BONUS REVIEW Gentleman Jim – Raymond Briggs

Gentleman JimThis concerns Jim Bloggs an aging lavatory attendant who dreams of being something else. His Walter Mitty daydreams become increasingly elaborate until one day he decides to become a highwayman.

This is an early Briggs story and can come across as a little unfocused. There is a strong message about the helplessness of the Everyman, and the rise of bureaucracy and those petty individuals that enforce it. The ending is also eyebrow raising compared to many of Briggs’ other works.

The art is a lot richer and more vibrant than many of his more pastel works. The daydreams that spread right across the page are superb showcasing what he is capable of when let out from the customary tiny panel. The authority figures that thwart him are all caricatures in both speech and depiction. The traffic warden is a wonderfully stylised Hitler.

An unusual read in that Jim may exasperate you as much as draw your sympathy. But he and Hilda go on to star in When the Wind Blows and that was magnificent.

Thumbs Up!

Where it all began…

My graphic novel roots started with borrowing Asterix and Tintin books from the library as a wee nipper. One of my other favourite authors was Raymond Briggs and in particular his Fungus the Bogeyman book. Although less prolific his books withstood being reread endlessly and were packed with all sorts of amazing details, perfect for a hungry child’s mind. Here are some of his books I didn’t read as a child.