In case you haven’t heard, Titan Books have recently began to expand their comic book offerings with a new imprint, Titan Comics. One of their newest releases is an anthology issue of Psycho Gran by David Leach. Currently only available online on Comixology, the issue collects brand new material of a character seen intermittently in British comics since the late 80s.
Psycho Gran follows the titular character as she deals with everyday rudeness and other little inconveniences. I use the term ‘everyday’ loosely as although some situations are amusingly familiar, Psycho Gran often deals with them in ridiculous and funny ways that would have you arrested were you to try them out. The length of each story is very short, some are just a single page, but it fits the tone well as it means the stories deliver a quick punchline. Reading the issue feels more like reading a book of illustrated jokes or even watching a comedy sketch show, than reading the average comic book. The only side-effect is that the issue feels like it’s over a little quick despite the healthy page count, I felt encouraged to keep reading at a fast pace rather than lingering on any particular story. That said, that’s not exactly a bad thing since I did genuinely want to keep going as the jokes were pretty funny!
One thing that struck me is it feels like a very “British” comic book, evoking memories of comics like the The Beano or The Dandy from a couple of decades back, to use some famous examples. Obviously that’s no surprise as those are similar to the sorts of places where the character previously popped up, but if you were unaware then one glance at the comic and you could certainly guess at its origins.
The colourful art is stylised and cartoonish, it’s simple and an appealing fit for the format. Since the stories are overboard and far from realistic any other style would have clashed. It almost has an underground comix feel to it. Fear not younger readers, the content is nothing as risqué as what you’d expect from those salacious sixties comics, but the art has a similar slant on reality.
Speaking of the tone, the stories are a little bit more adult than you might expect with aggressive looking thugs as villains early on and even someone’s bare skull exposed, but there’s nothing done in an overly explicit or gruesome manner and even any mature dialogue is censored. The official age rating is 12+ and I’d consider that fairly on the mark. Nothing goes beyond what you’d see in a 12A movie, if you’re planning on getting it for a younger child though I’d have a read of it yourself first and decide if you think it’s suitable. The majority of the stories are perfectly fine for all ages though, they usually rely on toilet humour or nonsensical solutions that kids will likely get a kick out of.
Overall Psycho Gran is a fun and amusing collection of stories. If you’re an American reader who is only used to modern comics, then this should be quite a refreshing read that’ll likely remind you of today’s webcomics more than anything else. But British readers who spent time with comics in their youth will feel right at home here. If you’re looking for something light and amusing, without any continuity to speak of, then Psycho Gran #1 is a good choice.