Monday, 26 September 2011

For some reason until now i did not notice that BIFF (Chris Garratt and Mick Kidd), mainstays of the British small press comics explosion of the early 1980s, have a website with a huge archive of old cartoons. I just wish they'd stick dates on them all. I vaguely recollect that this is an early one, though I never saw it in colour before.


And the following is later, though I don't remember ever seeing it before at all because I left England in 1986, and they got their regular spot in the Guardian just before that. They stood in for Posy Simmonds in 1985, but after her return they hung around for another twenty years. They currently appear in other assorted mags. This is an apt expression of their modus operandi. (click to enlarge and read)


In a 2007 press release for a retrospective collection, Chris Garratt wrote::
Raised on a diet of Hymns Ancient and Modern, Sartre and Joe Meek hits, Goldfish Virgins of the dodgems, Intrepid Riders of the Waltzers, wags of youth club literati and pioneers of skiffle, the Biff boys belong to a generation that said goodbye to trilby hats, pipes and National Service and ushered in the Golden Age of Rhythm & Blues, Existentialism and Vietnam. Their early work, retrospectively recognised as anglicised Situationism with its artless articulation of image and text détournement, montaging comic strip and philosophy, angst-riddled soliloquies and cowboy drawls, featured prominently in the sprawling publications and smudged ink mags of the Counter Culture.
Holding up a cracked and peeling mirror to a cracked and peeling generation of new adults who exchanged WRP for SDP, beanbags for Habitat and IKEA, Biff eschewed the tedious route of “political satire” and its toothless ranting-to-the-converted in favour of a bewildered but first-hand commentary on the mapless aspirations, pretensions and farcical antics of the baby boomer meritocracy. Threaded through this nonsensical catalogue of faux-academic posturing, management-speak, Baudrillardian ramblings and psychobabble set in the deathly milieu of wicker furniture and avocado dips was a continuing fascination for new frontiers in astronomy, particle physics, psychology and the arts, deliberately colliding such “serious” endeavours with the loonier fringes of self improvement such as cushion-bashing psychotherapy, astrology and sweat lodges.
Biff continues in much the same manner, except without so much glue and scissors. Here's the opening panel of a recent strip (go check them out):

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