RIP Terry Wiley
Markosia, earlier this week, posted the notice that Terry Wiley has passed away.
Many American comic readers won’t know of his work, but I loved all of his series I read: the connected Sleaze Castle, Petra Etcetera, and Surreal School Stories and the more recent digital graphic novels VerityFair. That last follows an older actress trying to get work in a world getting progressively weirder, which is the kind of material Wiley excelled at, stories of everyday but distinctive people having strange encounters.
Verity has been having enough trouble trying to find a decent part to pay the rent without also being plagued by a mysterious nightmare about her old deceased classmate Lucy Sherman. With the help of her on/off boyfriend Maurice ‘Mo Sevens’ and psychiatrist friend Doc Truck, she tries to get to the bottom of the mystery! Everything seems to be going OK until she receives a call from another old school friend, Una, breaking the news that Lucy has just died… but isn’t Lucy dead already?
Sleaze Castle, written by Dave McKinnon, was even better, with a university student finding out that her friend is actually royalty from another planet. The followup, Petra Etcetera, has less SF, more everyday life in the 80s. It’s wonderfully cartooned and terrific to read. Steve has a more comprehensive obituary where he describes Sleaze Castle as having stories that
meandered from tales of student life at Newcastle University and coping with family crises, to tales of time travel and bizarre encounters with characters such as Ralph (an anteater) and Dweng (a zombie) along the way. It’s strong and likeable cast and offbeat storytelling that delighted in surrealistic interludes, earned the comic a steady following.
Lead character Jo Dribble was a media studies student, so between the nickname and the area of schooling, I really liked her.
Sleaze Castle is available in one giant print collection (that also includes the Petra Etcetera material) or several digital collections, in which case you’ll also want the Petra Etcetera digital comic. The six issues of Surreal School Stories, which is a kind of illustrated text paper, I have no idea. I’m glad I have the afternoon off so I can re-read them all and appreciate Wiley’s storytelling.