by Rob Jackson
Rob’s changed his usual A5 format to a near US comic sized 32 page self-contained full story. It’s a nice format, still handy, but the increased size of the pages gives Rob more space to work with and allows him to get the entire story in without overwhelming panels with expositionary dialogue – useful to get all the epic Goblin-Human battle scenes in as well!
The story is a medieval fairy tale-esque thing with the Goblins on one side and humans on the other. And caught right in the middle is Count Brandade, just returned from 5 years of waging war at the King’s side. All he wants now he’s home is to return to the bosom of his family, see his daughters married off and arrange the marriage of his only son; Englebert to the daughter of a war colleague Count Nantes.
(Page 1 sets the tone of this mediaeval romp quite nicely – “They’re probably all worshipping a magic pig”.)
But in the intervening years strange things have been occurring in the forests surrounding his lands, and his son has fallen in love with a fair maiden who lives in a mysterious hall deep in the woods. On meeting the girl, Count Brandade is impressed and agrres to the match once he meets the girl’s father. Unfortunately for our Count, the girl’s father happens to be the Goblin King, away on Goblin business and the Count finds that the Goblin wine he’s had when meeting his son’s fiancée goes right to his head.
Waking up in a clearing one month later (that Goblin wine is very strong stuff) just after his son’s marriage he realises that strange magics are at work and sets about raising a militia to see off the demons and witchcraft he imagines have caused all this.
From here on in it turns into a spectacular and very funny comedy of errors. Count Brandade meets the Goblin King, realises his son is very happy and is convinced that having a Goblin side to the family could have it’s benefits ….”As you’re in our family now, we’ll help your crops to grow and all your plans to work….“. It all seems perfect and everything is working out just fine.
But like any good comedy of errors things don’t go to plan. First a Goblin hunter turns up, Count Brandade desperately tries to cover, fails miserably and from here things just get wonderfully silly, with the King arriving to reward him for his wartime efforts, the Goblins and humans going to war and Count Brandade caught right in the middle. There’s fighting, massed ranks of armies squaring off, fantastical creatures and poor Brandade doing his best to keep his head down and avoid trouble…..
Just like every other comic of Robs this isn’t some highly polished thing and many will find it too rough and ready for their tastes, but the story and the comedy within are well worth seeking out. I’ve deliberately scanned in some of the great comedy moments but there’s an awful lot of them in Goblin Hall, together with some very nice storytelling and a most satisfying story.
Goblin Hall is available from Rob’s website for £3.