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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THE BOJEFFRIES SAGA by Parkhouse & Moore

Just reprinted by Top Shelf and Knockabout in both print and digital formats (this review from the digital version), the classic Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse creation THE BOJEFFRIES SAGA, featuring the original nine stories, serialized in various publications from 1983 to 1991, and a new 24-page story by The Original Writer and The Original Artist.

The series presents the comic misadventures of the Bojeffries family of the English Midlands, as they try to live a quiet suburban life, despite the fact that the family includes a vampire, a werewolf, an elder god and some other members who are even stranger.

If you don't have all the original stories in one or another of their original printings, this is a must have. Some of the funniest stuff Moore ever wrote, and strong distinctive art by Parkhouse. If only the new 24-page story is new to you, it's still highly recommended. The new story doesn't have any chance of being as dear to me as the originals which I've been living with in my head for over half my life, but it has a lot of funny bits and clever callbacks. Plus you get the classic stories nicely reproduced in the original black&white (with red highlights in the case of one story) instead of the colour of the previous single-volume edition.

The original stories still hold up nicely, even after at least a dozen readings over the years. The highlight, as always, is "Sex, With Ginda Bojeffries", wherein our heroine goes out armed with dating advice from Flirt Magazine to find a man not intimated by her. I won't reveal if she succeeds, but I always enjoy the journey, and can't believe how hard I still laugh at the "premature evacuation" line. Of the rest, I especially liked the vacation special, "Our Factory Fortnight", this time around.

The new story is "After They Were Famous", catches up on the family in the modern day, which finds them estranged from each other in the wake of the unwanted attention from a tell-all biography by son Reth and now dealing, sometimes quite poorly, with 21st century life. Naturally events (in the form of reality TV) conspire to bring the back together.

I was pretty happy with the new story, though I don't expect it'll ever match the original run to me (offhand I can't think of any sort of generation-later follow-up which has). Parkhouse's work hasn't lost a step, although I did find the computer rendered greytone work more than a little distracting at times. It was an odd contrast with the classic linework. Other than that, his faces are expressive and funny, and he does a good job with some of the physical comedy bits. For the script, Moore gets to do some of the playing with language that he's always shown a facility for (though I found a few of his attempts to render accents phonetically a loitile deffacalt to entoiprat). He still shows a good feel for the characters, and gets in a few nice updates to the original stories. I did think the "reality" TV target of some of the parody felt a bit dated (but as I understand, this was scripted a few years ago), but even there he gets off some good gags.

So definitely worth a look.

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