The Book: London, The mid-sixties. In what appears to have been a murder attempt, Britain’s greatest pop sensation Vic Vox has been left a foot tall, the effects of the “shrink drug” administered by assailants unknown. Detective Chief inspector Ladyshoe and his team at Scotland Yard are out to find who did it, and why, but they are up against the clock. They need to crack the case within the week and return Vox to full-size in time for him to perform as the main act on television’s biggest one-off, live pop show: Ready For Pop.
The Review: The whole point of publishers sending me review copies is, I know, a) so I’ll review them and b) review them in a timely fashion, not a good month after their release. So once again, my apologies to those creators sending your work for review only to be left waiting, especially when the books you send, such as Ready for Pop by Hurk are really, really good.
Not only is Ready for Pop a wonderfully insane poke in the eye for 1960s nostalgia, it’s a very funny and well thought out (if totally crazy) crime story, told with distinctive, quirky but thoroughly enjoyable art.
Hurk has enormous fun at the expense of many well known 1960s characters, including an overblown, horrific version of a self-obsessed comedian inspired by Tony Hancock and several well known bands, as Detective Chief inspector Ladyshoe struggled to find the twisted schemer who’s shrunk pop star VIC Vox, rescued from the clutches of a passing rare bird taken from a pair of inept gangsters by a thoroughly vile bird watcher… Who himself gets his comeuppance.
Aside from the terrific script, barbed humour at the expense of – well, just about everybody, including the Masons! – and distinctive art, what I like most about Ready for Pop is the very human portrayal of every character, warts and all. Not one is a “hero” or “villain” – they all have their own strengths and weaknesses, all fighting for success in a world that seems insane, where fame is bought and corruption rife.
(In fact, the only character that is remotely without side is probably a gun toting monkey – and even that fools people into thinking he’s a bit cute to get to his victims… You see what I mean about this book being “wonderfully insane”?)
Ready for Pop deserves your attention, especially if you’re a fan of 1960s music and culture. You’ll appreciate all the cultural references, enjoy many of the jokes and will recognise the inspirations for many of the story’s multi-faceted, irredeemable cast.
Plus, it’s a salutary warning never to drink anything in small, unlabelled bottles. What more do you need to encourage you to go out and buy a copy?
Who is Hurk?
Hurk and small press comics scene since the turn of this century. He is not very good at perspective but enjoys getting it wrong. Ready for Pop is his first graphic novel and largest work to date. Previously he has regularly contributed to the UK underground comic newspaper The Comix Reader, anthologies like Your Days are Numbered, Off Life, The Mammoth Book Of Skulls and Hive and co-founded the small press and comics collective the Fancy Butcher in 2008.
• Find Lord Hurk online at www.lordhurk.com
What Others Say…
“Created by the talented/twisted mind of Hurk it’s quirky and compelling in equal measure and in all likelihood quite unlike anything else that you’ve ever read before. Fans of Viz, Gilbert Shelton, the Rolling Stones and experimental drugs should all find something to enjoy here. –– Proper Mag
“Ready for Pop is a fun crime caper that both pays homage to its 1960’s roots and gently pokes fun at it – and the end result is like a cross between a Krays film, a Beatles caper and a Cook and Moore sketch. Irreverent humour is blended well with Hurk’s art – a strong and distinctive style that evokes the style of the 60’s well – with the pop bands and models shown feeling immediately recognisable.”
– Luke Marlowe, Bookbag