I hate cutesy anthropomorphic characters aimed at adults. I’m tired of Steampunk, and I’m even more tired of people digging up the War of the Worlds to kick it around like a battered old football on a pitch in a Sunday league game. It’s bloody tedious and a pile of arse. I fucking hate it and the hipsters who dress in Steampunk gear, or dress as their favourite cartoon animal when they’re old enough to have grandchildren. I hate nostalgia porn like Downton Abbey for the message it gives. Twee makes me sick. Yes, I’m a grumpy bastard but it’s pish. It really is.
So with this in mind, I should now say I fucking hate Wild’s End. I don’t, even though from the off it’s twee. Sickeningly so.
Tweeness aside, it’s bright, lively and well, nice. The idea to make the characters animals and anthropomorphise them makes sense because it avoids the cliches which have sprung up thanks to programmes like Downton Abbey. This takes you out of that sort of world instantly, yet at the same time it drops you in a world from old British children’s literature which wraps itself around you like an old blanket you’ve not seen in decades.
The writer Dan Abnett understands that the reader will be familiar with this sort of world so still spends time building up life in the quiet village of Lower Crowchurch, which is sadly, quickly broken.
You actually care though because even though these characters are drawn with very, very broad brushstrokes they’re still interesting because of those childhood memories they stir. We all miked Mr. Fox or Ratty, so these types of archetypes mean something to us and when the nasty alien stuff starts happening it’s shocking.
There’s a sprightly joy around Wild’s End. It’s twee yes, but it’s not sickeningly so. It’s not wallowing in the violence that does spring up so it’s a perfectly fine comic to give older children wanting to read an interesting take on the War of the Worlds story. Culbard’s art is always lovely and the entire thing is a huge waft of fresh air. Yes, maybe I’m not such a grumpy bastard after all?