Peter Morey’s Endswell has that quintessential English charm and melodrama of the Archers, but as if told through the lens of a British small press comic. With issue 3 debuting at this weekend’s Thought Bubble 2021 Comic Festival, we ask the all important question – just what has happened to Josh the bichon frise!
Publisher: Peter Morey
Writer: Peter Morey
Artist: Peter Morey
Price: £10 from Peter’s Online Shop
Endswell is one of those books we wished we discovered earlier, as working our way through these these three issues is an utter delight. The story is based around a family and their parents farm which is the core of their world. Endswell is based on Peters own family but adapted for dramatic purposes. Issue 1 sees the family have to deal their mothers new gold digger boyfriend. Issue 2 looks at their mothers history of adopting animals. While 3 looks back at their fathers life and legacy. It’s a wonderful mix of the serious, surreal and the bittersweet, but with the kind of consistently told tales which every family has. Morey plays up these moments for dramatic effect to make a compelling comic, but it still feels eminently relatable and like something which is everyone’s family. It’s a bit like the Eelman Chronicles it is just one of those thoroughly British book full of quirky characters, that no matter how outlandish it gets there is still that core of realism that keeps it on track. (So much so Morey makes a self aware joke of this in issue 3 with his family appearing as talking heads bemoaning their portrayal in the book).
Each issue has its own separate story yet common themes and characters flow from one issue to the next. Although this is great way to stop the story getting bogged down and gives each issue its own style, we did get to the end of issue 3 and really wanted to know what happened to Josh the bichon frise.
Visually, Morey has this lovely meticulous but simple and characterful style. His panels are immaculately designed and mix simple and stylish talking heads with more detailed annotated pages that lean into a more illustrative style – in particular in issue 3 when he looks at his Grandpa’s time in the RAF and building up his factory. It has a very hand drawn charm to it so you can see every pen mark, but also this precision and accuracy that makes the whole book feel very considered and designed. It manages the latter without every losing the rough edges that give it the charm and realism. When we met him in 2019 he was doing a huge flow diagram style mural on a wall behind his table at Thought Bubble and you can see the meticulous nature needed to create something like that in this book.
All in all Endswell is one of those wonderful books which reminds us why we love British small press comics. It is a wonderful mix of engaging and fascinating characters, with superb artwork and a dry as a bone sense of humour. Make sure you head over to his table at thought bubble and pick up the lot!