Psycho Gran is back – and Titan Comics think they’ve got her! Little do those poor darlings down in that there London know how dangerous this much-loved silver surfer character really is… and the things she gets up to!
Psycho Gran is the psychotically demented brain-child of cartoonist and comic book editor, David Leach – winner of Channel Four’s Come Dine With Me, editor and writer of the Wallace & Gromit newspaper strip and the Adventure Time comic magazine – and editor of Roman Dirge’s Lenore. David is also the co-creator of cult 1990’s strip “The Driver” for the British cult comic, Toxic!.
Psycho Gran (or Psycho Besta as she’s known in Norway) is a five-foot high, mauve-haired, bespectacled psychotic granny with a pan-dimensional, sentient handbag called Percy, a flying dog called Archie and a pathological loathing of rudeness. Thanks to Titan Comics, you can now enjoy her adventures in an all-new 29 page, full-colour journey into a surrealist slap-stick world of rampaging kaiju (that’s giant monsters to you!), neo-Nazis skin-heads, bag snatchers, death-row inmates, explosive diarrhea. Oh, and those annoying SOBs who will insist on using their bloody mobile phones in cinemas and innocent people just minding their own business. She puts the Old into Old Skool!
We caught up with David to ask him about Psycho Gran, due for release through Comixology on 26th March – her origins, antics and his thoughts on humour comics in general…
downthetubes: How did you come up with Psycho Gran?
David Leach: I was working for Bob Godfrey as his ghost artist on Henry’s Cat back in 1986 and I saw a preview for a new kid’s comic and just knew I had to be in it. I really don’t know why I wanted to draw a granny but I had this image in my head of an old lady in a mobility car running people over and she sort of grew out of that, plus I’d always been a fan of the Giles’s granny and I wanted to draw a character who was old.
I loved my two grannies and both of them had a dry and, at times, wicked sense of humour, I was attracted to the idea of an old lady and I couldn’t remember any other old lady characters so I thought she’d be different and original.
Design wise, she arrived almost fully formed, I sort have had her nailed by my third drawing of her. Actually, I found that original first drawing of her and although there’s very little between it and how she looks now, I can see the connection.
downthetubes: She looks kind of familiar? Where have we seen her somewhere before in comics?
David: Why, yes you have, what good memories you have. She appeared in the classic 1980’s comic, Oink!, which was published by IPC back in the day. It was a wonderful comic and much missed, it saw lots of young cartoonists get the first breaks including Lew Stringer, Davey Jones, Davy Francis, Frank Sidebottom and Charlie Brooker to name but a few, as well as established names like Tony Husband, Banx and Ed McHenry.
Psycho Gran also appeared in the 2011 Tsunami appeal book, Spirit of Hope, as a guest art strip in Roman Dirge’s comic, Lenore. She’s also appeared in the Nemi magazine in Norway and in two editions of David Lloyd’s digital comic, Aces Weekly.
downthetubes: How do you come up with Psycho Gran stories? Are they inspired by happenings around you, taken to bizarre extremes
David: Absolutely. It usually comes from a real life situation, something I’ve read or when I’m walking to the station in the morning. I think up a situation and then imagine Psycho Gran in it and how she’d react, normally she reacts violently. She’s very much an extension of me and she does things I can only dream of doing.
downthetubes: Do you have a following among silver surfers? (Who are you fans?)
David: Not that I’m aware of, actually I really don’t know who my fans are. I write and draw her to make me laugh and then I just hope she’ll resonate with others.
I’ve discovered that many modern cartoonists knew her and I’ve been surprised to discover that she’s still remembered especially among fans of Oink, so I’m guessing that her fan base would be those kids who’ve now all got kids of their own.
Oh, and my mum likes her. In fact the greatest comic strip I ever drew was a Psycho Gran strip and my mum read it and laughed and I didn’t need to explain it to her. I said then I should have quit, as I’d never get any better.
downthetubes: Adult humour comics and animation seem gets a lot of bad press… do you think that’s because so much of it is scatological rather than funny?
David: I’m a big fan of fart gags and poo gags, actually. There’s two in the first issue of Psycho Gran and as a rule I don’t mind them at all, but beyond the always wonderful Viz, I can’t think of any decent adult humour comics especially in this country. I haven’t noticed that much bad press, unless you mean things like South Park and Family Guy?
But I personally think that a comic of nothing but scatological jokes would get very boring very quickly and also it’s too easy. I like humour with a bite, I call the humour of Psycho Gran “Surrealist Slapstick”. The humour comes from putting a mad character into the real world and seeing what happens, I think it’s the juxtapositioning that creates the right environment for my type of humour.
downthetubes: Do you think a new humour comic – would get traction on the news stand today or is it simply too hard to get into newsagents for non licensed comics now?
David: I think it would be too hard to get into newsagents, far better to start small build up like Viz, establish a fan base then try and break into the newsagent market, but even then I think it’s always going to be an uphill battle.
That said, I do love the current wave of TV related comics, like Adventure Time, Regular Show and Bravest Warriors – so maybe there is still a market for humour comics. The trouble is, we’d need to get a TV show out of it too!
downthetubes: Well, on that basis, David, we look forward to news of Psycho Gran – The Movie. Best of luck with the new comic!
• Psycho Gran #1 is available from Comixology on 26th March 2014. The Titan Comics page is here: www.comixology.com/Titan/comics-publisher/92-0
• Check out Psycho Gran Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Psycho-Gran/139243379562556
• The Facebook Oink! fan page is at www.facebook.com/groups/OinkComic