Desert Island Comics – Episode 75 – Metaphrog

Published On November 9, 2014 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Desert Island Comics

Here we go again, dropping another comic artist, or in this case a couple of comic makers, onto their very own desert island. Yep, we don’t only own a number of excellent stores in the UK and one in New York, we’re also the proud owners of a series of tiny Pacific islands ideal for setting down our latest castaways.

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This week we have Sandra and John, the duo who comprise Metaphrog, whose work we’ve been reporting on for many years. You’ve seen their graphic novels telling the tale of Louis over the years, seen their most recent graphic novel promoting creativity Time To Shine. The pair are also powerful and passionate advocates of comics, spreading the word far and wide through the work in schools and libraries across the country. So, given the choice of a mere eight comics to take with them once marooned, what would they pick… read on…

And in case you’re wondering… I reckon we’re going to give them an island each and copies of all eight books each – oh, we’re so generous.

Desert Island Comics – Episode 75 – Metaphrog


Building Stories by Chris Ware:

A new way of looking at stories. Quite close to what it’s like being human – mixing the mundane, thoughts and turmoil, the story is inconclusive, much like life as you are living it (i.e.: before you die).


Tintin, The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé:

A classic, still very modern even though it’s so old. Nothing happens in this story, and yet it’s a real page turner. (Tintin is (c) Moulinsart)


Fog over Tolbiac Bridge by Jacques Tardi:

Atmospheric French noir, adapting the best adventure of anarchist PI Nestor Burma by Léo Mallet. Tardi captures Paris so well, you feel that you are there as you read it.


The Arrival by Shaun Tan:

Eerie and oneiric, a universal story constructed from fragments of familiar stories that reaches deep in to the human heart.


Paul Auster’s City of Glass adaption by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli:

a wonderful use of the comic medium, deepening and strengthening the themes and ideas in the original short from The New York Trilogy.


True Swamp: The Memoirs of Lenny the Frog by Jon Lewis:

The swamp creatures come alive through timeless, colourful dialogue and quirky ideas.


Through the Habitrails by Jeff Nicholson:

Dark Kafkaesque tales, often bleakly humorous, always rewarding.


Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes:

when you are alone on an island, or even among friends, it’s good to have a comic with a dog with no orifices.



The rejected one: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson:

This was their first choice  and couldn’t be allowed , but I figured it was worth putting in just so you could see it…

This is a deluxe box set reprinting all the Calvin and Hobbes strips in three big fat volumes. With its brown cloth covers and gold serif lettering, it looks a bit like a set of encyclopedias. There’s enough material there to last for weeks of leisurely reading. Calvin and Hobbes remains our favourite newspaper comic strip. It’s philosophical and witty while still being silly, and captures childhood as well as adulthood all at the same time. In just a few panels, it completely transport you to another world of long summers and cosy winters.

The final one:

A sketchbook with pencils for Sandra and a wind-up gramophone with LPs by The Fall for John.

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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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