Thursday 28 March 2013

Ah, Poot! is here

Bit of a delay in proceedings there, sorry about that. Accidentally got a "social life" for a few weeks, whoops. Anyway, enough of that sort of nonsense, here's another rude comic from a couple of decades ago. This time it's a GOOD one, and it's called Poot!

Birmingham-based, this one - done mostly by a couple of students from 1985 to 1990. Tim Westall and Jon Marks are their names. It's a bit of an odd one, is Poot!. Very silly, almost childish, but definitely a refreshing change from the violence and misogyny-fuelled Smut. As such, it stands out from most of the Viz clones in that it's still an enjoyable read today (as long as your senses are  subscribed to a certain form of humour).

The fun begins by clicking below:

As I mentioned about four seconds ago, the main "talent" here is Tim Westall, whose anthromorphic characters for Poot! are ridiculously cute - just look again at that front cover above. Without a more discerning glance, you'd happily give that to a human child. Indeed, most of the antics of signature character Sven the Saxophone are fairly family-friendly. Here's Sven trying to improve his sound:

And if it's not a jolly jaunt such as that one, it's a ridiculous pun setup:

Nigel the Orange, meanwhile, whilst just as cute-looking, is a bit "naughtier"...

Made-up swear words and everything! Winston the Cuddly Christmas Pudding is Poot!'s third star. Just as odd as Sven and Nigel, just as cute as well, albeit with more frequent "adult" situations:

Although those "adult" situations are adapted into a cake-based way. Tim's characters seemingly had such appeal back then that it was even possible to buy stuffed toys of them for a while:

I'd love to see a picture of one of those!

Tim's other characters are all equally as discerningly cute, until you actually realise what it is you're reading. Take, for example, Timmy the Tampon:

Or Chubby Miller, the Comical Killer:

And Veronica the Vampire (with a special guest appearance from Timmy the Tampon, of course):

And Johnny Condom, here seen taking a "satirical swipe" at Gray Jolliffe's Wicked Willie:

So far, so vastly different to any of the other knock-offs - Poot!'s almost a genre all of its own. The rest of the comic's cast are slightly more in keeping with what you'd expect in an "alternative" comic, but with an overlying silliness that's (mostly) hard not to enjoy.

Jon Marks is the second most-frequent Pooter, with his characters being mostly "traditional" mischievous folk, only in a very WRONG sort of way. So we have the likes of Sacreligious Sue, who cleans up dog shit with the Turin Shroud:

Simon the Smackie and his skag-tastic dodges:

Norman the Neo-Cubist and his rival, Sammy the Surrealist:

Billy Batchstick and his Magic Matchstick, taking the "rhyming-character-name" trope and running all the way home with it:

Arnold the Anus, another of Poot!'s "star" characters:

Wholly compatible with Mr. Westall's characters as well:

Jon Marks' "main" character would be Young Fred Crombie, the Undead Zombie...

Alex Foulds has a few characters in there too, from Poot!'s resident superhero, Short Fat Ugly Bald Stupid Man:

To master detective Ed Case (a "spot-the-clues" adventure, of sorts):

Meanwhile, Phil Hedgehog did some "busy" pages for Poot!, mostly in the form of "guides" - here's his guide to nostalgia, for example:

And here's a fun activity maze thing, inspired by a memorable Life In Hell cartoon by Matt Groening:

Jim Whittaker did a fair few characters for Poot!, such as Desmond Hoo (thinks he's a Time Lord), the Cabbage Kid (he's been pretending to be a vegetable for the past ten years), and Michael Gorring (He's Different in Every Drorring!), which is just plain nuts - slightly reminiscent of the "comic jam" pages that used to finish each issue of Zap:

There's also plenty of single panel gag cartoons, mostly sent in by readers. These often share a page with "The Slurp Collection", which is just great:

Oh hey look, it's Lee Turnock! 

Of course, it's not all good - nothing that relies on contributions so much can ever be. So here's a couple of Anthony Smith's identikit cartoons:

And then there's Kaptain Komic (not exactly sure who it's by), a fun enough idea that's ruined by a lazy "Ha ha! Drugs!" punchline:

By 1990, Poot! had a circulation of around 50,000 per issue, and it was all looking good until the distributor went bust, and that's where the story of this surprisingly fun little footnote of a comic ends...


In 2009, Poot! made a surprise comeback of sorts:

"Starting again", sort of, numbering the issues from the beginning again, only this time it's "Volume 2". This is how I first happened across Poot!, and the opening pages of this new issue are fairly helpful, introducing (or re-introducing) the cast:

Apart from some new strips starring Winston the Cuddly Christmas Pudding, the "new" Poot! is mostly re-prints, only in full colour. Compare this "original" Nigel the Orange adventure:

With the updated 2009 edition:


The usage of "colour" also did wonders for Young Fred Crombie:

The Cabbage Kid:

Eddie the Embalmer:

And the Evil Robots In The Future:

The "proper" new content is obviously of varying quality. At the bottom end there's Poonarnia, which wouldn't've looked out of place in the Dandy during its dying days:

Whilst on the other side of the towel there's the series of articles looking at Poot! through the years - a fairly convincing bunch of parodies of the various forms of "alternative" publications that have popped up over the last century-and-a-half:

The second incarnation of Poot! lasted for seven issues until the distributors went tits up AGAIN. They've still got a Facebook thing, and the website's still getting updated, so perhaps Sven, Nigel, Winston and the rest of them will come back again one day. That'd be nice.

Meanwhile, this is useful - a chart of sorts that can be used to tick off all the issues of the original run, should this lot have got you interested enough to start looking for it "in the wild":

3/12/13 UPDATE! Sven the Sax himself has posted a picture on Facebook of the Poot! cuddly toys that were advertised, and they're even better than I could ever've imagined:


  1. What a nice summary of Poot!
    Not that I'm biased or anything.
    Shame the distributors kept going bust. Bah!

    1. Cheers, Tim!

      I can't see any way how YOU could be biased, being a totally neutral etc.

  2. Damn, I haven't seen that page in years.
    I had a bit of a falling-out with Poot due to me being a bit of a childish twat and not understanding that comic editors have better things to do with their time than answer my stupid letters - which explains the references to "Bruce Lee Stopcock"(!) in the 2009 issues - but we sorted it out amicably enough and Jim Whitaker is now one of my friends on Facebook.
    Additional trivia - I got a fiver for the car sick joke (as you can see, I wasn't much of an artist back then) and I showed it to a girl at college who was promptly sick for real. Great sense of humour!

  3. I remember being very confused and excited to see a new issue of Poot on sale in 2009! I hope to be equally confused and exciting by its return some day. Definitely more than a point-missing Viz rip-off.