Bringing Classic Brit Comedy Back In Style: Preview The Cor!! & Buster Special

by Richard Bruton

The Cor!! & Buster Humour Special is just that… Special. And funny. And ridiculous. And all delivered in a classic Brit comics style with a twist for today. And it’s coming your way in April from The Treasury Of British Comics.

Cover by Neil Googe

Since Rebellion acquired the lion’s share of British humour comics they’ve begun a grand job of reprinting some absolute classic strips through the Treasury of British Comics imprint, including works by Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale, two absolute masters of comics, who should be included in any list of the greatest comic makers of all-time, up there with Eisner, Kirby, Ditko. And there’s many, many more to come, a wonderful wealth material from some, sadly, often forgotten creators.

But, although reprinting the old works is wonderful, the folks at Rebellion and The Treasury of British Comics are also aware that, no matter how good things are, the reprints are mostly going to appeal to a nostalgia market. It’s a simple, sad, but true reality.

Which is why plans have always been in place to make new comics with these classic characters. We’ve already seen new takes on old names in the Scream! & Misty Specials, the uniquely British superheroing of The Vigilant, and a completely reimagined Roy Of The Rovers.

And now it’s time to make all new funny comics with this Cor!! & Buster Special. Inside you’ll find some wonderfully familiar names and some very funny strips.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s Leo Baxendale’s Sweeny Toddler to tell you all about it…

Inside there are reworkings of many strips, all done as 2 or 3-pagers, meaning there’s a lot of reading and a lot of laughs in the 48-page Special. There’s plenty of love for Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid with Baxendale’s Sweeny Toddler and Grimly Feendish in a couple of wonderful strips and a very different (but very much in keeping with Ked Reid’s original) take on Faceache from Ned Hartley and Steve Mannion, with added Martha’s Monster Make-Up.

SWEENY TODDLER, re-imagined by Tom Paterson
GRIMLY FEENDISH from Ned Hartley and Tom Paterson
FACEACHE from Ned Hartley and Steve Mannion

There’s also plenty of love for another giant of Brit kids’ comics, Robert Nixon, with some fabulous reimaginings of his strips, including Gums, plus beautifully different versions of Kid Kong, and Frankie Stein.

KID KONG – Alec Worley and Tiernan Trevallion
FRANKIE STEIN by Cavan Scott and Mike Hoffman
GUMS – Lizzie Boyle and Abigail Bulmer

Just in those strips featuring characters of three of the very best original creators I think you can really see everything that the Cor!! & Buster Special is all about. You’ve got a number of strips in here, like Paterson’s Sweeney, that are very true to the originals but you’ve also got many that veer off into new looks, new styles, yet always with the spirit of the original. And that’s just as it should be, with strips like Kid Kong, Frankie Stein and Faceache all wildly different in style to the original yet manage to retain all the fun invention and grotesque ridiculousness of the originals.

And all credit to Treasury of British Comics, they’ve cast their net far and wide for these strips, with a great mix of UK names, whether it’s established names from 2000 AD (Alec Worley, Neil Googe etc), existing kids comics creators (Paterson, Robin Etherington, Lew Stringer etc), or new names from both the burgeoning UK self-publisher scene and the increasingly diverse range of 2000 AD specials such as Tanya Roberts, Grainne McEntree, Abigail Bulmer, Sammy Borras, Andy W. Cliff and so many more.

X-RAY SPECS – Grainne McEntree and Sammy Borras

But there are also some great choices from further afield, such as Mannion (Fearless Dawn, Spook House) and Hoffman (Whose work I first saw many, many years ago in the very much NOT all-ages Taboo)

Frankly I could have, indeed I was going to, show you a load of different strips, but everything you need to see is already here. Just trust me on the quality of the whole thing and enjoy the examples here.

We’re going to end with a couple of examples of the range of styles and material in this very special special. Starting with two great stalwarts of Brit comics, John Freeman and Lew Stringer and their ensemble strip, Who’s In Charge? that gives us an insight into the competing egos of the various ‘editors’ involved. It’s silly, funny, breaks the third wall the way all these comics used to do every so often, and as it’s Lew Stringer, it looks just great as well…

WHO’S IN CHARGE – John Freeman and Lew Stringer

And finally, there’s the real strange Swines of Anarchy by The Feek and Pye Parr featuring four very porcine bikers taking on a manky mandrill gang, definitely something you don’t see every day! And yes, that one’s a totally new strip…

SWINES OF ANARCHY – The Feek and Pye Parr

The Cor!! & Buster Special is out 17th March in print and digital. As with a lot of Rebellion releases, the US release is likely to be a little later. But please, please, don’t ignore this one, head to your local comic shop and order it and then pass it on to anyone who enjoys a damn good laugh.

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