Bulldog Clips – The partial return of an old favourite
Comic strips written by Jason Cobley, art by Simon Perkins, Andrew Cheverton, Paul Harrison-Davies, Mitzi, David Goodman, Garen Ewing, Chris Doherty, Jim Cameron, Stephen Prestwood, John Blake, Dave West, Tony Lawrence, Andrew Wildman.
I’ve been a fan of Jason Cobley’s Winston Bulldog since first seeing him in Bulldog Adventure Magazine many, many years ago. Last year it was a pleasure to read a much overdue collection – The Greatest Adventures Of Captain Winston Bulldog of which I said…..
“Bulldog is a good old fashioned comic about Dear Old Blighty at war, where valiant soldiers stood up to the enemy with true British spirit. Oh, and it’s full of talking animals and the enemy just happens to be a race of vegetables. And the Bulldog of the title? Captain Winston Bulldog, distinguished pilot, veteran airman; he’s called Bulldog for a reason”
“…. hugely enjoyable slice of good old fashioned comicness with a hint of weird anthropomorphic action”
And since then there’s been a second volume of the Best Of Bulldog: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Winston Bulldog, with more great stories.
But Cobley’s found Bulldog calling him back recently, and Bulldog Clips is the result, a collection of new Bulldog strips and a few of Cobley’s other creations, including Keiko Panda and Hugo The Zombie.
(My favourite illustration in Bulldog Clips – PJ Holden absolutely nails the spirit of Bulldog here)
As much as I enjoyed the collection, it’s a touch too fragmented for my taste, and although the extra strips are nice to see, I found myself wishing for more Bulldog. Not that there’s much wrong with the extras here, but I felt that it could have done with a more cohesive structure, possibly putting the Bulldog strips at the front, then finishing the book with the non-Bulldog strips.
The Bulldog strips, just as they were in the original magazine, are a mix of brilliant and alright, often depending on the artists involved. But Cobley’s (and my) love for the character and the sheer enjoyment you can feel from each strip carries you through.
But I did find myself, no matter how enjoyable the unusual strips such as the Andrew Cheverton illustrated Attic were, wishing for a little more adventuring and action I’d loved in the Bulldog of old.
However, regardless of my criticisms of the ordering of the book, it’s lovely to see Bulldog back, along with Keiko Panda, a regular supporting character in Bulldog. She makes a triumphant return with one of my favourite artists from the old Bulldog Adventure Magazine – Mitzi – on the art duties.
(Jason Cobley writes, Andrew Cheverton illustrates a tale of Bulldog as memory, with a very mysterious ending)
(The return of Keiko Panda, and the return of Mitzi – a winning combination)
Cobley and artist Paul Harrison-Davies (and guest writer David Hailwood) contribute tales of Hugo The Zombie, a member of the undead horde who isn’t really putting his heart into this whole evil lark. The stories are lots of fun, with Cobley really enjoying the laghs to be had, and Harrison-Davies turning in some impressively grotesque artwork:
The strip that most impresses here though, through it’s powerful words and evocative artwork, is the adaptation of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est by Cobley and artist John Blake. Originally published by Classical Comics, they’ve very kindly allowed Cobley to reprint it here. And although it’s a possible strange choice at first, it’s themes of remorse and looking back over past lives strikes a chord.
Overall Bulldog Clips is a nice return to a familiar and much enjoyed character. To be honest I wish it would have been a little more focused, but what is here, although it may be somewhat haphazardly organised, is strong, enjoyable stuff.
Bulldog Clips is available from Jason Cobley’s Lulu store.