I was in the children’s section of the bookshop yesterday and noticed some words that kept popping up. Take the words: vampire, zombie, alien or space – then combine them with the words: pirate, mummy, dino and pants – in almost any combination you like: eg: Mr vampire zombie pants and the egyptian dino space pirates -and you could have a hit book on your hands!
Well what are you waiting for???
Or am I the last author to have realised this?
There is one book with the word ‘pants’ in the title, however, I would like to recommend – for older comics fans. Not so much a graphic novel, as a graphic life story. If you haven’t caught up with the work of Eddie Campbell yet, I strongly suggest you get a copy of ‘ALEC: The Years Have Pants.’ (Top Shelf)
You will not find muscular heroes and villains carving each other to shivering bits within – but instead, tales of everyday life. In his early years ALEC conveys the magic of discovering friendships and where you belong among them. Later, in one of my favourite eras, Eddie explores the bitter-sweet pangs of leaving your homeland to live in another – in this case tropical Australia – a place where a whole herd of cattle crowd under the shade of a single billboard in the outback.
The great French film director Jean-Luc Godard once said of Jacques Tati, that he was the one person working in cinema who gave the impression he could have invented it. Similarly, i’d say of my Mr Campbell, that he has such a magical gift for comics, that if they weren’t there he could surely have made them up.
So, if you must buy a book with pants in the title (and you’re an adult) this is the one!
Why pants? Why are they funny? I’ve paused the world (sorry all alien invaders poised to attack out there) to contemplate this.
Pants are something only those close to us get to see. In just our pants we are half-naked, not really ready to face the world. We are not in a position to answer the door to the Queen or with true dignity fight off a burglar.
Pants are half-way to being rude – and half-way to being rude is what kids like.
To grown-ups the word destroys formality and gets to the smelly and often shambolic truth of things.
I have just told my wife I am writing about pants an she texted back ‘I am living it’.
Finally, while I’m recommending adult comics, I point any horror fans out there to the darkly intelligent Lords of Misrule (Radical publishing) from John Tomlinson and a host of other horrible people. If you know that wicker is not just for making shopping baskets and that old ladies are not always sweet knitters of shredded wheat then this is for you. Don’t be callow, have a good wallow.
Exits pursued by a bear (in pants)