I’ve talked about this comic before. It’s been published intermittently over the last twenty years. Creative teams have split over it. Its narrative isn’t even in one continuity, spinning off along the way.
It’s called Sleaze Castle. And it marries strange interdimensional reality hopping with the most mundane elements of modern life. It takes illuminated flights of fantasy, fills them with some of the strongest comedy and in depth references and then grounds them with the most natural of reality. Imagine Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy crossed with Cerebus and the work of Mike Leigh. I have never seen anything so successfully switch from cosmic tomfoolery to the details of Monday’s shopping list so effortlessly.
It began with More Tales From Sleaze Castle by David McKinnon and Terry Wiley, the story of a Newcastle university student at the Sleaze Castle halls of resident, who discovers that her roommate was actually an interdimensional ruler trapped in this world as part of scientific research that went ary. And now she’s back to take Jocasta on a wonderful and weird journey with her alien and dimensionally challenged friends.
Self published in the North East of England, I came across it when at university in Newcastle and was blown away. At a time when I was moving away from superhero comics, reading Sandman, Cerebus, Love And Rockets, Hate and Naughty Bits, this seemed to fit right in.
The book ran a prequel, Tales From Sleaze Castle before the series relaunched as plain old Sleaze Castle with Terry Wiley writing, over strain between the pair. The spinoff title Petra Etcetera was created by Terry, co-written with the late Adrian Kermode. Terry also write and illustrated a series of short prose stories set at Jocasta Dribble’s school Tycho Brae, also featuring a character of which then would also star in her current title Verity Fair. This is a wide ranging book that rewards reading and rereading.
And now, I’m told, that British publisher Markosia has done a deal to republish the while thing digitally, with omnibus-style print volumes to come. For 99.9% of the comics industry, this wil be a completely fresh book coming out of the blue – so expect lots of New Talent awards to go to the team.
For most Americans this has been a hard comic to get, even if you knew about it. Very soon, there will be no excuse.
Man, you’re going to love this. Love love love this.
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