By Goscinny and Tabary
We’ll start with the sad news, received a few weeks ago, that we’ve lost another great in the comics world. Jean Tabary, co-creator of the Iznogoud series died on August 18 at the age of 81 years. The Comics Reporter has an excellent obituary and overview of the artists career of over 50 years.
But like all great artists, Tabary’s name will live on through his works. And in the English speaking world, thanks to Cinebooks continued publication of the best in European Bandes Dessinee, this means his work on Iznogoud.
Iznogoud has one idea. Just one. But dear lord, it’s a good one, and this is it, with Tabary’s art that starts every Iznogoud volume:
“In Baghdad, the Caliph’s Grand Vizier Iznogoud has one aim in life: to become Caliph instead of the Caliph. The benign ruler, Haroun al Plassid is blind to his vizier’s scheming to get rid of him and generally had rather take a nap. Iznogoud is faithfully seconded by Wa’at Alahf in trying to put his fiendish designs into action. …Here are the adventures of the Grand Vizier Iznogoud!”
So here you go, this volume has 5 bite sized chunks of ridiculous stories, daft situations, dastardly intent, failure after predictable failure. Whether it’s a dodgy mission to the stars, magic talismans, hats that send the wearer crazy, or simply annoying the Sultan – it’s all beautifully, predictably funny stuff, with wonderful wordplay, delicious punning, and magnificent situations.
Best of all in stories such as Dark Designs Iznogoud sees Goscinny and Tabary playing around with comic AND comical ideas, as a magic pencil gives Iznogoud the chance to erase the Caliph from his life for good. Full of great ideas, great gags, and a beautiful line in self-mockery:
The beauty of Iznogoud is how well Goscinny continues to come up with the Grand Vizier’s ridiculous plots, doomed to fail every time, and how hilarious and inventive they are. And as such, there’s little need to break every volume down in a review. To be honest, all you need is one carefully chosen gag, superbly illustrated by Tabary. That tells you everything you need to know.
Do you think that’s funny? Then you’ll love Iznogoud. Go and buy it.