Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover

Published On February 4, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover

by Jemima Von Schindelberg and Steven Tillotson

Banal Pig Comics


A sad, somewhat bizarre and somewhat brilliant tale of a lonely, rather pathetic life here. This is the second part of the Ethel Sparrowhawk story, but everything you ever needed to know is either neatly summarised on the inside front and back covers or available in full online.

Ethel lives alone, with just a terribly sarcastic cat for company (but to be honest, the conversation isn’t all that good). She’s not only lonely, she’s overlooked by all to the point of invisibility, working a crappy call centre job and living a life almost completely without happiness. And no, the nose is never explained.


(Ethel’s job – not the best. From Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover by Tillotson and Von Schindelberg)

Having lost her dad in the first story, Ethel’s surprised to discover that he had a sister. It seems her dad may not, from what we see in flashback here, and from the first issue, have been that nice a person and maybe that’s one of the reasons Ethel’s life isn’t all that it can be.

After making contact with her Aunt, Ethel takes some time off work (easily done when your boss has no idea who you are) and spends a little holiday with Auntie Helen. Ethel has no idea how lifeĀ  changing this may turn out to be. But I’ll be leaving that for you to work out when you have the pleasure of reading it for yourself. I’ll just mention that sometimes, all that drinking can make even the quietest of people do amazingly spontaneous things. Although the hangover is a bugger.


(Yep, the cat isn’t particularly good company for Ethel. From Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover by Tillotson and Von Schindelberg)

Ethel Sparrowhawk’s art really worked for me, lovely stuff by Tillotson, everything it needed to be to convey all the loneliness and sadness in Ethel’s life. Take a look at that first series of panels above and you’ll get an idea of how Tillotson utilises white space and varying panel sizes quite wonderfully. But to be honest, everything you need to know about how lovely Tillotson’s art is can be gathered from page 1, panel 1, with Ethel Sparrowhawk wandering windswept, alone and ignored through any modern shopping precinct you care to recall:


(Page 1, panel 1 of Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover by Tillotson and Von Schindelberg, lovely artwork by Tillotson)

Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover is available at many comic shops and from the Banal Pig blog. The first part of her adventures is available online here. Well worth a look and definitely worth your money.

Richard Bruton.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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