Edited by Chris Denton and Steven Denton
Contributors: Bolt-01, David Frankum, Dee Cunniffe, John Caliber, Nikki Foxrobot, Owen Watts, Richmond Clements, Tim Twelves
I last looked at Massacre For Boys back in very early 2009 with a review of Walking Wounded issue1 & 2. What I saw was something of a nostalgic look back on good old fashion boys own adventure (think Victor, Battle et al) with a few modern day twists. A fun enough, entertaining enough comic with art that’s variable but overall nothing bad.
Since then they’ve published another Walking Wounded comic; Death On The Rock, where the British Army’s damaged but dangerous crack commando unit defends Gibraltar against the might of the Third Reich. And the anthology Massacre For Boys Colour Special, expanding on the whole boy’s own comic thing with a mixed bag featuring The Walking Wounded, old-school football heroes, sci-fi western tales, strange superhero adventures and more.
And now we have the latest; The Massacre For Boys Action Special. 6 strips, 7 stories, varying subjects, varying lengths, all in colour. But all sharing that same sensibility I saw in Walking Wounded, that gung-ho, slightly tongue in cheek thing, harking back to a childhood of the 60s and 70s and the sorts of adventure comic strips we sometimes saw back then, but twisting them slightly in the process.
And just as it shares the same sensibility, it also evokes the same response in me; it’s lightweight stuff, knows exactly what it’s doing, exactly who it’s doing it for, and on the whole does it all fairly well.
Here’s a selection of what sort of things to expect……
Pagan Blood by Chris Denton and David Frankum.
6-pages of German soldiers on a mission. But the good sort, not those nasty Nazi types, these are the sympathetic ones. It looks good with Frankum’s art very strong, but it doesn’t have the substance it needed to open the book.
The storytelling feels just that little off and there’s just not enough plot working here to really make it work enough. Nice but empty.
The Crusader by Chris Denton and Bolt-01
I read the first couple of pages of this and immediately thought of Alan Davis’ Crusader – that same stupid hero vigilante getting the crap kicked out of him vibe all over it, just 30 years later. And it would have stayed like that, just another dull little, not too well drawn superhero thing….. but for the superb bit of surrealism on page 5 after our hero loses consciousness. I’d love to show you it, but it’s by far the best thing here, and I want you to see it for yourself. Just having that single out there weird page completely transforms the strip, quite wonderfully.
Walking Wounded by Chris Denton and Steven Denton
This took us right back to the start, with a certain aristocartic Englishman with a bad limp being tapped up by the local branch of the Blackshirts, proving that even before joining the Walking Wounded, there was fight in this lame dog.
And it’s the most satisfying bit of Walking Wounded I’ve read thus far, shorter than usual perhaps, but a neat, well done, well illustrated story none the less.
And those three are pretty much representative of the rest here; the gentlemen supernatural sleuths of Holt Bros, the silly and knows it Jimmy Baker Animal Hatmaker, the weird western sci-fi of Badland Rules. All of them do a good job, but they’re by no means perfect, not breaking any new ground, but it’s all done with a sense of fun and simple entertainment.
The Massacre For Boys Action Special is available from the Massacre For Boys website.