Just taking a short breather from the Viz knock-offs, just for a moment. That Smut thing was depressing, and I've spent most of today reading Ziggy, which has got me verging on the suicidal (you'll see what I mean when I eventually get around to covering that one).
The "breather" is for a reason other than reminding myself that good comics exist - for on this approaching Friday, it's Red Nose Day. Raising money for all sorts of good causes (and ignoring the salaries taken by BBC folk), it's mostly a "fun"-based charity. This year has the Beano getting involved, and to be frank, it looks horrendous. Jessie bleeding J, One Direction, Olly bloody Murs, Harry Hill and David Tennant all done in Nigel Parkinson's caricature style.
Yech! Is this REALLY how far imagination can take the Beano these days? Just sticking the obnoxious faces of Saturday evening's television into the otherwise wonderful worlds of Dennis, Minnie and the rest of them? Why not celebrating the medium itself and doing something special with regards to UK comics as a whole? Well, probably because hardly anybody cares about comics anymore, but still.
Let's go back 22 years instead, and take a look at something that seems like it's had a LOT of effort put into it - the Comic Relief Comic.
Comic Relief has several different faces to it - there's the BBC show, in which folk from all over television-town come together and make tits of themselves. There's Sport Relief, where sports personalities do similar. And now there's the Beano, but instead of bringing together a load of comics folk, they just got the X-Factor crowd instead.
In 1991, people DID buy and enjoy comics a lot more than they do now, and of course that means there was more of them around - hence we have this wonderful publication, bringing together DC Thomson's Beano and Dandy crew, along with Judge Dredd, Doctor Who, Dan Dare, Captain Britain, Superman, Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Hunt Emerson, the Young Ones, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, the cast of Fawlty Towers, Edmund Blackadder, the Sleeze Brothers, and hundreds more. All framed around a central, somewhat bizarre Christmas Carol-esque story about red noses conspiring to turn the world population's faces into doorknobs or something.
Want to read the whole thing? Go ahead then, just click on the "Read more" button...
Blimey, all those names! Neil Gaiman, Jamie Hewlett, Mark Millar... Just try and think of someone who DIDN'T contribute.
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh on the Beano there? Do the kids really just want whatever ITV throws their way in the pages of their comics? I'll have to ask one of them next time I see one. Also, can anyone name EVERY character featured in these pages? The cover claims "zillions", I'm thinking around the 200-mark. Ish.
Meanwhile, the Comic Relief Comic cost £1.50 in 1991, with all the profit going to Comic Relief. In 2013 money that's... £5? Maybe? You know what to do etc.
Go and read Ben Baker's 23 Best Bits of Comic Relief Comic.