Seven kinds of crazy
The Bojeffries Saga
Publisher: Top Shelf
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Steve Parkhouse
Ah, the saga of the Bojeffries family. Best spoken of in a Will Smith Agent J voice, making mention of “all kinds of crazy-@$$ sh*t”. Because that’s exactly what this kind-of-lost delight is – and there’s a sewage-truckload of it, too.
First appearing in the late 1980s in British comic Warrior and going on to come out every now and then in that mag as well as anthology magazines like A1 and the odd (extremely odd) compilation, The Bojeffries Saga then fell off the radar for a few years.
Until last year, that is, when Top Shelf put together this complete, and for the moment completed, collection.
“Completed” because Messrs Moore and Parkhouse put together an all-new 24-page tale, Before They Were Famous, for fans to catch up with the family in the intervening years since they were last seen.
Who exactly are the Bojeffries, er, Bojeffrieses? There’s a question.
Kind of a Munsters, Dark Shadows and Coronation Street mash-up by way of The Great Old Ones, the family is a bizarre collection of: some ordinary-seeming types, a vampire, a werewolf, a slowly decaying/degenerating/evolving mass (think of him as “Grandpa Fester”), a nuclear-powered baby, and the ... indescribable daughter, Grinda, who can “calculate the number of molecules in a neutron star without moving my lips”.
She’s a keeper, that one – as in, she’ll decide if you’re worth keeping, like the grit under her toenails.
The Bojeffries family faces all manner of threats in these short stories, from rent collectors to neo-Nazis, newsboys to seaside vacations. Yes, threats – after all, when you’re such a unique group living in the very ordinary setting of a Northampton council house, heck, anything that isn’t Lovecraftian, or at least a
former tenant of Hammer Film Productions, is a threat.
So too do the Bojeffrieses need to shielded, in much the same way as the Munsters and Addamses were always the real innocents, needing to be sheltered from the rest of society.
Their saga offers a wonderfully nostalgiafilled snapshot of British society (hey, we do get the tabloids over here too) and pop culture of the times. The singles/club scene has seldom been dealt with – or should I say, dismissed – more seriocomically than in the hilariously ironic Sex, With Ginda Bojeffries. And then there are just amusing diversions like the vampire Uncle Festus’ effort to get home from an earlyearly
morning trip to the shops in Dawn Of The Dead.
An entire story is told as an opera, while the werewolf, Uncle Raoul, goes for his annual company dinner in quite the straight-up funniest tale of the bunch to me.
And those wonderful accessories! Action figures with daft action features? Check. Airfix models of the ocean? Here’s one under the Christmas tree. And speaking of Christmas, what about a hock of half-eaten Santa reindeer? Er ... it just so happens ...
As you may guess from the preceding paragraphs, The Bojeffries Saga is probably one of the most off-the-wall things to come out of Alan Moore’s mind, brilliantly rendered into visual form by Steve Parkhouse.
Before he got all preoccupied with extraordinary literary heroes and slagging his former employers (DC, we’re looking at you), Moore sure knew how to have fun with his work, and it is amply demonstrated over and over again between these covers.
While I did catch some of the Bojeffries strips in A1, my knowledge of the saga was quite limited until now. I will just say that this collection as a whole was certainly not what I expected. In a good way, mostly. Except that Grinda just makes me feel so ... unworthy.