John Allison's mind is a world where statements like this are common and often justified.
A shared page for the various webcomics written by John Allison and set in the fictional Yorkshire town of Tackleford.
These include three major runs of comics, and a number of one-offs. These differ mainly in tone and chronology, and characters from one series will often pop up in others
, sometimes as major or at least recurring characters.
Apart from the main comics, most of these are now only available in print from the shop
. However, Allison has a tendency to put online archives up, pull them down, shift around their urls, and otherwise manipulate them, so they may still be online somewhere even when old links to them have linkrotted. The book versions often have additional pages that never appeared online, however.
Main comics include:
Shorter stories and one-offs include:
- Giant Days, a spin-off of SGR about the university life of Esther de Groot. Three issues now available in print. There's also an online archive here. (At times this archive has come and gone and moved around, and it has sometimes included only one of the three issues' worth of material, but as of this writing it appears to be complete.)
- Murder She Writes, in which Shelley Winters takes Charlotte Grote on as a personal assistant when she attends a writers' retreat, and they find themselves caught up in a murder mystery. (John Allison has announced that a new Murder She Writes story will appear online in late 2014, in between Expecting To Fly and a new Bad Machinery story.)
- THAT, in which Shelley goes to America and weirdness follows.
- Expecting to Fly, a prequel to Bobbins featuring Shelley, Ryan, and Tim as teenagers in 1996.
- Heavy Metal Hearts and Flowers, a re-telling of a storyline from Bobbins (with lots of details changed) in which Tim builds a Robot Girl and ends up fighting a big red robot over her. Released as a paper book in 2005 (now out-of-print) and an e-book in 2011.
- A number of one-shot mini-comics showing up everywhere from John Allison's various websites, blogs, and social media feeds to paper sheets tossed in with orders for his books; these may or may not be "canon", but sometimes reveal relevant details such as how Erin returned from Hell (which can be found here and here).
John Allison has said
that the chronological order of the various strips and books is: Bobbins, Scary Go Round, Giant Days, Bad Machinery Case 1, 2, 3, 4, Murder She Writes, Bad Machinery Case 5, THAT, Bad Machinery Case 6, 7, New Bobbins. He then announced in November 2014 that Bad Machinery would end wit the just-completed Case 7, and that he would be reverting to the "Scary Go Round" title for a while, so the new Scary Go Round strips would logically belong on the end of that sequence. However, some strips continued to appear under the "Bobbins" title in that period...
Tropes used in Scary Go Round
or Bad Machinery
should go on their respective pages. Tropes for other works are listed below.
- Best Friends In Law: Ryan and Tim, via Ryan's sister Riley.
- Blatant Lies:
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Amy was this when Len gave her a job at City Limit. (Which retroactively means that she was this during at least the earlier parts of the classic Bobbins.)
- Chubby Chaser: Erin apparently prefers her men on the portly side. When Eustace is worried she will be uninterested in him because he's put on some pounds since high school, she tells him, "I like a gentleman of heft. Beef and beer lend a man weight."
- Creator Breakdown: Shelley writes books for children and may be letting her recent, brief affair with Tim affect her work.
Barry: It's called "Tibkins Makes an Awful Mistake". The change in tone is striking.
Shelley: Basic Tibkins story. Under-fives gonna love it. Print it. Send it to the printer.
Barry: "I love you," said Tibkins to the vacuum cleaner. "But we can never see each other EVER AGAIN."
Shelley: Make sure the last page is just printed completely black.
- Death Is Cheap: Lampshaded here by the (well, a) Grim Reaper, in a speech to Erin with regard to her and the notoriously return-prone Shelley:
The Reaper: You! You and your SISTER ... with your LAISSEZ FAIRE attitude to the afterlife.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Alas, poor Eustace.
- Hope Spot: Tim appears to convince Eustace to not mess around with a literally Satanic computer the latter has cobbled together, in an attempt to get in touch with the demon Erin. Then Eustace goes and turns on the thing anyway, and, well, see directly above.
- It Is Not Your Time: Lampshaded and denied by the (well, a) Grim Reaper here. As he says, "Clichť party."
- The Matchmaker: After Eustace (re)meeting Erin and leaving a seemingly disastrous first impression, Shelley and Tim use a ruse in order to set up a second meeting between the two. And this time it goes quite well for Eustace. (Too bad though that he neglects to maintain contact with her afterwards...)
- Mighty Lumberjack: The trope is invoked, in somewhat ironic form, here, by Amy, to describe Tim after he's gone to live in the woods. It turns out that Shelley, always a woman with a healthy appetite for the macho, finds the image quite appealing.
- Panicky Expectant Father: Ryan.
- The One That Got Away: Esther, for Eustace
- Too Dumb to Live: Both Rich Tweedy and Eustace end up qualifying as examples of this. Literally.
- Waxing Lyrical: When Amy is pregnant at Christmas, Shelley describes the child as "Our own personal Jesus! Someone to hear our prayers. Someone who cares."
- Wham Episode: John Allison fills the "Into the Woods" plot-arc with several of these: Shelley and Erin personally meet again for the first time after Erin has vanished into Hell, Rich Tweedy reappears, many years after he has been fired from his job at City Limit, allegedly "so hard that he ceased to exist". And then he REALLY ceases to exist. Followed up with Erin giving up her humanity to save Eustace, Shelly and Tim cohabiting and Eustace getting himself killed anyway.
that follows Esther de Groot to university, and provides examples of:
- Accidental Pervert: Ed Gemmell "And you're cupping something that doesn't belong to you."
- Alpha Bitch: The Girl Posse who drag Esther off to the uni bar. She doesn't exactly take to them.
- Answer Cut: Susan is not happy that someone woke her up "playing Enya at 6:45. ENYA." Daisy says nothing...standing in front of her Enya poster.
- Awesome McCoolname: Susan Ptolemy?
- Brutal Honesty:
Susan: Permission to be frank?
Ed: S- sure...
Susan: If you ever want to dip your wick at university, don't chase pretty girls with boyfriends. You PLUM.
Ed: That was franker than I expected.
- Cowboy Cop/Private Detective: Susan Ptolemy, apparently. It seems she's a cross between Nancy Drew and Philip Marlowe:
Alpha Bitch #1
: Susan Ptolemy, 19, "a dangerous loose cannon who plays outside the rules." Alpha Bitch #2:
Bleugh, is that from her Facebook
? Alpha Bitch #3:
No, it's a quote from the Chief Inspector of Northamptonshire Constabulary. Alpha Bitch #2:
"'...but, she gets the job done', he added reluctantly."
- Cut the Juice: Esther pulls the plug on Steve's band so she can have a private (and angry) word with him.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud??: Daisy realises she did, but she didn't mean to.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Daisy.
- Discreet Drink Disposal: Esther in this strip, presumably in order not to be as sloshed as the other girls.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Entrusted to retrieve a bag from "the secret world of women" - Esther's room - Ed struggles to keep body and mind together amid Esther's carelessly discarded clothes:
Ed: Oh Christ. Everything is so SCANTY. Can't concentrate... Bag, Ed. UNDER BED. FIGHT THIS.
- Establishing Character Moment: "Hi, hi, Susan Ptolemy. And I've not slept IN A WEEK."
- Fanservice: (Of the non-sexy kind.) Invoked, at least, when this cover describes Giant Days as "The return of Esther that you very politely requested."
- Evil Gloating/Genre Savvy: "We've got about twenty seconds before they come out of exposition mode!"
- Flat "What.":
Daisy: FACE THE AWESOME POWER OF YOGIC FLYING Nita
- Gilligan Cut: Daisy thinks having a big night out is "a lovely idea". Cut to them sitting in a dark dive bar with Esther angrily demanding another round, and Daisy saying "this was a TERRIBLE idea".
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Effing jeff(er)" is used a couple of times, plus:
Susan: Turn this effing ess the FLIP down!
- Hešvy MŽtal ‹mlaut: Everything associated with Black Metal Society.
- The Ingenue: Daisy, home-schooled in a small village and ignorant of the ways of the world.
- Lipstick and Load Montage: FIF! BLUST! ZIIIIIP! "One hour, thirty one minutes! A new record!"
- Private Eye Monologue: Susan's internal narration.
- Punched Across the Room: BIFF! KICK! BOPP!
- Raging Stiffie: Discussed; one of the reasons given by Susan for suspecting that Ed has a crush on Esther is "low slung bag to conceal ardour?"
- Rule of Cool: Esther's gloves fall right onto her hands. This makes sense in the comic's world.
- Serious Business: "Join the head girls' guild or DIE, Esther!"
- Shout-Out: "Esther de Groot: ... Wouldn't join a club that would have her as a member."
- The Social Darwinist:
Anna: Head girls are a special breed! Naturally selected over seven years along strict Darwinian lines!
Nita: DESTINED TO RULE!
- Spin-Off: What Dark Esther from SGR did when she went to university.
- A Touch of Class, Ethnicity and Religion: The Girl Posse that Esther meets assume that since she's not so privileged, and northern to boot, her boyfriend must have a load of tattoos, piercings and a drug habit.
- Wham Line: The best kind.
Murder, She Writes
A Closed Circle
murder mystery featuring Lottie from Bad Machinery
and Shelley from Scary Go Round
. Shelley, now a children's author, is invited to a party in her agent's remote Welsh mansion, and brings along Lottie as her intern. When one of the author is murdered and several of the guests have motives, our heroines investigate.
Another Shelley stand-alone adventure. This time she's in America (sans intern) doing a book-tour. She arrives in Heaven, Arizona just in time for the town Lemon Festival, and an attack by a flock of giant killer moths.
Expecting To Fly
Taking place in 1996, when Shelley, Ryan and Tim still were teenagers and attended school.
"Erin Winters and the Bone Throne (of Bones)" and "Erin Winters and the Great Fiery Elevator":