My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Cunning criminal masterminds have planned a daring theft from the castle museum. They’ve figured out everything down to the last detail. There’s just one thing they haven’t bargained for: a class of super-sleuthing school children with a very special secret weapon. Will the thieves pinch the priceless prize, or have they met their match in the boy known only as “The Boss”?!”
Part of the DFC Library, The Boss reads like Tintin meets the Famous Five. It’s a really charming and user-friendly comic book that’s very much worth a look.
Written by John Aggs and illustrated by Patrice Aggs, it tells the story of class five and their very unusual school visit. Turns out that class five are no ordinary class. They are crime-fighting, quick witted and led by the (distinctly Winston Churchill-esque) boy known only as ‘The Boss’.
The Boss made me very happy. It’s a joyous book that’s a pleasure to read and it’s very accessible. Some of the artwork feels perhaps a little dated at points which made it lose a point for me. Stylistically and aesthetically it could do with being more sophisticated. However, there are some very wry touches to the composition that cancel out this slightly anachronistic feeling. There’s one double page spread that made me laugh out loud. The Boss, sat on the back seat of the bus (naturally!), is receiving an update on some scurrilous doings witnessed by the class. The conversation between him and the two kids at his side continues over twelve frames which slowly reveal the entire bus tuning into the conversation. Eyes shift, people turn and then, in the final frame, the whole bus is hanging on The Boss’ every word. It’s a superb comic book moment.
From a structural perspective, The Boss is very accessible and paced very well. Predominantly utilising a white gutter, frame structure, the artwork remains clear throughout and has some very nicely handled moments where it slips out of this structure to impact with a splash page and a fuzzy frame or two.
I liked this. I liked this a lot. The British comic is something quite unique and it’s lovely to see it being reinterpreted for a modern reader. I also (on a more nerdy level) loved how this had some fairly palpable Boys Own adventures overtones. Lots of fun and highly recommended as an introduction to comic books outside of the more well known publishers.