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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Serious Comics
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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1st Printing / 1975 / 36 pages / H. Bunch Associates
This is a pretty solid one-man British comic by William Rankin. Rankin's style is loosely based on a long-established British illustration style, but he put his own effective twist on it. He was one of the more accomplished British cartoonists working in the '70s. The comics within Serious Comics are very British in nature and some of the slang or nomenclature just flew over my head. I mean, some of it didn't make sense to me (I didn't "get it"), but other stories were easier to comprehend.

One story features Swedish talk balloons so I couldn't comprehend it at all, but then in the middle of the story Rankin provides a detailed Swedish-English translation guide, which is conceptually funny. Then the story resumes with English talk balloons, but the plotting is too abstract for me to grasp.

One of the longer stories, "Hal & Lucy Nation in 'It's Today, All Day, All Night,'" features a bored housewife having sex with her dog, but all the gratuitous scenes are blocked out by gray screentone shaped in specific silhouettes. At first you're not sure if the censoring came from H. Bunch or the artist, but after the story Rankin provides the one-page "The Mysterious Missing Parts," which features spot illustrations that perfectly match the gray silhouettes in the censored panels. Ranking claims that if you "snip them out and place them in their rightful positions" you will be rewarded with a "secret message." His claim is farcical, but it's another clever concept that I haven't seen before.

A two-pager near the end of the book, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again, Again," is an amusing, allusive slant on a male friend sympathizing with another man who's suffering the burden of faulty romance, yet they speak only theatrical clichés without really addressing the issues. It's an adroit slice of commiseration with a shrewd punchline.

Based strictly on the stories, Americans might be hard pressed to enjoy all of Serious Comics, but it offers its own unique, cosmopolitan form of adult comic entertainment.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.


William Rankin - 1-33, 35-36