Writer: Colin Bell
Artist: Neil Slorance
After a painfully long wait which saw both of its creators being relentlessly pursued on social media for updates by the Fun-loving comic book public, Fun Mudlifter – the star of the multi SICBA Award-winning Dungeon Fun – is back with Pirate Fun: The First Trial, on sale now!
The original plan was for co-creators Colin Bell and Neil Slorance to release the black-and-white (or “special colour it in yourself variant!”) version of the first chapter at this weekend’s Dunfermline Comic Con, with the proceeds going to Little Shop of Heroes’ Books for Schools Charity. Unfortunately, due to the weather that has been decimating the Central Belt all week, the event had to be cancelled, leading to the book being released online, with the proceeds being used to ensure that the Graingers aren’t unfairly out of pocket following these unavoidable circumstances.
To set the scene: back in 2015, I called Dungeon Fun “hands-down the best all-ages independent comic to come out of the UK in… well… quite possibly ever”, and that’s a claim I wholeheartedly stand by almost three years later. Thankfully the chemistry between Bell and Slorance is as captivating as ever here, with a blend of silly puns, dad jokes and gentle humour that combine to make this a genuinely all-ages affair.
Story-wise, we pick things up in the aftermath of the revelation that Fun Mudlifter’s mother and ill-begotten father were actual Pirates, with Fun trying to follow in their footsteps with a swashbuckling career of her own. And right from the opening pages, with feature a fantastic Piratey musical number extolling the virtues of Craig’s mum’s cooking, it’s clear that the creators haven’t lost a step when it comes to bringing this brilliantly bonkers world to life.
I’m not going to delve to much into the detail of the story itself because A) it’ll diminish the impact, and B) you’re already going to be buying this one for yourself, right? Suffice to say that – in addition to some familiar faces like Sir Games (a Knight of considerable clout, donchaknow) – Slorance and Bell don’t hold anything back when it comes to bringing new characters into the fold, from mean pirates to magical pixie boys to a tyrannical Merman (Manmaid?).
Slorance’s artwork remains brilliant in its simplicity, with a distinct and humorous style and some thoroughly inspired character and monster designs (seriously, there’s a thing that’s made up of loads of other things midway through this issue that’s just… well… you’ll see for yourself). Granted, his work doesn’t quite pop in the way it usually does due to the lack of colour, but there’s still more than enough charm here to keep the pages turning, and if anything, it just makes the prospect of the eventual full-colour graphic novel release all the more unmissable (coming to Kickstarter in late 2018!)
So here’s the deal. If, after reading this review, you don’t immediately click on the link below and grab yourself either a regular or signed-and-sketched copy of this comic, then I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Sorry. Dungeon Fun was absolutely genius, and Pirate Fun is shaping up to deliver more of the same, and I challenge anyone to make it all the way through these 32 pages without chuckling to themselves at least once. Game on, dingalings!
You can grab yourself a copy of Dungeon Fun: The First Trial for £5 (or £10 for a copy that has been signed and sketched by Colin and Neil), by CLICKING HERE. Yes, it’s a little higher than the usual price point, but as I mentioned, Dunfermline Comic Con really needs this help in order to survive, so it’s a genuinely worthy cause.
And, if you don’t like Fun for some reason (or feel like giving more than the prices above), then you can go ahead and donate directly to the Gofundme page by CLICKING HERE.