Comics Anonymous

HAUNTED BOWELS #1 by Linsay @softlyspokenlas

I had no idea just how many laughs Craig Collins has given me over the past few years until I opened this delightful little paper bound offering. If you too have enjoyed Khaki Shorts, Wasted and like then it’s almost certain he’s made you chuckle or boke. Possibly both.

Haunted Bowels collects a raft of one of strips and recurring characters all drawn by his numerous collaborators. There are several real highlights and only the occasional flat pun, no mean feat for an indie comics writer. The majority of strips are written in the Glaswegian vernacular, non locals should take note and possibly invest in a copy of the bogey man to help translate. There is also a lot of swearing and sexual references so possibly not a comic you’d get for a young reader, not unless you really wanted them to like you

Omniscient Zorgo is consistently funny, using easy set ups and stark punch lines. My favourite of these one page strips is ‘Constructive Criticism’ drawn by Rob Miller in his distinctive ‘everyone is an ugly bastard’ style. It’s cruel humour at its best and often very dark.

Another favourite is ‘The Lonely Ballad of Pistol Nipples’ drawn by Robert Thomson which includes wonderfully stereotypical racist dialogue, a menacing Mexican midget, some nice bold line work and at least 3 good solid laughs. The reveal is a treat, and honestly I think this might be my favourite of the book. It’s a little longer than most at a whopping two pages.

Recurring throughout the book is Collins’ take on that childhood checkout favourite ‘Zinder Kuprise’. This is a weird strip that actually evolves throughout this short anthology. What starts out as a humour play on wide open jokes soon moves into ‘Big Question’ territory. The philosophical elements go right over my head but I’m pretty sure they are there.

As I mentioned earlier there are a couple of strips that just don’t do it for me, ‘The Yoke of Our Own Wrong Doing’ being one. It is a failing of certain elements of the British small press that I wish was more occasional. An over reliance of ‘arse humour’ in place of the joke. It’s a small complaint and is more than mitigated by ‘Spectrum is Red (And Sore)’ which is hilarious ‘arse humour’.

When I read this comic for the first time last night I had just picked up my weekly pull list from Red Hot Comics. I enjoyed this comic hugely and when I then went on to read some comics from a certain mainstream publisher, some of which I’d paid over £3 for, It resulted in the kick up the arse I needed to drop them. Thanks Craig.

I’ve only discussed a few of the strips here, the are plenty more worth mentioning and this is definitely worth your while in picking up. I’d also encourage you to follow both Craig and Ian Laurie who’s art is some of the best and most imaginative in the book.

And apologies for the awful pictures. They don’t do the book justice.


Linsay @softlyspokenlas

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