By Adam Murphy
Publisher: David Fickling Books
I stand by the notion that, growing up, I learned more about history, science and geography through comics than through any other medium. My eyes were opened to new possibilities, old discoveries, distant places, unusual concepts, and, not least, fascinating people that have gone before. One of my daughter’s favourite strips in The Phoenix is Corpse Talk, not just because it’s funny, but because it makes historical figures accessible and interesting, and hearing her talk about it so enthusiastically reminds me so much of me at her age.
Corpse Talk adopts the format of a chat show where the creator, Adam Murphy, interviews famous, infamous and occasionally obscure figures from history to shine a light on their past. The thing is, though, is that all the figures are indeed corpses, re-animated and slightly rotten, but somehow rather comfortable with their situation. You get to read about Marie Antoinette, Marie Curie, Cleopatra and Blackbeard, to name but a few. The strips started out as single pages, but as the collection progresses you can chart it’s success as it’s granted more pages so it can say a little more.
Like Horrible Histories, Adam Murphy understands that history is a rich and fascinating place, and so even without the humour he injects into it, there’s plenty to engage a reader with without it ever needing to be dry or boring. And whether you’re a child or an adult, you will learn something, such as the fact that Marie Curie’s research notebook is so radioactive it’s hazardous to touch.
Look out for a teensy Uderzo influence on the Julius Caesar and Cleopatra strips – made me chuckle. Another strong collection from the pages of the Phoenix.
And if you liked that: Check out Gary’s Garden, also from the pages of the Phoenix. Also if you buy any books or back issues from The Phoenix's online shop at www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk and quote the code FIRST15OFF you'll get a massive 15% off!