I recently had the pleasure of perusing Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection from Titan Books and Aardman Entertainment. The book features 311 beautiful color strips originally published in Britain’s newspaper The Sun, a very nice intro from Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, and a generous number of luscious, high quality, two-page-spread photos from the Wallace & Gromit films (my favorite part).
The strips are charming and just what you’ve come to expect from Wallace & Gromit: lots of puns and cheese jokes, elaborate and ultimately doomed inventions, and a modest amount of action and adventure. There are appearances by familiar friends and foes, like fiendish, flightless fowl Feathers McGraw, that will delight fans of the films and new readers alike. The strips range from genuinely funny to groan-inducing puns, but usually Gromit is there rolling his eyes right along with you. Regardless, you typically end up chuckling despite yourself at the cleverness and good nature of the strips and their protagonists.
For me the most rewarding and fascinating aspects of the book are the many luxurious, two-page spreads of photo stills from the stop-motion animated movies. The images are very high quality and absolutely stunning in their incredible detail, the uncanny sense of action, the personality and humor of the characters, and images themselves. In many ways the single images tell as much or more of a story than many of the three-panel strips. And, though the good folks at Aardman don’t need me to tell them, the sculpting work is absolutely top notch.
Fans of the movies will enjoy this additional window into the wacky and wonderful world of these cheese-loving pals.