‘The Colin’s Godson Annual:’ Trade Paperback Review

Colin’s Godson is a Scottish power pop band from Glasgow who take their music to a transmedia level. Aside from releasing their particular brand of power pop/Britpop/punk-pop via digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl means, they also flirt with the comic book medium. The physical releases of their music, such as Colin’s Godson in Space and The Timely Demise of Colin’s Godson, all have comic books, starring the band in outlandish adventures, as part of their packaging. The Colin’s Godson Annual collects these comic adventures into one 84-page omnibus. As with the physical releases of their albums and EPs, the Colin’s Godson Annual was produced in an extremely limited quantity (20 copies in this instance). The collection includes the comics Colin’s Godson in Space, Colin’s Godson in Time, Colin’s Godson Comic No 2, Colin’s Godson at the Speed of Sound, The Timely Demise of Colin’s Godson, and Colin’s Godson in Silicon Heaven with parody adverts and games peppered throughout.

The overall story has the band get in a rocket ship and travel to space to destroy a Margaret Thatcher space station. They wind up time traveling back to the mid '90s and performing a variety of fetch quests (such as retrieving the Holy Grail a’la Monty Python) to impress the creators of the British television series, Blackadder. (They fail.) After having an adventure in a Harry Potter-esque school, the band inadvertently creates a paradox. (After all, they are existing in the '90s, when they are from the future.) Using an unstable device to escape the world-ending paradox, they find themselves in an alternate, black-and-white reality, where they live mundane, power pop-less lives. Eventually, they find themselves inside the Margaret Thatcher space station (moments before it is blown up… by themselves from the beginning of the comic) and wind up in a vaporwave heaven full of outdated technologies.

The plot is certainly nonsensical and idiosyncratic, but it’s fun and shows enthusiasm from the band; however, Colin’s Godson Annual as a whole caters to a specific, niche audience that will enjoy the graphic novel the most. Firstly, the artwork and lettering to a casual reader will seem to be lacking in quality. The lettering, at times, looks like it will run out of room in the speech bubbles, while the artwork looks more on the lo-fi side; however, if taken into consideration that the art, lettering, and layout follows the DIY-punk ethos, the comic starts to take on attributes of an underground zine which, in this regard, perfectly complements a power pop band and their releases. Thus, connoisseurs of pop-punk (and all associated forms, such as power pop) will be cued in on what Colin’s Godson is accomplishing with their comics. Secondly, Anglophiles are going to be the ones to pick up on all of the British references and jokes, of which there are many. British pop culture is saturated in the Annual, with Harry Potter and Dr. Who references being the most accessible to a casual reader.

In this regard (zine aesthetics and British culture), the entry barrier to appreciate Colin’s Godson Annual is fairly high. Regardless, though, the Annual is still a fun read, and it certainly show creativity and innovation in how the band has managed to integrate the comics into their music and packaging.

Creative Team: Adam Smith (artist)
Publisher: Puzzled Aardvark
Click here to purchase.

Nicholas Diak is a pop culture scholar of industrial and synthwave music, Italian genre films, peplum films, and H. P. Lovecraft studies. He contributes essays to various anthologies, journals, and pop culture websites. He is the editor of the anthology, The New Peplum: Essays on Sword and Sandal Films and Television Programs Since the 1990s. He can be found at nickdiak.com.


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