The surreal soap opera comic centred around a record label full of weirdos and wannabes


The ensemble cast of Hitsville UK – a graphic soap opera from illustrator John Riordan and writer Dan Cox, published independently by Great Beast comics – is made up of freaks, bores, pseudo revolutionaries and chancers; just the kind of people you’d expect to find at a new, delusional record label. Hitsville’s owner is Gerry Corden, an aging David Brent type and failed pop star. His producer is a pill-munching sociopath with rotting skin; his company accountant a puke-green devil. Hitsville’s roster consists of a bullied nerd DJ and his imaginary battle droid killer robot (“he looks like Harry Potter but is a super dense ball of hatred,” says Riordan of his Haunted by Robots rage-case), a politicised multiracial ska-dub-rap band (“like The Specials crossed with Asian Dub Foundation”), a spiv called Jack Spatz, a girl band that crosses The Bangles, Le Tigre and the Scooby Doo gang, a group of middle class boys tentatively experimenting with drugs because they’ve heard Sgt. Pepper’s once or twice and a grotesque who sings like James Blunt but whose resemblance to Gollum is impossible to ignore. “That’s Gwillum, the depressed Country & Western troubadour; we’ve really got it in for him,” says Riordan who, with Cox, has planned 6 editions of Hitsville UK. Numbers 1 and 2 are already in comic book stores, selected record shops and available to order via Great Beast’s website.

It’s the serial and surreal nature of Hitsville UK that makes it an addictive read – being in on the joke and how bat-shit-crazy that joke is, as daydreams, call backs and drug trips are dropped in the middle of scenes with no prior warning. Riordan and Cox say they know where it’s all heading – the main hoops the characters are going to jump through, all the way up to issue 6 – making it a comic for collecting, or else you might miss an important chapter in Hitsville UK’s unsavoury rise and probable fall.

It’s full of fanboy musical references, too, with each front cover paying homage to a different classic album.

“It’s also an attempt to convey the sheer excitement of pop music in the broadest sense,” says Riordan, “of a whole bunch of creative weirdos rushing off in lots of different directions at once, embracing various genres and trying different things. From the off, we wanted Hitsville UK to read a bit like watching a surreal sketch show like Vic & Bob, but with a narrative that stitches it all together.”  @hitsvillecomic


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