The Bojeffries Saga
The Bojeffries Saga is my favorite Alan Moore title. It’s got a strong sense of humor, for one thing, and while the writer is almost single-handedly responsible for shaping the dark and introspective US comic market from 1986-1993 (with Watchmen, which launched the grim’n’gritty trend; Swamp Thing, a key title responsible for the Vertigo imprint; and V for Vendetta, among other works), many of his comics are too depressing for me to truly love them. (And thankfully, this book doesn’t include rape, as so many others of his stories do.)
The Bojeffries are one of those weird and wacky families in the vein of the Addams. These stories, some of which were created decades ago (although there’s no reprint information included), start with Dad taking his son batfishing on the rooftop for the first time. It’s an utterly pointless tradition, but it’s a tradition they will continue nonetheless. Such is the British family, the subject of the parodies here.
The new introduction by artist Steve Parkhouse explains that he “had forgotten what it was like to have fun with drawing. But throughout its entire run the Bojeffries has been sheer, unmitigated fun.” And that appeal, the joy of creation, comes through its pages. Perhaps I don’t get all the gags, since I’m not living in the UK years ago, but the characters are both oddly off-putting and yet welcoming. They’re caricatures in the grand European tradition, wildly distinctive faces in black-and-white pen-and-ink.
The rent collector discovers that the family of oddities is missing from all official records, all the while narrating the novel of his life to himself. There’s a werewolf man-about-town (in a ridiculously 70s leisure suit), a gelatinous monster in the backyard, an unlucky vampire just trying to do his shopping, and a sadistic brute of a daughter trying to pick up men at the local bar. A new, 24-page story looks at the family “After They Were Famous”, satirizing the TV coverage of the characters after one of them becomes a famous author.
Retailer Mike Sterling points out that this doesn’t reprint exactly all the material from the earlier collection — the 1992 book was in color and had a few insert items that aren’t included here. Still, the comics are easily available now, and quite the enjoyable read. The publisher’s website has a preview available. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)