Peter Milligan2000 AD
Hewligan's Haircut: A Story in Eight Partings
Medium: comic
Year: 1990
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Jamie Hewlett
Country: UK
Keywords: 2000 AD
Format: 2000 AD 700-707
Website category: Comics UK
Review date: 26 February 2022
Peter Milligan's going full inMilliganhensible, but for laughs. Meanwhile, Hewlett is drawing wonderful, cartoonish comedy that's left sanity far behind. It's mental, obviously. Even for 2000 AD, this is a weird one. It doesn't have a plot so much as an excuse for nonsense, but that's why it's great.
Its hero has a portmanteau of his creators' names and a haircut that breaks the laws of physics. He did it to himself with plastic NHS scissors while he was the only sane man in the loony bin (yes, including the staff). Later, he meets a girl with no eyes and the, ahem, beautiful name of Scarlet O'Gasmeter. She can walk through walls, but sometimes she has to have an ontological debate with the stubborn ones to persuade them that they're not real either.
She also has a theory of being out of tune with the world. This explains socks, umbrellas, door keys and UFOs, which might really be alien footwear that have slipped out of tune with their world and tuned into ours. (That's so Milligan. He's not just being crazy for effect, but is also inventing theories about the craziness's metaphysics.)
Our heroes make jokes about the London Underground and Andrew Lloyd Webber, while also exploring cubism, Andy Warhol and some very silly ideas. "How incredibly clever! Scarlet O'Gasmeter and Hewligan fancy dress suits. No one will guess that we're wearing costumes of our exact doubles."
"I still think the gorilla suits would have been less conspicuous."
I laughed out loud at least once. The obvious point of comparison with this series is Time Flies, drawn by Hewlett's college fanzine collaborator, Philip Bond. They ran in 2000 AD at the same time. They're both funny and wonderfully drawn. They both have a clueless, deadpan-ish male protagonist and a time-travelling, gun-toting girl who's dragging him around (un)reality. The main difference is that Hewligan's Haircut has a romance between its main duo, albeit played lightly and mostly just an undertone to the absurdity. Plus, of course, it's far, far, far more surreal than Time Flies. Which is saying quite a lot.