Coming from the combined anthological (that’s a word, right?) might of Gill Hatcher (Team Girl Comic) and Adam J. Smith (Khakhi Shorts), Adam + Gill’s Trivia Game is – as you might expect – an anthology, featuring series of strips which vary wildly in terms of tone, style and delivery.
What it isn’t, curiously enough, is a Trivia Game. But given the high quality of offbeat hilarity on display here, that’s probably an acceptable concession to make. Unless, y’know, you actually picked it up looking for a trivia game, in which case, I may have a solution.
So, let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy… Ceej’s Trivia Review!
QUESTION 1 – Bungle (y’know, the bear from Rainbow) is using stilts to help himself to apples from one of his neighbour’s gardens. Does his other neighbour…
A) Come down and help him? After all, apples are delicious!
B) Draw the curtains and get back to their own lives? Life’s too short to worry about the local bears are up to.
C) Call the police and report his larcenous ursine ass?
The first two-page strip, Bungle’s Garden, is an interesting sketch that perfectly showcases the quirky, almost surreal approach of the book. Hatcher’s distinctive artistic style works brilliantly for the strips she illustrates, utilising a deceptively simple approach and displaying a strong gift for visual comedy. Should there be any future installments of Adam + Gill’s Trivia Game, I can see Bungle’s exploits becoming a bit of a cult favourite – in fact, he shows up again in another short story, with the same setup and the same punchline, albeit in a more culinary setting.
QUESTION 2 – Can dogs fly aeroplanes?
A) Sure, why not?
B) Uhh… hang on…
C) A dog?!? Are you kidding me?!?
My personal favourite strip of the entire book, Barkus and the Flight of Terror is a simple one-page gag that had me chuckling out loud on the bus as I read it. Which, for me, is about as enthusiastic an endorsement as you can get. It’s very much my style of comedy, and again, should this anthology become a recurring thing (fingers crossed), I’d absolutely love to see more of Barkus in the future.
QUESTION 3 – How did much-maligned composer Gustav Von Milch finally get his big break?
A) By knuckling down, honing his craft and becoming a superior musician?
B) By penning a sublime composition that came to him in a dream?
C) By fraudulently exploiting a gifted musical Octopus?
The next strip, The Baroquetopus, which is split into two parts over the course of the anthology, is very much in the full-on “Khakhi Shorts” mould, featuring claustrophobic panels packed with detail, a plethora of amusing visual gags, and lots of text. Of all the strips here, this is definitely the most “zine”-y, with a brilliantly absurd premise being delivered in a bawdy, profane style. Smith’s artwork is likely to be a bit of an acquired taste, but there’s no doubting the passion and creativity of his work. Oh, and the juxtaposition between the “powdered wig” era of the comic and the gloriously Scottish dialogue of some of the audience (“Aw Gustav, that was pure amazing!”) works an absolute treat.
QUESTION 4 – How were Pringles potato chips first invented?
A) Procter & Gamble wanted to create a new style of chips to address complaints about broken, greasy and stale potato chips.
B) A happy accident brought about by an unfortunately bendy potato peeler.
C) A Young Mister Pringle accidentally mixed leftover potato corn slop in a rat-infested alley.
Following on from a brief “Peebuckets” interlude from Hatcher (which is pretty much exactly like it sounds), we tuck into the Mr Pringle story from Smith, which purports to tell the “real” story of those irresistible salty parabolas. Once again, the Khakhi Shorts aesthetic is in full flow, with nary a space on the page left unfilled, and plenty of easy-to-miss gags along the way (Iodine flavoured crisps? Yum!). It doesn’t quite have the punch of the Baroquetopus strips, but the amusing Mr Proctor and Mr Gamble, not to mention the gradual metamorphosis of the logo, raise a couple of smiles along the way.
QUESTION 5 – What is widely regarded as the biggest drawback of the recently opened Glasgow Drinking Fountain Complex in Kelvingrove Park?
A) A lack of adequate queuing facilities.
B) General sanitation problems.
C) The fact that a machine forces you to urinate until your body fluid level is diminished enough to activate the fountain.
Perhaps more than any other strip here, Hatcher’s Toilet Fountain serves as a monument to just how gosh darn weird this anthology is. And when you have a collection featuring a Harpsichord playing Octopus and Bungle from Rainbow dancing to the Talking Heads, that’s kinda saying something. Hatcher’s quirky artwork works well in portraying the sheer terror of forced public urination (which is a line I never thought I’d ever write in a review, so there’s that), and the weird hosts of the anthology interviewing the curious drinking fountain’s creator provides a few chuckles.
Okay, so cards on the table time – this collection is weird, and as such, isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It’s a little bit like buckshot comedy, where Hatcher and Smith unload their blunderbuss of the bizarre and hope to do as much damage as possible. And for me, and my own personal sense of humour, there was a hell of a lot to like here.
However, in order for you to fully decide on whether this is going to be right for you, it’s time to answer the final question…
FINAL QUESTION – Should you buy yourself a copy of Adam + Gill’s Trivia Game?
A) Yes! I like sharply written, utterly absurd comic stylings.
B) Yes! I like quirky artwork
C) Yes! I fully realise that this isn’t actually a Trivia Game.
D) All of the above
Say no more. And, in fact, you can grab yourself a copy of this gloriously bizarre creation on Comicsy.co.uk, priced just £3, by CLICKING HERE. What are you waiting for?