Review: Dungeon Fun (BHP Comics)

With Colin Bell and Neil Slorance’s cult classic, Dungeon Fun, being re-released via BHP Comics (And the new volume Pirate Fun earning rave reviews), what better time to look back at the outrageous adventure of Fun Mudlifter and her pals!

Publisher: BHP Comics
Writer: Colin Bell
Artist: Neil Slorance
Price: £14.99 from BHP Comics

This story about a girl and her sword begins with both landing in a huge muddy pile having being cast aside into the moat of a castle and ending up in a place called Deepmoat. The girl is Fun Mudlifter, a spirited young lass who, several years after her arrival in the middy world of Deepmoat, sees a large sword land into her home. So she sets off to do something about it and confront the queen. But in order to do this, she has to make her way through the dungeon that lies beyond Deepmoat. Along the way she encounters ghostly knights with considerable clout, arachnid dungeon masters, lava monsters, creepy sheriffs and a ninja assassin with a secret to tell. And all of this is told with the lightning pace of wit of one of the most enjoyable and laugh out loud hilarious small press comics going.

Instead of making Dungeon Fun into a po-faced and serious fantasy adventure, Bell and Slorrance have opted for something much more fun. It feels like an Adult Swim adaptation of a Terry Pratchett novel as it mixes familiar fantasy cliches (the adventurer on a quest and her fantastic sidekick) with lightning fast humour that ranges from smart to silly to surreal. From the opening premise, which is completely ridiculous, through to the wonderful characters Mud meets along the way, this is a book packed full of fun and inventiveness. Whether it is Graves the knight who is cursed to be connected to Fun’s sword, through to Frank the arachnid dungeon master who keeps directing people to his carnivorous mum, through to Bronan the headless or the wonderful prophet Elliseye whose book of prophecies seem to revolve largely around making him sandwiches. These characters are perfectly balanced to be silly and funny, but also there is a real emotional depth to them, so that when bad things happen you end up genuinely caring about them.

Putting the fun into Dungeons

Fun is also a fantastic lead character. Heroic, not but too perfect. Flawed but without being complex and self righteous. And even a bit obnoxious without being off putting. Her relationships with her dungeon friends sparkles with laugh out loud dialogue and quotable moments and without a doubt she is one of our favourite female small press heroines out there.

Visually, Dungeon Fun feels like it is relatively simple but it’s anything but. Looking back at those early pages you can see a roughness and informality to Slorance’s work, but never in a bad way. However what you can see from the very beginning is the visual flair that this book would develop. The tight panel designs cram the pages full of gags and sight jokes that make it feel more like a newspaper strip than a long winded fantasy epic and if one joke doesn’t land there will be another one a couple of panels later. And this is mostly because the characters and world are perfectly realised, especially the various monsters like the Wurstest (a three headed beats where one head is friendly, but allergic to humans) or Ochodextro (a terrifying spider creature and Frank’s mum) who inhabit the dungeon. It looks fantastic and has a vibrancy and brightness to it’s colour palette which matches the wit of the writing.

It’s not often that a book can keep you smiling and laughing from the first page to the last, but Dungeon Fun manages just that. This is a superb addition to the BHP Comics roster and we hope it gives new fans the chance to discover what a magnificent and uplifting read Dungeon Fun is!