Deeper and deeper into Verity’s life….. VerityFair #2

Published On January 28, 2011 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

VerityFair # 2

by Terry Wiley

IDCM

By now, you should all know what I think of Terry Wiley:

“I’d really like to think everyone reading this will know who Terry Wiley is, but sadly I just don’t think that’s the case. He’s a longtime writer/artist of the Brit self publishing scene with a track record in magnificent, funny, perfect comic books. If there was any justice in this world of comics Terry Wiley would be well known, with multiple best-selling titles to his name and I wouldn’t have to write this. Hopefully, this time round, there’s enough people on this Internet thing shouting to the heavens about how good Terry Wiley is that he wont be unknown for that much longer. Join us, together we will make Terry Wiley a star. He’ll hate us for it.”

That was written just before I got my hands on Terry’s new comic VerityFair issue 1. Of which I subsequently said:

“This is a masterful piece of comic (and comics) storytelling and carries on Wiley’s fine tradition of being able to write fascinating comics about relatively normal people. More than that, Wiley seems to be able to write such wonderfully realised female lead characters – I’d be interested to get some female opinions on this but I really think he writes completely believable, sympathetic and overwhelmingly real women.”

“It’s early days of course, but (and say it quietly) could this be the best thing Wiley’s ever done? I’m beginning to think so. It’s really that good. Here’s to the return of Terry Wiley, hopefully at the start of an extended return to comics. If they’re all this good, surely fame and fortune, or at least a little recognition will come his way soon.”

Which brings me, not surprisingly, to VerityFair issue 2. And wouldn’t you know it, I was right – it probably is the best thing of his career. I love being right about these things.

Last issue was the introduction to Verity Bournville; jobbing actress, partial to a drink, partial to being loud and currently feeling like her life’s on the up – landing a new acting agency after the last one burnt down means she can stop working at her dad’s fish and chip shop.

But Verity’s life, as much as she tries to put forth a demeanour of manic, wild-child, happy-go-lucky actress does have it’s darker side – and as we saw last issue, she’s been having horrible nightmares recently, nightmares that send her, sobbing uncontrollably, across town and into bed with this bloke:

(Waking up with Mo seems to have done Verity some good – even if it’s only a determination to get to the bottom of these latest nightmares. From VerityFair issue 2 by Terry Wiley)

This midnight run to Mo Stevens is hardly a regular thing – the last time it happened was after the 7/7 bombings – but it’s something he’s obviously used to, no matter how infrequent. And his little comments all go to show he knows her well, maybe even better than she’s really prepared to admit.

However, the overnighter seems to have lightened our girls spirits sufficiently to face the world again and more importantly to face her fellow thesps at the acting agency – cue more funny characters bickering brilliantly over work.

(Verity as Pose Girl – and yes kids, that sort of thing really did happen – just watch this clip of Howard Jones and his bloody mime. From VerityFair issue 2 by Terry Wiley)

Wiley even finds the time this issue to start filling in a little of Verity’s past – it seems Mo and Verity first got together 20 years back or so – just after she was part of a typically dire looking new romantic set of one hit wonders “Boutique X”. Worse yet, Verity’s role in the band was “Pose Girl” – merely there to throw a few shapes and look interesting.

The flashbacks also include Hmm, let’s try that again….. During this issue we also get a glimpse into Verity’s first contacts with psychiatry and her attempts to get her head together back then – something Mo has convinced her to try again, all these years later.

Typically Verity, she’s thrown herself into that with all the vigour she tosses at her acting life and decides, much to the psychiatrist’s surprise, to track down the shrink she last saw many, many years ago:

(Verity sets on the path to recovery? It may be a long journey. From VerityFair issue 2 by Terry Wiley)

VerityFair is really shaping up to be something special. It’s got all the trademarks of a Terry Wiley comic – the great, strong female characters written believably, the wonderful, naturalistic and damned funny dialogue.

But there’s something more – there’s a steel in this one, a dark edge to it – all part of Wiley creating a character we can believe in. Verity may come across as riotously happy-go-lucky but we’ve already seen some of the problems she’s still to come to terms with. There’s obviously going to be more darkness uncovered over time and it’s this gradual dissection of a character that’s so intriguing about VerityFair.

Add all of the funny stuff and the all too believable dialogue to the great characterisation and an all too human lead character and this really is proving to be a great comic from a great artist.

Terry released VerityFair #2 at Thought Bubble back in November 2010. It sold out pretty much straight away – but now he’s got some more and should be available from discerning comic shops across the country very soon. Terry is also taking orders through email/paypal: verityfair@oglanut.org.uk; £2 plus postage for a black&white insides issue, £3.50+P&P for a colour insides.

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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.

3 Responses to Deeper and deeper into Verity’s life….. VerityFair #2

  1. Amy aka James says:

    “The flashbacks also include Verity’s first contacts with psychiatry and her attempts to get her head together back then”.

    I’ve got a copy of VF #2 and I’m sure none of the flashbacks in it include an earlier meeting with a psychiatrist – not even a younger Paulette Truck. Are you sure you’re not thinking of one of the bits set in the present-day?

    These are some great articles about Terry’s work you’re posting though – and after noting Rich’s question in the linked article, I should point out that Terry was willing to sell me a PDF copy of Surreal School Stories at a *very* reasonable price not long ago, so if you’re having trouble finding copies of some of his earlier work an email to the man himself might prove fruitful!

    Actually, I would strongly advise VF fans to check out Surreal School Stories. It’s the only previous story to have featured Verity prominently – and reading it with the benefit of having read some of Verityfair makes you wonder how much more there was behind the lies Verity told about herself as a teenager than just a desire to seem interesting, and just what was being hinted at in Verity’s closing speech to (spoiler!).

    You’re also left wondering just how it is that both Jo and Verity’s careers seem to have stagnated since then – Jo being described as having a “Third class B.A. Hons – and lucky to get that!” (though maybe postgraduate study was progressing better for her…), though admittedly very few people who go into acting will make it big and Verity’s run of small parts in adverts and rather crap former agency may be a pretty typical experience.

    But probably most importantly, you’ll really enjoy it and enjoy seeing more of Verity.

    Okay, I’m rambling. Really enjoying Verityfair!

    Amy.

    • Richard says:

      Yep. You’re absolutely right. There are no flashbacks of Verity in psych consults.
      Looking at my wording, I obviously didn’t mean flashbacks, but was obviously having a moment. Meant to talk about the moment when Verity and Mo are in bed and she’s pondering “drink or shrink” as well as the sequence late on where Verity meets Dr Truck once more.
      All fixed now in the review!

  2. Andrew Waugh says:

    If anyone needed any more reason to read the amazing VF2, but Terry drew me a cameo as a hirsute builder.