John Cleese ( writer).
John Byrne & Mark Farmer(art)
Titan Books Ltd
John Cleese has made some rum Career choices in the last twenty years or so. A string of expensive
divorce settlements have left him a little strapped for cash and so his work has become more diverse
than in the past. Hence we have the kind of sort of nearly logical collaboration between ex-Python
and ex-pat John Byrne.
DC has a comics imprint called “Elseworlds” which allows them to imagine their characters in places
and situations that the constraints of continuity wouldn’t usually allow. It’s a fun little line that has
allowed Batman to take on Jack the Ripper, Superman to have a boxing match with Muhammad Ali,
and Green Lantern to face the aliens out of Aliens. Superman: True Brit imagines a world where the
infant Kal El, last son of the doomed planet Krypton, crash lands not in the wheat fields of Kansas,
but instead in rural Weston-super-Mare! He then grows up to enjoy all the trappings of a life in jolly
old Blighty. So it’s fun and japes as Superman attends a public school and plays cricket. It's fun and
japes as Superman drinks tea and tries to fix the NHS. Its fun and japes as Superman is scandalised in
the tabloids. It's fun and japes as Superman: True Brit is shite.
John Byrne was once a upon a time considered to be a visionary artist with near-legendary runs
on Uncanny X-Men, Alpha Flight and the series which redefined Superman for a new generation
of comics fans, Man of Steel. His once clean, clearly-defined artwork has become scratchy and
cluttered at some point, almost as if he’s trying to emulate Jack Kirby but getting it ever-so-slightly
wrong. There are two main problems at the core of Superman: True Brit. It’s not just that it's bad-
- although it most certainly is bad-- it’s more that it fails so spectacularly to live up to its creative
pedigree. Additionally it would be very easy to jump to the conclusion that the creators had
never even been to England let alone come from there. Every pathetic sub-Austin Powers British
stereotype gag is trotted out and milked for all it's worth. There are issues of The Beano with more
genuine laughs than this bilge. Much more humour would be expected from the writer/artist of the
hilarious Sensational She Hulk, and the man who wrote the FUCKING DEAD PARROT SKETCH.
|This is probably the best joke in the book.Really.|
If we ever needed a final piece of evidence that the coin of John Cleese’s comedic genius had been
well and truly spent (presumably on yet another divorce), we now have the proverbial smoking gun.
Avoid like the plague. Or the Great Fire Of London. Or the Spanish Inquisition.