Back in the 1980s, there was a short-lived British comics fanzine called SCAN, edited by me and designed by Matthew Bingham, who went on to work on proper magazines like FHM, but I’ve lost track of him these days. Its subscribers included Alan Moore and many others, and the chaps at Marvel UK were incredibly supportive of our modest efforts: Mike Collins drew stuff for it, Richard Starkings lettered several of the strips, including our Captain Babylon strip, a Captain Britain spoof… but it also gave a platform to artists such as Dave Jones, who went on to become a mainstay of Viz, and Ralph Kidson who…
— Well, actually, what did happen to Ralph Kidson?
After 20 years plus, I recently made contact and discover he’s still self publishing the kind of bizarre funny stuff that I enjoyed way back then, which included his own superhero spoof, Captain Dolphin. Lately, he’s been publishing Giant Clam Comics – collections of his intense, bonkers stories featuring the likes of an envelope that’s a hitman with Delta Force, Daleks and Cybermen discussing the merits of different Doctors and their companions; and plenty of what you can describe as “observed humour” with his own unique take on observation that skews the world in a totally mental way.
Over on TRs2, Andrew Luke offered this opinion of Ralph’s work, just in case you think I may simply be bigging up an old mate:
Giant Clam is very keen observational comix, it gives form to some deeply trivial rants needing attention and provides relief to the reader by their minimalisation in a brief form. Ralph employs the trick of making it look like very little work has gone into his comix which suits perfectly the subject matter. When one of his characters casts a mobile phone away it serves as a powerful emoticon, rendered in non-power it creates an ease that fits the context of the subject and narrative.
Ralph has a knack for involving the everyday, the natural world and providing transition in memory of grating past. He is also very fucking funny indeed, and if you’re going to be checking out one of his comics for the first time, has got some really good stuff for future.
Still not convinced? Then how about this enthused review from Cartoonist, illustrator and Panic Coordinator to Breakfast television PB Rainey for Giant Clam #3?
The third edition of the funniest object in any medium, Giant Clam, is… funnier than Harry Hill’s TV Burp, funnier than Count Arthur Strong, funnier than Curb Your Enthusiasm even. In the latest issue; The Matrix Guy, more domestic adventures with Envelope and Stick, the best moral at the end of a story ever — and Daleks.
Suffice to say, Ralph Kidson delivers something unusual in a neat little pocket-sized package – a title for adults who are not easily offended (because he likes a challenge and it is nice to see if he can offend the not-easily-offended as well).
• You can buy a single issue of Giant Clam Comics (we enjoyed #3) for just £1, including P+P from Ralph Kidson, RalphieComics, 3 Langridges Rd, Newick, Near Lewes, BN8 4LZ. Cheques, postal orders payable to Ralph Kidson, Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Categories: British Comics