Watchmen and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen writer Alan Moore has written an introduction to the upcoming collection of some of Ken Reid‘s “Faceache” strips, Faceache: The First Hundred Scrunches.
The hugely influential humour artist’s son, Antony Reid, also provides an introduction to this welcome first collection of just one of Ken’s amazing creations, which also include “Jonah” (for The Beano), “Frankie Stein” (owned by TimeUK, who are sitting on a goldmine of comic characters published before 1970) and the brilliant “World-Wide Weirdies” pin ups for Shiver and Shake and Whoopee.
The work of Ken Reid is, without a doubt, among some of the most memorable when it comes to classic British comic humour strips. Faceache – first published in the short-lived JET and, when that comic was “hatched, matched and dispatched” after just 22 issues, Buster – is one of his finest creations, running for some 16 years, a character he drew up to his death in 1987.
“Faceache” is Ricky Rubberneck – a schoolboy whose skin is so rubbery he can change his features (or “scrunge,”) to resemble anything. And boy, did Ken regularly push that concept as far as he could!
Out in November, Faceache: The First Hundred Scrunches is another hardcover collection forming the new “Treasury of British Comics” line from 2000AD publisher Rebellion, and I know I’m not alone in hoping it’s not a one-off and we’ll see much more Ken Reid material in our bookshops.
(Given the amount of work Ken did for DC Thomson – including “Jonah” and a brilliant run on “The Nervs“, first drawn by Graham Allen – you’d hope they’d be taking a keen interest in this project, and perhaps someone will also pick up the phone and ask artist John Ridgway about his incredible colour edition of Ken’s early work “Fudge the Elf“, a bonkers and often far from fluffy rival to “Rupert the Bear” which ran from 1937 in The Manchester Evening News).
“Ken Reid [is] one of the greatest comic artists that ever lived,” Lew Stringer noted on his Blimey blog back in 2012. “In fact I can’t imagine anyone not respecting his talents. To me, he was the best humour artist this country ever produced, and is ever likely to produce. Some people may say that today’s comics aren’t a patch on his work but neither was most of the material in yesterday’s comics. Ken Reid was always head and shoulders above the crowd.
It’s no surprise Alan Moore has happily written an introduction to this collection: a master of the macabre, his early humour work, “Maxwell the Magic Cat” has the same wicked vibe that pervades the best of Ken Reid’s work, and his longtime partnership either Kevin O’Neill on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is surely evidence enough of Alan’s love for the weird and wonderful.
“Many British comic book fans consider Ken Reid to be one of the greatest humour artists to have ever graced this industry, so it seems only fitting that one of its greatest writers introduce this much anticipated Faceache collection,” Treasury of British Comics editor Keith Richardson told Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision of Moore’s introduction to the new collection.
“Much like Alan, Ken was a unique talent whose work would see its way into the imagination of any young reader fortunate enough to come across it.
“We would like to thank Alan for his contribution, and also thank Antony Reid for also writing a very emotive introduction about his father.”
Hang on… so, not only are we getting an amazing Faceache collection in a couple of months, but it’s introduced by one of Britain’s most influential comic writers, and it’s written by Alan for the publisher of 2000AD… forgive us for being more than a little delighted and we know Alan has previously indicated he’s retired from the world of comics, but I hope you’ll forgive us for wondering if he’s been persuaded to write – or authorise the writing of – anything else?
Particularly when the second volume of the new 2000AD Ultimate Collection (launching next week) is The Ballad of Halo Jones… we can dream, can’t we?
• Faceache: The First Hundred Scrunches will be released 30th November 2017 – order it from Amazon.co.uk (using link helps support downthetubes) or your local book or comic shop
Faceache, JET and Buster © Rebellion Publishing Ltd