Best Of British – Seven Artists Solving The Mystery Of Who Killed Round Robin

by Richard Bruton

Who Killed Round Robin… Take one murder mystery, throw in seven great British artists to create the story. Only thing is… they’re making it up as they go along. It started out as an online blog and it’s now been collected for the first time in print.

It could have been a complete mess, but instead, it’s a fabulously funny exercise in storytelling and how much fun it can be to see talented creators having fun…

Lord Robin’s been shot, and stabbed, strangled with a rope, and beaten with a candlestick!

Yes, it’s fun from the very start, full of invention and it’s all got that sense of all involved loving what they’re doing.

The whole thing was originally created on the Who Killed Round Robin blog in 2008. Using the ‘Round Robin’ game idea, of a story created one part at a time by different people but applying it to a comic story, the only real rule being that it had to be a murder mystery that had to be solved by the end. Each page was divided into three tiers, and once one creator added a tier, the next had three days to add the next. The only rule was that Who Killed Round Robin was a murder mystery and it had to be solved by the end.

In terms of the talent involved, there are plenty of familiar names, such as D’Israeli, INJ Culbard, Dave Taylor, whose work you’ll be familiar with on 2000 AD and beyond. But then you have mainstays of the UK scene, whether that’s the brilliant Woodrow Pheonix, Craig Conlan, Colin Fawcett (who sadly passed away, far too young, in 2012 – read this from Nigel Parkinson in memory of him) and finally, Nigel Parkinson, who’s written and drawn pretty much every Beano character over the years.

So you already know that the art is going to be good. But, with a project like this, there’s always the risk that it’s more fun for the creators than it is for the reader. Will the art styles, 3 per page, work as a whole, and perhaps most importantly, will the actual story hang together as more than just a series of moments?

Oh yes, they absolutely do… they work rather amazing well at times. Case in point, this from INJ Culbard (1st tier), Dave Taylor (2nd tier), and Colin Fawcett (3rd tier)…

That’s just one of many pages where it all comes together, the artists looking at what was done before and producing panels that fit perfectly, in style, in look, in colour. In fact, as the project moves on, things just seem to get tighter and tighter, the art styles complimenting each other more often than not, and the overall storyline definitely hanging together to make this a satisfying whole.

Yes, as you’d expect and as you can see in the preview below, the join between each tier can be occasionally jarring, with a new focus, a new thing, happening as each new artist takes their turn, but it’s never too bad, never enough to spoil the enjoyment. And when the artists do really decide to throw us, and themselves, for a big loop, it’s always done to push the story forward, such as when Dave Taylor decides to do this…

Big jump from a mansion murder mystery to outer space sure, but the connection’s still there, as the armoured knights all have the same symbol on their helmets as the knight in the mansion has just found. Yep, it’s all connected!

In just a few pages we go from the mansion and the mystery of who killed Round Robin, into space, discover temporal agents, jump forward and back in time, visit Area 51, discover secret organisations and so much more. As the story goes on it gets more and more involved, more unhinged, more creative, but the fun is always there.

And there’s a real delight in seeing one artist introduce something new, such as when INJ Culbard introduces us to the oddly dressed Detective…

Only to have Craig Conlan immediately switch things around, pricking the pomposity of the introduction perfectly by turning him into something else, with his Creature Constabulary…

And then, a few pages later, the story unfolds with D’Israeli deciding to really go to town… meet Mister Erectile Panda…. and now you’ve heard those three words put together you’ll never be able to unhear them…

And so it goes on, for a wonderful 46 pages, with the artists going nuts over switching things around, really having a blast. So, sit back and enjoy the first few pages…

Who Killed Round Robin – The complete murder mystery blog, written and drawn by Craig Conlan, INJ Culbard, D’Israeli, Colin Fawcett, Nigel Parkinson, Woodrow Phoenix, Dave Taylor. Published by Red & Black Comics. You can find the whole story online at the Who Killed Round Robin blog or you can buy the print version from any of the contributors in person at shows or here on Ebay

(Page 1 – art by INJ Culbard, Dave Taylor, Colin Fawcett)

(Page 2 – art by Craig Conlan, Nigel Parkinson, D’Israeli)

(Page 3 – art by Dave Taylor, INJ Culbard, D’Israeli)

(Page 4 – art by Craig Conlan, Nigel Parkinson, Colin Fawcett)

(Page 5 – art by Dave Taylor, Woodrow Phoenix, Colin Fawcett)

(Page 6 – art by INJ Culbard, Craig Conlan, Dave Taylor)

(Page 7 – art by Nigel Parkinson, Woodrow Phoenix, D’Israeli)

(Page 8 – art by Woodrow Phoenix, Craig Conlan, INJ Culbard)

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