Sunday, October 10, 2021

Vworp Vworp! #4 (September 2021)

After mentioning that I had received quite a haul of books recently and that reviews might take a while to appear, I offered Colin Brockhurst, editor of Vworp Vworp!, a one sentence instant reaction—"WOW! I'm amazed, astonished and in awe of the work you've put in. Five stars.

Now that I've had a chance to actually read some of the content, I stand by that fifteen word review.

That it is an astonishing production shouldn't be a surprise because I was blown away by issue 3 when that appeared back in 2017. 4½ years later, we have issue 4 – a shorter gap than the 5½ years between 2 and 3 – and I'm blown away all over again.

This issue is a 172 page look at the Doctor Who comic strips from the sixties and seventies as they appeared in TV Comic and Countdown/TV Action. Now, this is not a study of the comic strips themselves (there has already been a book covering most of that same period, Paul Scoones The Comic Strip Companion 1964-1979) nor is it a history of TV Comic or Countdown/TV Action (there has already been a book covering the latter, Countdown to TV Action by... ahem... ). Instead, it is an anthology of articles about the comics and the creators behind the strips that appeared in them, plus a couple of extra pieces covering other Who related works.

The whole thing kicks off with a look back at an art agency that supplied artwork for the 1976 Artus Publishing volume Doctor Who and the Daleks Omnibus. Simon Brett interviews everyone involved (those still living, I should say) and it becomes a fascinating story of how small agencies worked in the 1960s through to the 1980s, described by Ivan Rose, one of the co-founders of General Illustration Company, as a time of "earning money like crazy!"

Then onto TV Comic, introduced by Paul Scoones and Michael Baxter before we reach a feature on Neville Main, the first of a number of insightful looks at the creators working on Doctor Who's comic strip over a period of two decades.

The list of creators covered is astonishing: David Motton, Roger Noel Cook, Bill Mevin, Tom Woodman, John Canning, Pat Williams, Dick Millington, Alan Fennell, John Woods, Leslie Waller, Harry Lindfield, Dennis Hooper, Gerry Haylock, Alan Gilham, Frank Langford, Geoff Cowan and Martin Asbury. Phew! Some are interviews (Mevin, Lindfield, Asbury) while others are essays, some long, some relatively brief. I know how tricky it is to research the often anonymous creators of comics, but the magazine contains an array of photos (gold dust!), and snippets of conversations with people tangentially involved (even the guy who won a prize creating a monster for TV Action+Countdown).

The magazine also covers various modern takes on these old strips, a top 40 of weird facts about the TV Comic/Countdown strips, and collecting Who artwork. There is even a free gift in the shape of a packet of Vworp's Sugar Pats, which will enable you to make your own Trod. Oh, and there are comic strips, too.

There's so much information packed in here that, half way through, I was starting to feel a bit redundant. Brockhurst and his team of writers had everything covered and in astonishing detail. But wait... what's this? They didn't know George Marler died in 2007... I can breath again. Surely that will cost the Vworp team half a star.

Only kidding, Colin. You know what? After that sly dig, I'm going to give the magazine 5½ stars.

Order your copy from the official website. And pick up those back issues while you're there. They're well worth the tenner each of them costs.

1 comment:

  1. Your free editing service - 'breathe', not 'breath'. Happy to assist.



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