The Bogie Man
The Bogie Man, by writing team Alan Grant and John Wagner, with art by Robin Smith first ploughed its way into readers hands in 1989 and enjoyed a number of sequels and spin offs. The ill-fated ‘Scottish comic‘, as the creators have affectionately called it, has been published by a number of print houses over the years, including the original Fat Man Press, Paradox Press, Kevin Eastman’s Tundra Publishing, Toxic! and 2000 AD, with only 2000 AD surviving the tests of time.
A BBC television special was commissioned and aired, starring the late Robbie Coltrane, back in 1992, but the television movie was a poor reflection of the much celebrated comic series, with most of the humour getting lost in translation. The movie has gained a cult following, however, despite only airing the once.
The original book and its immediate sequel, Chinatoon, are considered some of the funniest comics to ever come out of Britain, with the original The Bogie Man proudly described as still the UK’s best selling independent comic. So why are comics so rare? Fat Man Press‘ only publication was The Bogie Man before the company sadly went bust. The company, founded by John McShane, super-fan, convention organiser, specialist retailer and avid pub patron infamously funded much of The Bogie Man on his credit cards and by the time the BBC’s big payout was due, faced a very unfortunate financial crisis.
Chinatoon faced similar woes, with Cam Kennedy originally assigned to take over from Robin Smith, the series went unfinished by Kennedy and was later redrawn by Smith and reprinted by Atomeka Press, which again folded by 1997. Full-colour American spin-of, The Manhattan Project, continued through Toxic! and then by 1998, an imprint under DC Comics, Paradox Press, collected the first two stories in a small digest edition unfortunately plagued with a serious printing error. By 2005, Grant, Wagner and Smith returned to their roots and created Return to Casablanca for the Judge Dredd Megazine. And since then? Nothing. That is, until now.
Here’s looking at you, kid…
Alan Grant sadly passed away in 2022, leaving behind a legacy unrivalled by so many of his peers. Grant was probably best known for his lengthy stint at DC Comics, writing Batman for over a decade with plenty of other popular characters under his belt. Grant’s most die-hard of fans, however, affectionately recall his insatiable wit and unparalleled wielding of humour, a unique talent which, when paired with long term writing partner John Wagner, sparked something truly special.
Plans to reprint The Bogie Man were discussed before Alan’s passing but were ultimately put on hold until now. John Wagner, perhaps most famous for co-creating Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, and penning the comic book series Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, is naturally nervous about launching The Bogie Man as a crowd funded project. Bogie’s ill fated history of misfortune has not gotten in the way of the book, though, with The Bogie Man gaining something of a cult status over the years and praised by fans and critics alike for its unique blend of satire, detective noir, parody and outright silliness all mashed together in a smelting pot of distinct Glaswegian humour with genuinely gorgeous artwork. Only the likes of Grant and Wagner could pull off a tribute to Humphrey Bogart movies in comic book form, as a dark comedy, set in Glasgow.
The Incomplete Case Files
The Bogie Man is in safe hands. Working closely with The77 Publications, The Bogie Man is finally set to make a comeback. Launching on Kickstarter tomorrow, this new edition will feature all Bogie comics so far, excluding the American spin-off title The Manhattan Project. The book will instead feature a brand new short story Key Largs written especially for the brand new edition. The new book will be available digitally, in paperback and in a special hardcover with variant cover art by Mike Perkins. Lots of goodies will be available, including t-shirts and posters, and the opportunity to appear in Key Largs as a character.
To help launch the Kickstarter campaign, a special four minute video has been released to show off the stunning artwork by Robin Smith, created by Steve Green. The short film stars John Wagner himself as Francis Forbes Clunie, The Bogie Man, with friends of Alan Grant playing many of the roles and even Cam Kennedy’s wife Isabel Kennedy taking a leading role. The video has managed well over two thousand views on Facebook at time of recording, and with several hundred fans already pre-registered for the Kickstarter campain, the book looks to be success it should always have been.
A live event will be hosted here: ‘The Bogie Man: The Incomplete Case Files’ – Launch event | Facebook
The official website can be reached here: The Bogie Man
And the Kickstarter campaign can be found here: The Bogie Man: The Incomplete Case Files by John Wagner — Kickstarter