Edited by Richard Cowdry
Bedsit Journal’s yet another example of the sheer breadth of comics being produced out on the fringes of the UK comics scene. It’s edited by and featuring the work of Richard Cowdry, much enjoyed weekly here on the FPI blog for his Somersault strips.
And it’s Cowdry’s work that stands out here as the main draw, with his long strip The One I’ve Waited For not just featured on the cover but standing way above all else in Bedsit Journal – a perfectly observed comedy relationship piece in which a delicate and sensitive flower of a boy finds the butch, aggressive, sexually proactive object of his desires a little too much to cope with. Simple stuff, turning the battle of the sexes on it’s head, but full of moments of funny and with a beautiful clean black and white style that smacks of one or both Hernandez Bros at it’s best.
(Richard Cowdry’s “The One I’ve Waited For” from Bedsit Journal #3)
Cowdry’s other strips are nearly as good; Black Dress is a just plain daft single pager on dating disappointment and How George Herriman Got Me Laid is a little autobiog vignette on the author’s younger life, and very nicely done too.
Then there are the Cowdry / Peter Lally collaborations with Lally writing for Cowdry’s art: The Writer, Chumpo and the throwaway back page Action Man. Of these The Writer is the most enjoyable, and perhaps most like Cowdry’s Somersault, with it’s pathetic central character desperate to make it as a writer, but never standing a chance. The joke’s in the delusion – here’s a character that’s never going to get what he wants and spends the entire strip vainly struggling against his obvious lack of talent. Cruel, but funny.
(“The Writer” by Cowdry and Lally; Amis, Hornby and Smith have little to worry about. From Bedsit Journal #3)
Also included in Bedsit Journal #3 is a solo Peter Lally strip; Donald Hamilton – The Lights Have Gone Out; a theatrical tale of an old luvvie gone to seed and hitting the bottle, making one last comeback and potentially putting a amjor new play at risk with his behaviour. Lally’s story works well, nothing new or unique, but a nice character study of life in theatrical circles. The problem comes with Lally’s art, which is just too rough and too raw to really enjoy, especially in comparison to those strips of his that are illustrated by Cowdry.
Finally, a couple of artists I’d not seen before; first Hannah Glickstein; whose work here didn’t really do all that much for me, a slight 4 pager of Skinny Bill, the skeleton looking for love and finding nothing but rebound affection, arts okay, story’s okay, nothing more. Whereas Bird’s Carl Garbanzo; 9 panel tales of office politics raised more than a few smiles with it’s surreal characters played straight in an everyday world and displaying a good streak of cynical humour through simple, yet effective cartooning.
(Bird’s Carl Garbanzo from Bedsit Journal #3)
Overall Bedsit Journal works to a point, but ironically it suffers not because of the weakness of some of the strips, but in the quality of Richard Cowdry, whether alone or working with Lally writing. Unfortunately, Cowdry’s stuff is just too good for the company it’s keeping here and sadly everything else looks worse by comparison. A difficult situation for Cowdry to be in, but perhaps also acting as a spur to improvement for everyone else involved in future?
For ordering details for Bedsit Journal and Cowdry’s other work go to the Bedsit Journal website.