||[May. 11th, 2009|09:30 am]
100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)
#42 PLATINUM GRIT – Trudy Cooper, Danny Murphy
“Great news! Weird stuff! An’ everything!”
In the glory days of ancient times, a period of about five years that started in 1993, a boom in independent comics publishing meant that black-and-white comics brought out by suburban operations could fight for space on the newsagent shelves between Batman and X-Force. Platinum Grit was one of the best of these, an Australian series about the lives of a timid inventor in a Foreign Legion hat named Jeremy and a professional blonde bombshell named Nils, drawn with perfect screwball comic-book comic timing and expressive faces.
Each of Platinum Grit’s plots is more absurd than the last. In the first storyline Jeremy discovers he’s about to inherit his Scottish family’s castle, incongruously placed in rural Australia, but only if his psychotic, immortal cousin, Dougal Mackwikkening, doesn’t kill him first. It’s a sort of parody of Highlander, with Dougal driving around listening to a version of Queen’s We Will Rock You that instead goes, “You will / you will / kill them.” From there it launches into a hard-boiled private eye yarn when they are investigated by a suspicious detective unable to keep fiction and reality straight and a science fiction story that begins with their abduction by aliens.
While this is going on, there’s a lot of very funny cruelty to animals and dialogue full of baby talk and thick accents. Jeremy’s mad Aunt Lotte even writes in a Scottish brogue, ending a letter, “Afore aught else gangs agley, cam oop tae the castle an’ see me. Ere I die would be guid.” Platinum Grit’s humour has the absurdity of British sketch comedy and a touch of the manga love triangle; later it introduces a cynical journalist named Kate who is obsessed with Jeremy, believing no one could actually be that gormless and timid. The awkward relationship between Jeremy and Nils – he of course secretly loves her, which she callously manipulates for laughs – is what holds the comic together. Apart from that, everything is up for grabs.