One April Fool’s Day, when I was very young, I decided to play a trick on my Mum and Dad. I usually got up around 6 am, before they did, usually beaten to it by our two cats, both of whom I learned to feed quite early on. But this particular day, because it was April 1st and it was a publicly-sanctioned thing that we should all play tricks on each other, I decided it would be a delightful wheeze if I went into my parents’ bedroom screaming and crying about how the cats had been brutally murdered and that their bloody carcasses were strewn around the kitchen floor. To my astonishment, they believed me, at least until they hurried downstairs to see the cats were fine. I was even more astonished though when they made it grumpily clear that what I’d done was a terrible, terrible thing, that it wasn’t funny in the slightest, that I’d actually caused them quite a bit of distress and I should never, ever do it again. It’s the kind of embarrassing story I should really keep to myself, but I’m telling you it now as a way of illustrating that: a) The sort of thing you find funny when you’re a kid generally doesn’t translate to adulthood, and b) I was a deeply weird kid with a dark sense of humour who should probably have been investigated by experts. Apeth is another example of my sense of humour. The sort of thing I would have found utterly hilarious when I was eight, but now just seems weird. I don’t just mean unfunny. I mean deeply, deeply weird. Ostensibly it’s just me having a mad half hour and showing off about how clever I am - proving I can spell by deliberately spelling everything badly. To do this, I create a character called Apeth, a purple gorilla from outer space who left his home planet when it exploded one day. (Just like Superman! But why write a good origin story when you can nick someone else’s?) I know he’s purple because he returns one day in colour. And I know he’s silly because he can’t spell. The name - Apeth - was a mild-mannered, good-natured Yorkshire insult, the sort of thing my Gran might have called me - “you daft apeth” - meaning “you silly sausage” or “you soft berk.” I don’t know exactly where the word comes from but I’ve often thought it might actually be spelt ha’porth - short for ‘halfpennyworth’ - which would make a lot of sense as an old-timey insult. As in, you’re not all there - you’re not a full penny’s worth, just half a bag. Perfect name for a character who’s a complete idiot. Not sure I would have thought all that as a kid, but that’s why I drew him as an ape, and the beauty of the pun would have been completely lost on me. All very nice and whimsical. But then you read his amusing story, and it’s basically the tale of a man who loses his home and his parents, gets sent to Earth as a refugee, then falls in love with a dead woman, performs necromancy on her which at first succeeds, then fails, then succeeds and fails several times more, until finally she can’t ever be resurrected again and is completely dead forever. Hilarious. My sides just won’t stop splitting. I can’t wait till my own wife dies so I can relive this hilarity in real life.
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Apeth (from Outer Space!)
Apeth
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Ward’s 7 John Ward and his band of rebels fight the evil Federation
A Translation (in case you need one) I was on my home planet when a professor said he had predicted my planet’s blow-up! I was scared. My Mum said I must go in a rocket to outer space! I got in my rocket and blasted into outer space. Note: my home planet is called Aplathf. I came to your planet Earth to find my wife. I found my wife… but dead!!! Then I joined a team called The Nutty Gang. In it is: Tedosaurus; Black Booty; Deaf Lugs; The Incredible Pumpkin; and Shane Wepherd. We want to bring my wife back to life! One day, we brought my wife back to life. But then she died again! It went on and on. But one day we couldn’t bring her back to life again! The End.
To be fair, I might not have actually found the story hilarious myself. I might just have been trying to make someone else laugh - the teacher, probably - and totally missing the mark. I might not even have thought about it much at all - like all these things, it’s probably just automatic writing. I simply wrote whatever came into my head, without thinking too far past the next sentence. But that can’t be true, can it? As the story progresses, you realise it’s not just about him, but a whole bunch of additional characters I had in my head. I list them all by name. The next story in the book is all about the next one on the list. It looks to me like I actually had a grand plan in mind, to write an origin story for each of these characters until I had a whole Beano full of comedy cartoon weirdos I could write silly dark stories about till I went purple in the face. And then I realise that’s actually something new, for this boy. I’m not saying it was the first time I thought up weird comedy characters, but it’s the first I’ve got any evidence of. I’d tried comedy before in The Hat’s Adventure, but that was just a pair of talking hats. This is a fully- realised character with a name, a backstory and a distinctive way of speaking. In fact, I don’t think, up to this point, I’ve gone into so much depth about any one character. Especially not one I invented myself. So this is a breakthrough. And it’s one I keep on milking for the rest of the year. Apeth will return a few times - never in quite as detailed or dark a fashion as he appears here - but he’s just the first of an ever-increasing list of silly names and crazy faces I keep adding to throughout my time in Fairburn. None of which are remotely funny. But that didn’t stop me trying.
Fiends of the Eastern Front Vampires, paraphrased from 2000 AD
Tedosaurus Prehistoric fun with a teddy bear the size of a dinosaur!
Captain Carnivore Gary Shepherd is hunted down by a deadly flying meteor
Florence Nightingale What if Florence Nightingale had lived in the Year 2000?
Optical Illusion Time Amazing visual tricks that will boggle your mind!
ENGLISH 2 A general increase in manic stupidity and excessive violence
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
Happy Easter! A home made Easter card I made for my Mum and Dad
Grobschnitt’s Page Meet Grobschnitt, the dome-headed Harbinger of Mischief
Apeth (from Ota Sbees) Ritern ov thu perpal geriller
Exploring the Underworld Eight boys go exploring in a dangerous cave
Captain Starlight Know your Starlight superheroes with this amazing fact file!
The Yellyog Gang Meet my latest hideous bunch of nutty nightmare fuellers
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Waen Shepherd 2 Waen’s heroic antics in the far-flung future of 2007 AD!
Apeth
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
Apeth
One April Fool’s Day, when I was very young, I decided to play a trick on my Mum and Dad. I usually got up around 6 am, before they did, usually beaten to it by our two cats, both of whom I learned to feed quite early on. But this particular day, because it was April 1st and it was a publicly-sanctioned thing that we should all play tricks on each other, I decided it would be a delightful wheeze if I went into my parents’ bedroom screaming and crying about how the cats had been brutally murdered and that their bloody carcasses were strewn around the kitchen floor. To my astonishment, they believed me, at least until they hurried downstairs to see the cats were fine. I was even more astonished though when they made it grumpily clear that what I’d done was a terrible, terrible thing, that it wasn’t funny in the slightest, that I’d actually caused them quite a bit of distress and I should never, ever do it again. It’s the kind of embarrassing story I should really keep to myself, but I’m telling you it now as a way of illustrating that: a) The sort of thing you find funny when you’re a kid generally doesn’t translate to adulthood, and b) I was a deeply weird kid with a dark sense of humour who should probably have been investigated by experts. Apeth is another example of my sense of humour. The sort of thing I would have found utterly hilarious when I was eight, but now just seems weird. I don’t just mean unfunny. I mean deeply, deeply weird. Ostensibly it’s just me having a mad half hour and showing off about how clever I am - proving I can spell by deliberately spelling everything badly. To do this, I create a character called Apeth, a purple gorilla from outer space who left his home planet when it exploded one day. (Just like Superman! But why write a good origin story when you can nick someone else’s?) I know he’s purple because he returns one day in colour. And I know he’s silly because he can’t spell. The name - Apeth - was a mild-mannered, good- natured Yorkshire insult, the sort of thing my Gran might have called me - “you daft apeth” - meaning “you silly sausage” or “you soft berk.” I don’t know exactly where the word comes from but I’ve often thought it might actually be spelt ha’porth - short for ‘halfpennyworth’ - which would make a lot of sense as an old-timey insult. As in, you’re not all there - you’re not a full penny’s worth, just half a bag. Perfect name for a character who’s a complete idiot. Not sure I would have thought all that as a kid, but that’s why I drew him as an ape, and the beauty of the pun would have been completely lost on me. All very nice and whimsical. But then you read his amusing story, and it’s basically the tale of a man who loses his home and his parents, gets sent to Earth as a refugee, then falls in love with a dead woman, performs necromancy on her which at first succeeds, then fails, then succeeds and fails several times more, until finally she can’t ever be resurrected again and is completely dead forever. Hilarious. My sides just won’t stop splitting. I can’t wait till my own wife dies so I can relive this hilarity in real life.
A Translation (in case you need one) I was on my home planet when a professor said he had predicted my planet’s blow-up! I was scared. My Mum said I must go in a rocket to outer space! I got in my rocket and blasted into outer space. Note: my home planet is called Aplathf. I came to your planet Earth to find my wife. I found my wife… but dead!!! Then I joined a team called The Nutty Gang. In it is: Tedosaurus; Black Booty; Deaf Lugs; The Incredible Pumpkin; and Shane Wepherd. We want to bring my wife back to life! One day, we brought my wife back to life. But then she died again! It went on and on. But one day we couldn’t bring her back to life again! The End.
To be fair, I might not have actually found the story hilarious myself. I might just have been trying to make someone else laugh - the teacher, probably - and totally missing the mark. I might not even have thought about it much at all - like all these things, it’s probably just automatic writing. I simply wrote whatever came into my head, without thinking too far past the next sentence. But that can’t be true, can it? As the story progresses, you realise it’s not just about him, but a whole bunch of additional characters I had in my head. I list them all by name. The next story in the book is all about the next one on the list. It looks to me like I actually had a grand plan in mind, to write an origin story for each of these characters until I had a whole Beano full of comedy cartoon weirdos I could write silly dark stories about till I went purple in the face. And then I realise that’s actually something new, for this boy. I’m not saying it was the first time I thought up weird comedy characters, but it’s the first I’ve got any evidence of. I’d tried comedy before in The Hat’s Adventure, but that was just a pair of talking hats. This is a fully-realised character with a name, a backstory and a distinctive way of speaking. In fact, I don’t think, up to this point, I’ve gone into so much depth about any one character. Especially not one I invented myself. So this is a breakthrough. And it’s one I keep on milking for the rest of the year. Apeth will return a few times - never in quite as detailed or dark a fashion as he appears here - but he’s just the first of an ever-increasing list of silly names and crazy faces I keep adding to throughout my time in Fairburn. None of which are remotely funny. But that didn’t stop me trying.
Florence Nightingale What if Florence Nightingale had lived in the Year 2000?
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
The Yellyog Gang Meet my latest hideous bunch of nutty nightmare fuellers