Laura Howell’s light operatic superteam returns….

Published On November 25, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

The Bizarre Adevntures Of Gilbert & Sullivan – Volume 1: Crime & Punishment

by Laura Howell

I remember first seeing Laura’s ridiculously cute and very funny Chibi Manga style Gilbert & Sullivan characters when I was doing an article about her in 2007 for the FPI blog. The characters have previously appeared in the Mammoth Book of Best New Manga Volumes 2 and 3 but these strips are completely new to print.

The firmly tongue in cheek comedy features Mssrs Gilbert & Sullivan, them of the famous Victorian light operas. But Laura Howell has managed to uncover their secret life behind the music – it seems this titanic twosome of the light opera world were also secretly “superpowered defenders of the realm“.  These words on the inside front cover should set the tone very nicely for you:

“GASP as they thwart blackguards with their boundless British spirit”
“APPLAUD as their tuneful satires prick pomposity and puncture prigs”
“LAUGH as they bicker and banter in their hilariously mismatched manner”

(What mischief will Oscar get up to with the “Attracting Gentlemen” spray? And just how much trouble will G&S get into this time?)

This Volume features misadventures with Oscar Wilde and a potion that “makes the wearer irresistible to gentlemen“. You can just imagine how wrong that one goes.

You’ll also be able to discover how ridiculous Sullivan looks when he abandons opera for rock & roll thanks to a certain Jack Black, thrill to a showdown with The Ripper stalking London’s streets and gasp when a walk in the park turns into a nightmare courtesy of the Little Polyp Of Horrors.

The cutesy, quirky aspect of the strip would only really carry it so far, but once that wears off, it’s the comedy that keeps it going, and it’s very, very funny indeed. Certainly good enough for an earlier comic to justify it’s 1st prize for a print cartoon at the  International Manga & Anime Festival 2006.

(Will dastardly Jack Black break up the eras greatest opera writing team with his music of the devil?)

The Bizarre Adventures Of Gilbert & Sullivan is funny, silly, brilliantly pitched stuff,with clever bickering between the two composers and wildly surreal adventures thrown in. The ideas are fresh and fast, the artwork cutesy but manically expressive and the volume finishes long before you have chance to get even remotely tired of the concept, leaving you wanting more.

Unfortunately Laura’s website is having a makeover right now (as at early November 2010 – complete with that really lovely placeholder image below) so the only way you can get hold of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic is by emailing her or seeing her at conventions. But do take the time – it’s well worth it for the laughs you’ll be getting.

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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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