Giant Clam
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Giant Clam #2
Giant Clam #2 (c) Ralph Kidson
Giant Clam #2 © Ralph Kidson

Giant Clam #2:
Ralph Kidson, mooncat, Craig Burston, David, Toby Parsons
Giant Clam #3:
Ralph Kidson, Martin Meeks, Andrew Luke, Tim Brown, & also includes See Though Windows insert by Toby Parsons -16 A7 colour stock pages.
Giant Clam #4:
Ralph Kidson, Martin Meeks, Andrew Luke, Tim Brown, Toby Parsons, Bob Bryne.

ZUM!'s Captain Dolphin site

ZUM! Reviews
Bad Animal
Envelope & Stick
God Sneaks Round The Back of Creation For A Fag Break
Sad Animal #3&4
Two To Beam Up
Sad Animal #1&2

You have to wonder (well I do!) what the big daddy of visual language, Roland Barthes, would make of Envelope and Stick. Well he's dead and I'm not, so I'm going to have to grope my way through here. Okay:
Envelope, the cover of a letter, the paper vessel for humankind's need for communication. Today's paper, yesterday's wood pulp. Which brings us to Stick, a branch or staff of wood, or fallen firewood. The twiggy bough or long rod... hang on a minute that sounds a bit rude, that sounds a bit like... okay, yeah. Save it. Roland Barthes had penis breath anyway.
I love Giant Clam. It affirms all the truths you knew as a kid without anyone telling you. That comics are sublime, that swearing is both big and clever, and that you ain't nobody 'less somebody loves you.
A modern classic.

Giant Clam #3
Giant Clam #3 (c) Ralph Kidson

Giant Clam #3 © Ralph Kidson
Okay so Giant Clam is a mini-comic that is about a twig and an envelope. Who essentially sit around all the time being bored. It's not the world's most promising premise so it may be hard to persuade you that in fact it is a bit of fun.
Firstly though the artwork: well there is none really to speak of. Occasionally you get a lead panel that features a nicely drawn piece. For the most part though it is just a cross in a box next to a capital letter 'Y' for panel after empty panel. The only thing I'll say is that the line could do with being a little thicker to allow for a sharper image after photocopying.
So with that out of the way, yes, twig, letter and more often than not silence. The first time is funny but later on repeating the trick simply ends up in diminishing returns. Our setting is the twilight world of students and dolies; i.e. Daytime TV Land. Most of the gags are pretty familiar but they are all executed with a fair amount of panache and verve despite the static nature of the strip. The Transformers in Borders and Envelope and Stick in the Arctic strips are the highlights. The backup strips by Tim Brown take some tired jokes and flog them a little with some okay cartooning. Hmmm I don't think I have managed to explain why this little package is any good yet. Well perhaps it is the brilliant covers or the absurd premise but ultimately I think you can't break it down it's a cheap entertaining package that delivers diversion for a low, low price.
See Through Windows & Hear Through Walls
A tiny (A7) booklet by Toby Parsons consists of various sketches and the occasional caption or slogan. It's a nice little package and the occasional sketch might intrigue you (I quite like the cat with the Dick Whittington knapsack and the man throwing a stick for his pet frog) but it isn't going to change your life. A perfect little companion for an idle moment.
Robert Rees
Giant Clam #4
Giant Clam #4 (c) Ralph Kidson

Giant Clam #4 © Ralph Kidson

"Poofs only issue"
At times I feel I review too many of Ralphie's comics & am too close to them to be objective in my assessments. I like Ralphie's work a lot - it makes me laugh - which is a rare & precious commodity.
So - in the effort to maintain some objectivity I showed Giant Clam to a few of my work colleagues. Granted this is not exactly a wide demographic - they being male & under 30, but thinking about it - if I stood in a street proffering this comic to random people I might end up coming to the attention of the authorities.... This comic seems to have good reason to be kept on a high shelf at home, so that the kids do not see it.
On viewing Bob Byrne's contribution to this issue one colleague declared, "That's sick!" - after he had stopped laughing that is - he is a sick little puppy himself.
A selection of other comments are:
"Really funny"
"The Biscuit Man one doesn't work so well."
"That Black Dog of Depression is good. "
And finally: "It's too early in the day for that kind of stuff - "Dust laughs at us" - I dunno..." ...this being from the afternoon shift arriving at 2:00 in the afternoon?
There was also some marveling at how so much expression could be imbued into so few lines.
I didn't bother to show the comic to one of the other lads - as, well - he doesn't seem to like comics at all - which is probably sensible, I guess...
So - what am I to conclude from these observations?
Well - oddly - that I am right - that Ralphie does create good funny comics that have a certain amount of universal appeal - really - honest - that's my official scientific view on the subject - & if you don't like these observations you can just fuck off!

Giant Clam #2:
28 A6 pages, card stock cover, colour stock paper insides
Giant Clam #3 :
28 A6 pages, card stock cover, colour.
Giant Clam #4:
20 A6 pages, card stock cover, colour
Price: £1 each (P+P)
Address: Ralph Kidson, RalphieComics, 3 Langridges Rd, Newick, Nr Lewes, BN8 4LZ

Recieved at ZUM! HQ:
#2 poss mid 2002
#3 winter 2002
#4 19vii03
Review Posted:
#2 18ii03
#3 18ii03
#4 07i04

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