Review: A Handful Of Groats…

Published On August 26, 2013 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

A Handful Of Groats

Rob Jackson.

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Rob Jackson’s already given us comics in so many genres – from high fantasy to autobiographical ice-cream tales to mythological comedy. It was only a matter of time before he got around to a western, albeit one with knights in shining armour, set somewhere in Middle Ages England. But if anyone can pull that off, it’s Rob Jackson.

No, seriously, it’s very much a western, you should get that from the title alone. In fact, the only disappointment here is that Jackson didn’t go the whole hog and do his cover as a Middle Ages homage to the man with no name’s classic film poster.

So, exactly how is this medieval tale a western? Well, there’s the mysterious knight with no name wandering into a town under threat from troublesome gangs riding roughshod over the townsfolk. There’s fighting and violence, there’s plans, there’s even something of a posse towards the end. Classic western ideas.

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Oh, yes, after the mysterious knight wanders into town the innkeeper is soon dishing the dirt on the town’s woes. The sons were soon going about expanding their estate, and empire building soon found them stepping all over the toes of the Bishop of Sandbury. The two factions are now caught in a vicious stalemate, with the townsfolk caught in the middle.

The knight sees the problem, sees a potential source of Groats and starts cleaning up the neighbourhood, although to be honest the desire to see the town free of oppression is secondary to the whole getting Groats thing. From here it’s action and adventure all the way, the knight playing one side against the other, thinking of the money all the time. There’s fighting, kidnapping, torture, bloodshed, and a surprise as to the knight’s identity.

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And it’s all done with Jackson’s familiar style, all invention and energy over finely honed craft. No, that’s probably a little unfair, Jackson’s artwork is best described as raw, maybe even crude or naive, but that’s never been a thing that puts me off with a comic, as long as there’s strong storytelling I can enjoy it, fine art or naive art, it’s immaterial.

And Jackson’s capable of great storytelling, which he shows here. All the way through. It’s a very simple tale, very straightforward stuff, but the genre twist and the sheer fun of seeing it all through to the end. Fun stuff, and well done fun stuff, a grand little medieval western tale.

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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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