Firkin vol.1
Medium: comic
Year: 2002
Keywords: boobs
Artist: Hunt Emerson
Writer: Tym Manley
Format: Knockabout Comics collection, 132 pages
Website category: Comics
Review date: 14 July 2021
It's a comic strip in a softcore pornographic magazine (Fiesta), but a million miles away from the classy work of Kutzman, Elder and Embleton. It's also better than them. (Well, more entertaining, at least.) Hunt Emerson is a grand old veteran of UK comics, best known to me for Fortean Times but he's also been published in 1970s underground comix, Knockabout Comics, The Wall Street Journal Europe and the Beano.
It's a offbeat parody strip. Everything revolves around nudity, sex and vulgarity, obviously, but it'll also bend reality into pretzels for the sake of a gag. There's absolutely no limit to its surrealism. Neville works in the Ministry of Lost Pricks, where the shelves are full of disembodied penises waiting enthusiastically to be claimed. If you have sex with a tree or a cupboard, it might become sentient, follow you around and/or gatecrash your wedding. We observe the Fart of God, aka. the Last Trump. Humans can be manipulated like puppets by pulling their public hair, albeit only in dream sequences. In one strip, Charleen can fly because she built herself wings. In another, a policeman had been swallowed by her vagina and he starts emerging as she climbs a cliff, temporarily making her look four legged. Oh, and we learn that the universe is an inflatable sex doll when Firkin pulls out its plug.
One strip ends with the Reality Police. "Good morning, Mrs Manley. Is Tym at home, please? We need to talk to him..."
The attitudes are occasionally a bit off, but much less than you'd expect for a crude tits-and-arse strip that ran in a lowbrow pornographic magazine for decades from 1981. Neville and Charleen take photos for Readers' Wives, but the strip also mocks sex mercilessly and destroys all glamour and illusions. Charleen shaving her arse hairs deserves some kind of award for anti-sexiness. There's a double golden shower on a blood-splattered Hunt Emerson. The Twat Folk (i.e. vagina-faced beings) are undone by their facial farting. It can be mildly educational (e.g. G-spots), but it's not afraid to chop someone's penis off from time to time or to indulge in body horror. Neville's attempt at being a male stripper ends with him opening up his entire rib cage, or the amazing visual for "our eyes met across a crowded room". KA-SPLUT.
Neville and Charleen are married, ahahaha. (Of the two, Charleen is the more blatant about treating her wedding vows as mere suggestions.) The title character, Firkin, is a cat who doesn't usually get involved except to pass sardonic comment.
This comic takes a bit of getting used to and I wouldn't recommend trying to read too much of it at once because you'll just give up, but after a while I realised that it was making me laugh. Sometimes it mocks celebrities, e.g. Woody Allen or Chris Evans. "Twat Folk, it is I, your prime minister, Tony Blair! I haven't had a shag for minutes! Is there anything that will make you stay on Earth and restore our sexual pleasures?" (You'd think Bill Clinton would have been a more obvious target, but the eccentricity of the choice is part of why it's funny.) The strip's also surprisingly quotable. It's full of outrageous dialogue, not all of it sex-related. It's like an underground comic that happened to run for decades in a UK newsstand magazine. I quite like it.
"Are aware that your wife fell out of the car about five miles back?"
"Is that what it was? Thank God, I thought I'd gone deaf!"