Friday, May 3, 2019

The Cor!! Buster Humour Special reviewed

I loved these British comics when I was a kid. I used to buy them all - Buster, Whoopee and Wow, Whizzer and Chips, Cor!!, Cheeky, The Beano, Dandy, Nutty and Hoot. These are what made me want to be a cartoonist initially, and then Oink! came along with genuinely funny writing and it was sealed. So, as these sort of articles go, it was with some excitement etc etc. You know how it goes.

To cut to the chase, this comic is not very good. There is some cracking artwork, and some clever call-backs and updates to characters, but it's just not very well written in parts. Now I think about it, the original comics were not exactly the funniest things to read, but they had energy and charm, and whilst this special does have that same energy, kids comic writing has moved on. Oink! led that charge with genuinely funny strips, and there are wonderful writers working today - Tor Freeman of Oddleigh, who won the Observer Graphic Short Story comp, Nigel Auchterlounie in the Beano, Jamie Smart, Laura Ellen Anderson, Joe List and James Turner in the Phoenix, to name a few. None of these guys were asked it seems. One Phoenix author I have spotted is Robin Etherington - writer of brilliant stuff like Monkey Nuts and Long Gone Don - his version of Hit Kid is good, if something of a misfire (There's a receipt/REDceipt pun that doesn't really work for example), but that strip along with Kid Kong and the wonderful Sweeney Toddler triple pager written and drawn by living legend Tom Paterson are the few highlights.

The ever consistent Lew Stringer is here too, but I would have loved to see some more of those Oink! creators like Banx or Ed McHenry involved. They may have saved this comic because there are some real stinkers here. X-Ray Spex and Gums particularly suffer from indifferent writing with incongrous jokes and odd swerves to the stories. 

One last thing, there's a beautiful looking strip called "Swines of Anarchy", written by 'The Feek' and drawn by Pye Parr which pops up towards the end. Why is it here? It's not an old Cor!! or Buster strip; it's a parody in the Oink! style and it really feels like it was intended for a relaunch of Oink!, but ended up being crowbarred in to fill space. 

I suspect I will get some flack for writing this, for not blindly supporting new children's comics, but this is really not good enough. Unfortunately, this is a massive missed opportunity.