Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SGR: Do you think zombies can shoot ink, like a squid?

(I'm writing about the webcomic Scary Go Round. My introduction is here.)


Chapter 3: Meddling

Click on the chapter title above to read this chapter; when you get to a big red page with the word "Inevitable" and a photo of a pale skinned redhead you have started the next chapter which is beyond the scope of this post. If for some reason, rather than reading the comic you want to stay here, at the bottom of this post is the plot synopsis and character list I made to keep everything straight in my head.


Review

In this Chapter Scary Go Round changes tack and becomes more what it will be for the rest of the run. Rather than have a mystery investigated by Rachel and Tessa, we see the situation from Ryan, Tim and Shelley's point of view. They are thrust into the middle of the problem (in Ryan's case because he makes a melancholy drunken mistake) and have to resolve it. I note that the first two chapters were, at least loosely, Science Fiction Horror, while this story is Supernatural Horror. The bodycount is zero, or possibly minus one (Thus making the total so far for the comic either seventeen or eighteen).

Rachel and Tessa are relegated to supporting characters. Rachel in particular becomes unsympathetic here.

Shelley as a zombie is both cute and vulnerable. Ryan is confused, as might be expected, and fairly ineffective. Tim is much more practical; confronted with a friend raised as an undead creature he washes her, gives her a change of clothes and then takes her to the pub quiz. Notably they don't seek help elsewhere. This is unsurprising after seeing the competence of the police in the previous chapters. The Tackleford Gazette is on the case however, with it's photofit of Ryan under the headline: Grave Robbed, Hairy inebriate sought.

The secondary problem, that of the devil trying to claim Ryan's soup, sorry, soul, is dealt with remarkably easily. A swift punch to the gut stops him? Really? Still, having learnt his lesson, he's sure to leave Tackleford alone from now on.

This chapter raises as many questions as it answers. Shelley isn't dead, nor is she a soulless demond, but she is undead. Ryan has tried to make things right, but has made them more wrong. Tim has been forced out of the shell he retreated into after Shelley's death. There are character points to be resolved!

Many excellent jokes, including one about Hitler. Allison does not make as many jokes about Hitler as I'd like; in fact I think there are only two in all of Scary Go Round. It is very definitely in 2002 though, as Ryan is smoking in the Pub, which is now banned.

Also new to this chapter but common to later ones is a coda at the end, in which we catch up with other characters to bring us up to date for future storylines. In this case, Amy and Len get together for Christmas. Combined with Shelley's resurrection this will make conflict in the next chapter Inevitable.


Best Lines/ Alternative Titles

Life's like a horse wearing a suit and smoking a cigar: hard to explain.

"Way things are between a man and a woman they can't ever really be just friends." "P'raps if the girl is bog eyed." "Sure, Sure."

"Do you know about the black arts son?" "What, like, hip-hop? Sure, I'm down with that." "No, Necromancy."

"Hey your coat is a reversible warlock smock! Nice!"

Ryan, the way I see things is this. You can run home and hide under your bedclothes, which any fool knows the devil cannot penetrate.

I've got to go to sleep, Shelley. Here's a straw. If you want brains in the night, just bung it in my ear and suck.

Tim will know what to do. Or if he doesn't, he'll shout at me until I feel that I've in some way paid for my sins.

I'm going to put her in the bath and pray nothing drops off then we are going to talk the talk of men, specifically angry men.

"Do you think zombies can shoot ink, like a squid?" "Sure, and you can play their teeth like a xylophone."

Shelley coming back as one of the undead might not be the ideal situation, but we'll make the best of it.

"Yes, based on a real person, possibly Hitler."

She's not going to be killed on the way to the Ladies' twice.

Christ, man! Sure, she's pale and no stranger to the casket, but the family of man needs harmony, be we white, black... or mottled grey!


Characters

Shelley Winters, undead abomination
Ryan Beckwith, friend of Shelley
Tim Jones, friend of Shelley
Ralph, lift operator from Chapter 1 and necromantical warlock
The Devil, who is evil
Rachel and Tessa, barmaids
Mrs Birch, Ryan's landlady, a lady of strict morality
Biff and Sanjiv, the West Yorkshire anti-zombie unit


Plot

Grieving over Shelley's death in Science Fair, Tim buries himself in his work, while Ryan goes to the pub. It's Hallowe'en and we see Rachel and Tessa in their role as unsympathetic barmaids. Ryan gets talking to Ralph, the lift operator from The gas, who turns out to be a warlock. Drunk and melancholy, Ryan joins in raising Shelley from the dead.

Understandably Ryan panics. Eventually he takes Shelley home, having to sneak her past his landlady Mrs Birch, who doesn't approve of young ladies (let alone dead ones). Eventually he takes her to Tim, who cleans her up and finds her some clothes that belonged to Goth Kate, his former, and best, lodger.

In an effort to get back to normal they take Shelley to the Guy Fawkes pub quiz. Shelley isn't great as the scribe. Unfortunately the West Yorkshire Anti-Zombie Unit, Biff and Sanjiv, is also in the pub, taking part in the quiz. Their chicken claw goes off, so they ambush Shelley in the ladies. Shelley, who has regained her speech, foils them by spitting out the salt they're trying to fill her mouth with. Tim interrupts and convinces them not to kill put her down. On their way out, rethinking their attitude to the undead, Biff is attacked by a zombie.

Tim Ryan and Shelley go out to look at the bonfire, when the Devil turns up, looking for Ryan's soul. Shelley, in a bad mood, punches him in the belly and he goes away never to be seen again.

Part two: Amy comes home from art school, with tats on her arms and pink in her hair. Len, her Dad, is not happy, but she makes it up to him by having painted five Phil Collins album covers as a Christmas present.

No comments: