Propaganda – Sally-Anne Hickman’s beautifully crafted tales of smelly dogs and brutally honest autobiography

Published On September 30, 2008 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, General, Reviews

Sex, Drawn & Rock-n-Roll and A Stinky Tail

By Sally-Anne Hickman

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More great British small press goodness. And another couple of books that only the small press could give us; A6 sized (roughly the size of a postcard) with beautifully hand-made and original covers – glitter, cut out panels, pink scrap booking paper, embossed hearts, all working together to make a special little package. Such hand-made material is delightful, obviously it’s small scale and deliberately so but it’s lovely to see that, although the intention behind the comics is non-professional, the books themselves are both of a really high quality.

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(A Stinky Tail by Sally-Ann Hickman.)

A Stinky Tail is practically an all-ages rhyming short story of 13 pages, telling the tale of a particularly foul smelling dog and his revenge on a village not too tolerant of his unique pong. It’s fun, silly, rhymes well and has all the gross out comedy needed to make the kids guffaw. By the time the villagers burn the poor thing at the stake you’ll be glad of the ending where our day has his day. A great little comic.

If A Stinky Tail is fun, gross out comedy that children could potentially read then Sex, Drawn & Rock-n-Roll is definitely a grown up thing. Sally-Ann has done a few of these diary comics, with this one covering February 2006, each page a day in 4 panels. It’s a candid and funny look at Sally-Anne’s life, trying to get enough money to make the rent by working two or three jobs whilst juggling band practice, going out and lots of drinking. The pretty pink cover and the delicate tracing paper frontispieces definitely give the wrong impression of this one. It’s autobiographical comics done with obvious nods to the work of Julie Douchet, another cartoonist not afraid to paint herself in a non too flattering light. But Sally-Ann does it very well, with a relaxed, easy going art style perfectly suited to her conversational storytelling and natural dialogue.

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(The start of a month of work, little sleep, burning candles at both ends and the inevitable health problems. Sex, Drawn & Rock-n-Roll by Sally-Anne Hickman)

As with all of these beautiful, idiosyncratic bits of British Small Press weirdness I’ve been reviewing lately, you can pick Sally-Anne’s comics up from the Camden Comics Stall every Saturday in London. Aside from that, there’s e-mail, a rather old and sparse blog or a search on facebook for Sally-Anne Hickman will get you in touch with her.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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