Every day this week the Guardian and Observer are running facsimile editions of classic British comics. Today's Roy Of The Rovers is a brilliant facsimile and fun to read, but I have one big problem with these comics in the Guardian - they make it look like comics were crap!
We've had a Beano from 1980 and a Roy Of The Rovers from 1981. The Beano shows that precious little has changed in its storytelling style in 29 years and is pleasantly nostalgic, but the Roy, ostensibly for an older reader, is atrocious. The artwork is as dull as comic art has ever been and the storytelling style wouldn't have been out of place in a 1950s Tiger comic.
This is a comic from December 1981. A time when 2000AD was at a high, with Alan Moore's Time Twisters & Robo Tales, Wagner & Grant's Judge Dredd and Pat Mill's Nemesis. This is the very month Warrior was launched, with V For Vendetta and Marvelman. I vaguely recall StarLord or Tornado may still have been going, certainly the relaunched Eagle was. And Dave Gibbons was drawing some of the best Dr Who strips there have ever been.
And what do the Guardian show the public, as the state of the art of comics in 1981? Roy of the bloody Rovers. I cannot imagine a single person looking at that travesty of comic art being in the least bit surprised that Britain doesn't have a comics industry any more if, at our peak, that's the best we could do.
It's like summing up the best TV of 1981 by showing an episode of Triangle.
And don't get me started on the article in Saturday's Guardian Guide about Misty comic. If we're setting records for factual inaccuracy, (how about the suggestion that Sid's Snake was the first animal in a comic strip because they'd previously been banned because they scared kids?) My poor poor favourite artform.