Thursday, 26 March 2015

That time Jermy Clarkson appeared on the cover of The Dandy

Oh, Clarkson. Silly old Jeremy.
Welp, yesterday saw the other shoe finally drop in the long-running "will Clarkson get fired?" Boulevard Farce.
He did.
Now, I've no particular beef with Clarkson. Sure he holds and loudly expresses opinions with which I vehemently disagree but he is at least thoughtful and entertaining when doing so. For the most part.
A few years ago, the bookshop in which I worked received three books at more or less the same time. These three:
Three reprehensible people pulling the same "I mean honestly? Is it just me? Tch!" face and pose. I took them around all my fellow booksellers and said: "One gun, two bullets."
Every single person (and I believe there was a fairly wide range of personality types) chose not to shoot Clarkson. Even those who hated him grudgingly admitted he was funny. But I suppose few people can look bad next to the other two.
Clarkson remade Top Gear in his own image and it was a billion times better for it. A show about reviewing cars (of which I care little) became a wacky comedy which I admit to enjoying.
It may have been easy to look the other way over vaguely racist remarks (which is weird to admit) but actually punching a work colleague in the face because you can't claim a steak dinner on expenses (even though you could clearly buy it yourself without your bank account even noticing) is more than too far. The details may not be fully available but I believe that is the gist of the contretemps.
Never mind that: COMICS!
Presenting The Dandy No. 3523, dated February 26th 2011.
Look! There's Korky the Cat dressed as the Stig next to the masthead! Love that.
Now, I've written at length before about the Dandy's rich history and its late (too late in fact) revival which saw the arrival of "TV funnyman" Harry Hill to its pages (and front cover) for a year. The strip was Harry Hill's Real-Life Adventures in TV Land and was credited to "Harry Hill and Nigel Parkinson" although I have no way of knowing how much input Hill really had.
It didn't really matter, it was a fun strip in which Harry's cartoon avatar would encounter characters from a specific TV show or genre (it started with him meeting a bunch of TV chefs) with a load of silly jokes along the way.
This week, Harry is invited onto "Top Car". Yes, "Top Car". The Dandy and The Beano have long had a strange relationship with celebrity. Lots of people have appeared "as themselves" with official endorsement (Paul McCartney, Mike Reid, er, Oscar Pistorius) but sometimes other celebrities would be required for a gag unofficially. So Jezza is not named in this issue.
Anyway, the thought of driving leads to a gag about Harry's Nan's bad driving:Before the action necessarily moves on to the Top Gear, sorry, Top Car studios. Ha! Nailed it!
Harry stops to ask a "little boy" for directions: 
Bandaged head? Too soon?
Then we meet Ckarkson, sorry, "Boomy Bloke". 
I love Parkinson's caricature here.  Just time to meet "the other one"...
...and we're off, Wacky Races style. 
Lovely little attempt to bring back some old rivalry there. It's really a shame no Fleetway titles remain as the Beano and Dandy were obviously very supportive of each other then. HE SAID THE THING!
Anyway, an accident sends Cla... Boomy Bloke off the track and into a pond.
"The Boss" it turns out is The Sti... The Mystery Test Driver. 
And who is that?... 
You see why I had to include that panel earlier? It's a call-back! 
And so ends an unflattering appearance by "Jeremy" in Britain's longest-running comic.
Actually, I've just realised that The Beano has now overtaken that title.
And so ends an unflattering appearance by "Jeremy" in Britain's second-longest-running comic. 
And, on that bombshell...

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