Created by Sorab Del Rio and Don Ticchio
Artist: Emerson Dimaya
Colourist: Simon A Wright
Silver Fox Comics, 2017
Your reviewer worked as an English language teacher in Neyagawa, Osaka in 1996 to early 1997. The school happened to be filled with other Australians, and one lonely Nebraskan named Paul. Suffering the idioms, the accents, and the abrasive sense of humour, Paul coined the term, “painfully Australian”.
The creators of this parody title, Bazza the Barbarian Bogan, have gone far out of their way to inject as much painfully Australian concepts and rhetoric into the dialogue, plot, and art as possible. Drop bears (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop_bear ), cricket bats as weapons, and a reference to the Emu War (a Western Australian act of colonial idiocy – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emu_War) are intermingled with crushingly Australian vernacular.
There are two notable omissions. First, the creators are plainly from an rugby league state. There is a regional division within Australia between types of football. People in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Queensland avidly follow rugby league. But that code has had little traction in other Australian states and territories, who generally prefer Australian rules football (“AFL”). Most AFL clubs are from the state of Victoria, with all other states being home to two national teams save for poor Tasmania. League is not an Australian sport, but AFL is. Bazza is a South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter, and his green and red jersey makes for a visually striking combination amidst all of the action.
Second, bogans are forever in debate about whether Holdens (until recently, a General Motors brand) or Fords are the superior vehicle. The inevitable argument is noticeable missing. Perhaps it occurs in one of Bazza’s other published adventures.
It is not all obscure Australianisms. There are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments (the alien mechas have cannons in their groins, not unnoticed by Bazza), and the silhouettes of drop bears look remarkably and incongruously like Marvel Comics’ Wolverine. And the art is solid: there are a lot of concepts jammed into the issue and artist Emerson Dimaya manages to catch all of them in a finely woven net. Colourist Simon Wright does a genuinely superb job. (This is, we think, the first time in six years we have complimented a colourist.)
Finally, “What is a bogan?”, asks our non-Australian audience. This was well-explained some years ago in an issue of the magazine Smith Journal, which featured an interviews with an English chav, an American redneck, and an Australian bogan. There was not a lot of daylight between the three varieties of lumpen proleteriat, save for location.
This title was the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2017, and is now available online at: https://www.silverfoxcomics.com.au/store/p/bazza-maximum-mayhem