family has sold out and ends up trapped in reality TV version of their own lives. Because some things never change, and some jokes never get old. They might just rot a bit, is all.

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