Comics are for grown-ups


Scary Go Round book 3
by John Allison

As the title intimates, this is the third collection of Allison’s Scary Go Round web comic strips in print, in this case taken from May 2004 to March 2005. All of those comics are still available, for free, on the Scary Go Round website so why would I (well, okay, Tim) buy this in book form?

First of all, it’s a book! And we like books. They are good. Slightly more seriously, I struggle a little to follow a storyline of any length in a webcomic. Too much clicking, too much waiting. I am impatient like that. Also, Allison has thrown in some bonus features – rewritten bits, introductions to each story and some sketches he did for character development. I really like the extra insight that this gives. And last but not least, we buy his books to support an author who is creating great work.

But what is Scary Go Round? Well, previous to this book I had only read snatches of it over the years so I am almost a newcomer myself. As far as I can tell, it is a comic that follows the lives of a group of mostly 20-somethings living in Yorkshire, to whom insane things happen often. But there’s the occasional story that doesn’t involve the regular characters at all, which is either to confuse the reader or to give Allison a break/change/fun new experiment.

In this volume, most stories centre around housemates Amy and Shelley. Shelley is sensible, responsible and works as the mayor’s assistant. Amy is ditsy, haphazard and works for a crazy inventor guy who she may or may not have a crush on. There’s a fairly large cast of regular/recurring characters, including Shelley’s former housemate Fallon who is some kind of kickass secret agent (in fact, she has her own book, titled Girl Spy).

Storylines include Shelley and Amy going to a death metal concert, and a teapot time machine. From mundane daily life to extraordinary oddness, the dialogue is funny and the interaction between characters warm and realistic.

According to Tim, who knows about these things, Scary Go Round and its predecessor Bobbins (from which several characters survived) were some of the earliest webcomics and are important in terms of carving a new genre and format. Scary Go Round itself has now ended, but Allison’s new webcomic Bad Machinery is going strong.

Published 2005. Print version no longer available but I’m hoping the e-book will be added to the Scary Go Round store soon.