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And The John Allison Love Keeps On Coming

I was going to talk about other things today, but I came across a wholly-unexpected big of praise for the exceptionally weird town of Tackleford and its chronicler that I simply have to share.

Readers of this page will perhaps recall the generally high regard I have for The AV Club; I don’t always agree with them, but I can accurately map my likes and dislikes to theirs, which makes them an exceptionally useful resource in navigating popular culture of all sorts¹, plus they have repeatedly had GWAR in to do unlikely cover songs². Today, as part of their weekly AVQ&A feature, they asked staffers which one piece of 201-4-era pop culture they would gift to the entire world, and contributor William Hughes decided on:

I want to give people the gift of consistency in 2014, and that means the collected works of John Allison. Allison has spent the last 16 years posting comics about the residents of the quaint English hamlet of Tackleford, as unlikely a hotspot for supernatural shenanigans as you could hope to find.

It turns out that doing something for 16 years is an exceptional way to get good at it, and watching Allison’s cartooning and dialogue mature over the years has been an absolute pleasure. (His ability to consistently end strips on punchlines that work perfectly in his characters’ distinctive voices is a special delight). Although the density of continuity and the constantly evolving relationships in Allison’s work can sometimes be overwhelming, The Case Of The Good Boy, from the recently concluded Bad Machinery, is an excellent entry point into his melding of supernatural comedy, teenage angst, and deftly executed wordplay.

Hear, hear.

Also, I note that in the first page of The Case Of The Good Boy, Eustace “The Boy” Boyce is walking in the background, a detail I never noticed before, possibly because he spent the time from heading off to uni until his named reappearance last year growing a beard and adding girth; he got rid of both, though, and is back to being the quiet put-upon young man we recall, aka twisted up with impotent rage.

I appear to have been sidetracked, which I believe was Hughes’s point — Tackleford sucks you in, and it’s powerfully difficult to break free again. Give yourself the gift and start reading.

Spam of the day:

It is learned that the defendant has now appealed.Tang Dynasty woman wearing flat shoes Ma, Po, leather and other textures.

You’re mixing messages, spammer. Use legal stories as your cover, or the history of shoes in the Tang Dynasty; don’t just mash them up willy-nilly, that’s just hell of sloppy.

¹ They also have an exceptionally non-horrible commentariat, resulting in their being the one site other than my own where I will regularly read the comments.

² Warning: that third clip will make you miss Oderus Urungus something fierce.

You’ve somehow linked the picture to the next day’s strip, i.e. picture April 12, link April 13.

[Editor’s note: Fixed, and thanks.]

[…] of year-end good news, The AV Club has doubled down on their John Allison appreciation (noted here last week) by naming Bad Machinery one of the Best Comics of 2014, alongside North/Paroline/Braden’s […]

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