Two more from Matthew Craig – soap opera superheroics with heart.
Matthew Craig’s work isn’t perhaps the most polished of things, nor perhaps is it the most innovative, as I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s a dyed in the wool superhero fan and most of his work tends to involves them in some, often secondary, role. But it’s so full of heart, so full of great little touches, that they transcend the simplicity of the story, as the emotional basis for his stories, coupled with the sheer fun they elicit makes them very, very readable and enjoyable comics.
One page into Trixie Biker vs. the Time-Wastrel and I have a prime example of what makes me enjoy Craig’s comics. Just a throwaway bit of conversation between Trixie and her Mum on the phone, of which we’re only privy to Trixie’s side, but it made me smile straight away. I t goes like this:
“…. Anyway, me and Hutch have fun.”
“Hutch and I.”
“Please stop saying “Booty Call”.”
One awkward conversation later….
Yep, straight away we get the sort of nicely observed touches we recognise from our own lives, as Mum picks Trixie up on her grammar and then proceeds to get completely inappropriate. Lovely stuff.
(Love Trixie’s reaction to the Time Wastrel’s into – “Have you had a stroke?”. From Trixie Biker vs. The Time Wastrel by Matthew Craig.)
This time round Trixie is up against the Time-Wastrel, not so much a villain as a slightly strange, eccentric weirdo with a time obsession and a desperate yearning to make things better, and change them back the way they were. But alongside the fun off-kilter superhero story there’s the tale of Trixie Biker’s alter-ego; Jane Jasper, and her struggles with her boss, her workload, and most of all her inability to get a date with the dishy bloke in the office. Just like previous Trixie Biker comics, it’s this part of the story is what makes it worthwhile, that marks it out as different and well worth your time.
To keep up to speed on Trixie Biker, Craig’s produced a one page webcomic origin story; The Ballad Of Trixie Biker, also available as the Trixie Biker Bootleg at shows. Well worth your time to seek it out.
Tryhard & Tearaway continues Craig’s superhero theme, as two very normal Welsh schoolboys receive superpowers from Y Ddraig Goch Fawr, the legendary Welsh Dragon.
Manolis Jones gets the combined strength of the Welsh rugby team, whilst Darren Lloyd gets a inpenetrable jacket fashioned from dragon scales. But almost straight away we’re back into real life, joining the boys at their school, suffering through another miserable P.E. lesson at the hands of the Wally Windsor (in a loving nod to Windsor Davies, circa It Aint Half Hot Mom). Windsor’s elitist tactics on the playing field ring so true to a generation of kids who didn’t make the football team and were simply left to their own devices whilst the games teacher spent all lesson honing his team.
Later on, we get a chance to see the boys flex their superheroing muscles, having to stop an all too familiar bunch of very young bank robbers, and it’s over almost before it’s begun. Simple, but nicely played out stuff.
Some of Craig’s work is available to read at his website, along with print versions to buy. And he’ll be at BICS this weekend, as well as Thought Bubble in November with these comics and the new Bostin’ Heroes. Make sure you stop by and say hello.