The PopCult Bookshelf
Alan Moore is hailed as a revolutionary who changed the world with his deeply serious work on “Swamp Thing,” “Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta,” and “From Hell.” From the tone of most of his interviews over the last decade, Moore comes across as an embittered, humorless, self-involved artiste who takes himself way too seriously. This tends to obscure the fact that Alan Moore has always possessed a wicked sense of humor with a very healthy dose of Dadaistic absurdity that places him somewhere between Monty Python and Douglas Adams on the “really funny British person” scale.
Steve Parkhouse is no slouch either. He’s an unjustly overlooked talent, with cartooning skills on par with Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd and Brian Bolland.
If you want to see Alan Moore’s sense of humor on display in full bloom, you have to read “The Bojeffries Saga,” his collaboration with artist Steve Parkhouse. The first of these stories was published in Warrior Magazine (the mag that gave us “V For Vendetta” and “Marvelman”), while later stories were done for the anthology “A1” and a few earlier collected editions. This new volume collects every story published, along with a new 24-page chapter that wraps everything up. It’s taken thirty years to get to this point, and you really ought to dig in.
“The Bojeffries Saga” tells the story of Jobremus Bojeffries, the patriarch of a not-so-typical British family living among the Council Flats. For one thing, there’s his dad. Grandpa Bojeffries is, “in the last stages of organic matter” and is a Cthuluesque entity living in the greenhouse out back. His two kids, daughter Ginda, a Hulk like supreme being who can crush cream puffs into diamonds and then eat them, and Reth, the son who looks exactly like his dad, only wearing a British school boy uniform, still live at home though both are full-grown. Uncle Raoul is a werewolf, while Uncle Festus is a vampire who speaks in what appears to be a combination of Egyptian hieroglyphics and mathematical equations. And then there’s the baby, which is kept in the basement because of its thermonuclear radioactivity.
Wikepedia drying observes, “It features an eccentric English family of werewolves, vampires and monsters in various peculiar tales.”
At one point, “The Bojeffries Saga” is self-described as a paranormal soap opera. Another chapter of the saga is presented as a light opera. What’s clear is that “The Bojeffries Saga” is dark, twisted, perverse and hilarious. A new chapter done for the American edition has Jobremus taking his son bat fishing. This is not dark, biting social satire, like some of Moore’s work. This is goofy, macabre fun, with the occasional topical reference tossed in. It’s also British as hell. This book is a real treat for any anglophile with a taste for the twisted.
We have the tale of the rent collector who’s come around to collect the Bojeffries’ £ 32,000 back rent, which has gone unpaid since the reign of Queen Victoria. We also learn of Raoul’s penchant for snacking on poodles, Ginda’s love life, and in one of the newer segments done for the book, we discover what has happened to the Bojeffries family.
“The Bojeffries Saga” by Moore and Parkhouse is simply brilliant. It’s like somebody took The Munsters and a lower class “Downton Abbey” and put them in a blender with the works of Charles Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, and Terry Nation. If you want to experience Alan Moore at his funniest, “The Bojeffries Saga” is the book for you.