One of the best things about being married to a British girl is having the perpetual opportunity to make fun of celebrate their ridiculous endearing accent. This is especially true when she’s excited and/or angry about something. In such a humor, she tends to sound like an early 20th Century BBC news reporter while doing that uniquely-British condescending thing in finishing declarations with a question (“Well, that was a bit stupid, wasn’t it?”) or using language so archaic, it would stir Winston Churchill from his grave with pride (“That spot of lunch was jolly nice!”). It’s bloody brilliant, it is, and it just so happens to also be one of the main reasons I love the absolute shit out of Dan Boultwood’s Titan book, It Came! (sub-title: Something is coming round for afternoon tea ... AND IT ISN’T THE VICAR!) Our story begins midway through the innocent courtship between Dr. “Boy” Brett and his ladyfriend, Doris. A graduate of “Space University” and resident scientist at “Space Lab,” Dr. Brett is your classic British man’s-man: a morally upstanding, rough and ready, tally-ho-and-all-that sort of chap; the type who loves his Queen, his country and a well-packed pipe. Yes, he’s the kind of bloke who leaves the sandwich-making to the womenfolk ... except, perhaps, knuckle sandwiches, which he only serves to boorish louts. Or something.
Dr. Brett’s mettle is tested, however, as the pair pull in from a leisurely drive in the country for a stiff liquid pub lunch. That’s when they happen upon some sort of ginormous Martian mechanized death whatsit. But if it’s one thing that It Came!proves, it’s that even the assembled fury of outer space is no match ... for a Gentleman!
This bawdy yet reverential pastiche of a late 1950s drive-in British B-movie is quite possibly the funniestdamn comic book I’ve ever had the good fortune to read. That’s not an exaggeration, either. Boultwood has managed to harness the robust yet nuanced humor at the base of his culture with such mastery, his subtle moments are just as hilarious as his boisterous ones, all of them mirroring that razor sharp Brit wit shit we all eat up with such relish. In short, he fucking NAILS it.
Now, this is tongue-in-cheek stuff, but if you can appreciate the humor in its archaism, then you’re gonna love this book. Everything from Brett’s terribly misogynist condescension towards Doris (who he describes as “a good egg ... for a girl”), to his horrendously outdated senses of vocabulary and chivalry, plays beautifully with this amazing matter of fact, stiff upper lipped, smug Britishness, of which there is simply, and unfortunately, no American equal.
It Came! is riddled with horribly-aged hllarity, that completely un-PC style of humor that people of a certain advanced age still come out with randomly in polite company. It completely embarrasses you in public, but holy shit is it funny in private. I’d also like to thank Boultwood for bringing me the phrase “pebble-dashing the cistern chapel.” Its existence has fundamentally changed my own.
The art, also plied by Boultwood, is the perfect complement to the story. Awash in soft greys, it not only visually matches the old-film tone established in the writing, it even employs some of its most iconic cinematic tropes. The car scenes, for example, replicate those old shots where the moving background is clearly shot on a green-screen. It’s great little touches like that, and in the demure yet increasingly emboldened visual reactions Doris has to Brett’s choice of words, that make this world come to life on the “screen.” Adding even more depth are little splices outside of the feature presentation.
Various “intermissions” are used toward the middle and end of the “film,” shilling things like “Smoke & Choke’um Cigarettes,” another film called My Reptilian Bride, a product called Liquid Hair and, most interestingly (not to mention anachronistically), a pair of IMDB-like entries for the “actor and actress” portraying Boy and Doris in this story. I’m not quite sure why we get the backgrounds of Dick Claymore and Fanny Flaunders, but I do find its inclusion leaving me to wonder if this story isn’t bigger than we think. Mind you, even if it isn’t, and all we are a party to seeing is this classic, self-deprecating British arcana, then I will still be overjoyed with this fun-as-hell book.
I just want to say real quick ... Titan Comics, you folks are fucking killing it. The Bastards have begun plundering the depths of Titan’s wares, and so far I’ve been hugely impressed. They are already becoming one of my favorite publishers, which is saying a lot right now. So keep up the good work over there, guys and girls - you sure can pick ‘em!
Anyway. You guys! Buy It Came!
Don’t be ... “common.”
Writer/Artist/Creator: Dan Boultwood Esq.
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: 8/14/13