Singing Sad Wires of Council House Mystics*

Something about the current spring weather, with its contrast between the warm wind perfumed with chlorophyll and the trash liberated from its snowy prison and strewn about artistically, reminded me of 6-page story Song of the Terraces. Originally published in A1 no. 4 (1990, Atomeka Press), it is officially part of Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse’s Bojeffries Saga, and as such was also collected in the The Complete Bojeffries Saga published in 1992 by Tundra Press (and reissued in a new collection in 2013 by Top Shelf Productions).

I don’t know if it’s a universal rule, but it seems that people either love to read plays, or hate the very idea. I belong to the former category, and have happily spent my young years on a steady diet of plays. Sometimes these included musical interludes, and I was not in the slightest bit perturbed by being given basically lyrics with some details about the mood of the singers, but no melody.

Perhaps that is part of why I am so fond of Song of the Terraces, or perhaps it’s the familiarity of this scene – its row of lovingly depicted council houses (Parkhouse has a really lovely, fluid style) and its hodgepodge of denizens in various states of spiritual and physical dishevelment are part and parcel of British shows I’ve watched and loved. Be as it may, I find the following tremendously endearing.

This interlude features two characters from the mighty Bojeffries family line – Raoul (the werewolf) and powerful but lonely Ginda – but otherwise is not particularly linked to any storyline.

With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, no doubt! That and the sweet but scary ladies of Last of the Summer Wine.

I’ve talked about the Bojeffries Saga a bit in Tentacle Tuesday: Adventure and Levity, if you’d like to know more about its characters.

~ ds

*Time knows no limits for days such as these.

Tentacle Tuesday: Adventure and Levity

There’s only two Tentacle Tuesdays left in the year after today. Well, let’s not bashfully bury our tentacles in snow and get on with it.

I don’t think Tove Marika Jansson, Swedish novelist, painter, illustrator and of course comic strip artist, needs much in the way of introduction. Merely one word is necessary, and that word (more of an exclamation, really) is “Moomin!” But did you know Snork-Maiden and Moomin-Troll once had to grapple with an octopus?

Montréal’s Drawn and Quarterly is currently « reworking classic Moomin stories in full colour, with a kid-proof but kid-friendly size, price, and format » (to quote their website) for their Enfant collection. « Enfant » means « child », but I think any adult with a sense of humour and just a pinch of childlike innocence will enjoy these stories.

This page is from « Moomin and the Comet » (although I prefer to call it « Muumipeikko ja pyrstötähti »… if I could only pronounce it!) by Tove Jansson and and Lars Jansson, her brother and writer and occasional illustrator of the Moomin comic strip. Published in July 2013 by Drawn & Quarterly, originally published on April 9th, 1958 in London’s The Evening News.

Incidentally, isn’t this photograph of Tove Jansson lovely?


So far, there’s something like 12 books published, and D&Q are releasing one or two additions to the collection every year. It’s the only thing I consistently buy from them (well, pretty much the only thing they publish that interests me). Highly recommended if you have any children in your life… and even more if you don’t!


The Bojeffries Saga (written by Alan Moore and drawn by Steve Parkhouse) concerns itself with a loosely-tied group of relatives all of whom are supernatural and/or insane and some of whom have vaguely Slavic names, for added hilarity. The family consists of the two uncles Zlüdotny (a werewolf and a vampire); a nuclear baby (whatever that means); the close-knit trio of father, daughter and son, respectively Jobremus, Ginda, and Reth Bojeffries; and last but not least, grandpa Podlasp, whose tentacles you can admire below. Not, it’s not “Podslap”, although he does slap people on occasion.

The first Bojeffries tale, « The Rentman Cometh », appeared in black and white in British Quality Communications anthology Warrior, to be more precise Warrior no. 12, August 1983. Here you have it in glorious (and appropriately stomach-churning) colour thanks to a reformatted & coloured (by Kenneth Smith) reprint in Flesh & Bones no. 2, 1986 (Fantagraphics).

The main… err, hero… of this tale is Trevor Inchmale, a fastidious pain-in-the-ass bureaucrat, who, whilst day-dreaming of glory, accidentally discovers the existence of a  tenant who owes the council £32,000 in rent arrears. Guess who the tenant is? And guess what happens to Inchmale? (Hint: a flower pot is involved.)

The back cover of Flesh & Bones no. 2, 1986 (Fantagraphics). Getting to spend a little time with Dalgoda (Jan Strnad and Dennis Fujitake) and then visiting with the Bojeffries? Yes, please!

I have The Bojeffries Saga collection issued in 2014 by Topshelf Productions in collaboration with Knockabout Comics. Mr. Parkhouse calls it « the complete and final edition », so who am I to argue with that? He also says, in his introduction, that « throughout its entire run the Bojeffries has been sheer, unmitigated fun. It’s been tough, it’s been demanding – but the end result has always made me laugh. »


Let’s end on a properly horrible (or at least horripilating) note.

This could be part of a pretty convincing anti-smoking campaign. Gasp!, 1994; cover by John Totleben (a recycled painting of his from 1992, actually).

In 1994, Quebecor Printing sponsored Gasp!, a sampler of some independent titles (and not necessarily anything to do with horror, despite what the cover suggests). Its contents are a bit of a hodge-podge, with some highlights and some clunkers. You can get more information about the authors and stories within here.

A group of octopuses, by the way, is called “consortium”, although “octoposse” would perhaps make more sense.

Signing off,

~ ds