In May 2010 The Sun newspaper began a series of Wallace & Gromit comic strips, a series that ran six days a week for over three years. The strip, credited to “Aardman and Titan Comics” told the humorous antics of the eponymous heroes of Nick Park and Aardman Animation’s best known films. Titan Comics have now collected the first year of those short strips under the rather long title of Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection – Volume 1: 2010-2011.
These are stories main set in and around the pair’s home at 62 West Wallaby Street with a heavy emphasis on Wallace’s inventions of a multitude of cracking contraptions and Gromit’s attempts to rescue Wallace, or anyone else, from them. As with the films, there is an impressive array of puns, Gromit reads ‘The Dog Delusion by Richard Pawkins’ for instance, while a cheese theme runs throughout the strips as can be seen above with Wallace listening to The Brie Gees. The strip also follows the calendar as the pair visit the beach during the summer and deal with snow in the winter.
In The Sun the strip was published as a three panel daily strip with each day having a punchline but each week of six episodes telling an overall story. Titan have taken these stories and printed then at three days per page meaning that each two page spread covers the given week’s story.The book contains 52 week’s work of stories for a total of 312 strips, numbered to 311 plus, for some reason, 191a (something that whoever wrote the blurb about the book on the Titan Comics website apparently didn’t notice). It also contains a selection of two page colour photos, an introduction by Nick Park, and a page of credits at the back entertainingly entitled ‘Tomb Of The Unknown Artist’.
Of course it is good to see those credits in the book given the vagueness of the credits in the newspaper itself. The writers of the strips in this collection are listed as Richy Chandler, Robert Etherington (I suspect that should be Robin Etherington), Ned Hartley, Rik Hoskin, David Leach, JP Rutter and Rona Simpson while the artists are Jimmy Hansen and Mychailo Kazybrid (who signs some of his strips), plus Bambos Georgiou on inks and John Burns on colours. It is good to see their work printed in hardback and on much higher quality paper that it was originally printed on.
Wallace and Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection – Volume 1: 2010 – 2011 is a well produced, fun collection containing 52 stories of everyone’s favourite stop-motion pair that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike – and in the run-up to Christmas that is well worth remembering.
• There are more details of Wallace and Gromit – The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection – Volume 1: 2010 – 2011 at the Titan Comics website.