Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Comics Britannia (starting September on BBC4)
A three-part documentary series covering Britain's contribution to the world of sequential art, narrated by Armando Iannucci.
Boingboing has already mentioned this, but I've actually seen it (thanks to BBC4's innovative and far-sighted marketing strategy of chucking free DVDs at me, woo hoo), so am just that bit cooler.
The series starts with 'The Fun Factory': pre and immediately post-war children's comics such as the Beano and Dandy, moves with 'Boys and Girls' to the search for an older readership (with an excellent dissection of girl's comics such as the Jaqueline Wilson-titled 'Jackie') and ends at 'Anarchy In The UK' with the blood spurtin', laser-shootin', The Man-defyin' titles of 2000AD, Warlord and Deadline.
Early fears the series would include a parade of celebutards calling out the catchphrases a la 'I heart 2004' can thankfully be laid to rest - the talking heads involved range from industry luminaries Leo Baxendale and Alan Moore to informed commentators Stewart Lee and, er, Frank Skinner. Who isn't as annoying as you'd expect, and someone has to talk about Roy of the Rovers.
The only slight criticism I would have is that getting various people to read out bits very very slowly and then chuckling to themselves is a bit annoying actually, as the captions are on screen, and we wouldn't be interested in a documentary about comics IF WE COULDN'T READ FOR OURSELVES, but otherwise it's a really excellent piece of work, clearly put together by people who actually give a toss about their subject.
Anyway, it's jolly good, and well worth a look - one sure benchmark of quality is that gf Patroclus, not, shall we say, legendary for her knowledge of the interior layout of Forbidden Planet, took her favourite quote 'Oh no, not another quarry' as her new business motto.
The two Desperate Dan writers recalling wistfully the days when their hero 'could kill and eat a lot of endangered species' was a further highlight.
BBC Comics Britannia site