Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Bog Paper - fit to wipe with?

In 1989, the UK arm of Marvel made a couple of efforts to "get in on" the humour comic racket. One of these attempts, It's Wicked!, took the Monster Fun approach of having all its characters embody "spooky" characteristics, and whilst mostly dull, it had its moments. The OTHER comic launched in 1989 (and not even lasting as long as It's Wicked!, which didn't make it to its 20th issue) went for a theme that everyone can relate to:

Yep, it's The Bog Paper, the comic of toilets, shitting, pissing and farting. Is it as bad as it sounds? Squat down and find out!

For such a scatty subject, Marvel got a fair few "respected" comics-folk involved - some might say anything for a bit of cash, some might say it's a good excuse to draw stuff that their usual employers would never let them do. 

John Geering (of Bananaman fame) does a fair few of the strips in here, as well as the cover. The comic's "mascot" of sorts is a sewer-travelling superhero called Flush Gordon, and the first issue starts with his origin story:

Maybe you find that kind of stuff funny, maybe you don't. The kid's reaction to Flush's appearance is funny enough in itself - one of Geering's other creations, Smudge, would feel right at home in this comic! Anyway, Flush Gordon travels around the sewers of the world, popping out of toilets wherever help is needed. Of the four issues I've read, his trip to Australia's my favourite:

Rude Goollitt is an obvious play on Ruud Gullit, here with the "rude" part of his name played up to make him a stinking, filthy, ill-mannered sod with no respect for anyone.

So not much different to most footballing folk then (ha ha ha etc).

Next up is Doctor Phoo (not to be confused with Doctor Poo of Viz fame). His Tardis is an outhouse and his K-9 is a toilet on wheels called WC1. In this particular adventure, fed up of the moanings of his wife and neighbor, the Doctor goes looking for friendly faces and makes a "hilarious" faux-pas:

Gordon Bell (creator of Pup Parade and Spoofer McGraw amongst other things) is here too, with three different strips. The Gents are the bathroom-based adventures of two toilet-door signs:

Then there's the truly disgusting Dampers, a baby using his natural scatological abilities for mischievous purposes:

And finally Super 'Lu, a confusing mess of a story - is this really the obvious solution to eating hot chilli powder?

Barrie Applyby's here too, and what's more he's brought over his own Winnie Witch Doctor from It's Wicked!:

This one doesn't follow the same "themes" as the other stories, so on a speculative level, it's POSSIBLE that Barrie had done more Winnie strips than there were issues of It's Wicked! to fit them in. Just a thought. Likewise, the other character of Barrie's in The Bog Paper doesn't seem to fit in with the others - this is Anty:

By the 11th issue, however, Anty seemed to be more "in keeping" the rest of the grotty folk:

Other characters of The Bog Paper include King John:

Chicken Vindaloo, about a chicken (looking not unlike Marvo the Wonder Chicken) and his continuing attempts to escape various chefs (mostly through the breakage of wind):

Spenda Penny, concerning the various misadventures of a young girl's bathroom visits:

The Stynx, who is unlikeable even by Bog Paper standards:

And finally, my favourite of the lot - Royston Roylette (He Always Buys A Toilet), about an apparently VERY wealthy young boy who returns home every day with another toilet - all due to the bizarrely sneaky tactics of Mr. Store Personmanager:

And just to show how much I like this one - here's the rest of them!

So, there we have it. As bad as you thought? Or maybe better than you thought? As with everything else on the planet, it's all subjective, and obviously the execution of it all helps. Scat and "gross-out" humour can be funny if done right (Viz, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Beavis & Butt-Head are proof of this), and it can be either terrible or just plain embarrassing if it's not done right (see Boogerman or Boogaz or this bit from Family Guy). But then again, you might hate Ren and Stimpy's antics but love that Family Guy bit. Subjective, subjective, subjective!


  1. Another one I knew nothing about 'til now. I wonder if they were distributed in Scotland? Don't think I missed much by the look of it.

  2. Wow, you really are isolated up there then? At least you got Electric Soup and Khaki Shorts... right?

  3. Just like the Dandy Extreme! In a way it was ahead of it's time

    1. Congratulations on posting the 200th comment on this blog!

      At least in this there's no photographs of kids licking dog turds.

    2. That photo in Dandy Extreme of a kid supposedly licking shit off his hand was wrong, wrong, wrong. Paedophilia and coprophilia in one handy photo - not what you'd expect from a children's comic.

    3. Too true - a cartoon's one thing, but an easily imitatable photo's something else entirely.

  4. I must admit I’ve gone through my stage of bemoaning The Bog Paper to anyone who’d listen (at comics conventions mostly) and now I’m just saddened by it. You can hear the discussion at Marvel UK: “Oink did alright with a near-the-knuckle comic, not quite Viz, why don’t we have a go?” Oh dear. While you don’t quite say so, Geering, Bell and Appleby were far better than this comic deserved – Flush Gordon was simply Bananaman with loo rolls instead of bananas – although it was a canny move to employ their talents. Even so, don’t remember any of them all through The Bog Paper. I don’t suppose Dr Phoo’s presence eased the loss for Dr Who fans whose favourite show was cancelled soon after The Bog Paper began. The British Library holds 11 issues of this sorry title; if there are any more I’m not going to look them up. The comparisons with Dandy Extreme are interesting but it doesn’t change the fact that at the time this whole comic was conceptually … wrong.

    1. Fair criticisms all round - although you have to admit it's better than Marvel UK's OTHER "original" comic, It's Wicked, which seemed to depend on the popularity of Ghostbusters to sell.

      I'll stand by my stance that Geering's Royston Roylette is a high class bit of comedy though.

      I've never known the answer to this one, so I'll ask away - when the British Library holds a copy of everything ever published, can anyone just go in and read them? There's a fair few things I've heard of but never been able to get my hands on, and that could fill a day next time I'm in London...

    2. BL’s a library of last resort, so you’d have to justify the reasons for your research; the fact a given title’s not available elsewhere generally sees one all right but I suggest consulting their terms of admittance. I’m still not convinced there’s anything laudable about the Bog Paper. I think the final word on the subject should go to Toonhound’s Frazer Diamond, to whom I grumbled about its multifarious shortcomings many moons ago: “The Bog Paper? My arse!”