Review: Pirate Fun: The First Trial

Hurray, Fun Mudlfter is back! If like us you are huge fans of Colin Bell and Neil Slorance’s cult classic, Dungeon Fun then this is very welcome news indeed (and if you’re not a fan, then you really should be!) The intrepid hero of the excellent all ages quest adventure Dungeon Fun is back and this time she is looking to find her parents in the aptly named Plunderland. But will Pirate Fun be a quest worth embarking upon?

Publisher: Do Gooder Comics
Writer: Colin Bell
Artist: Nil Slorance, David B Cooper, Colin Bell
Price: TBC

Colin Bell and Neil Slorance’s Dungeon Fun became a cult small press classic thanks to the zany antics and quick-witted chat of its heroine Fun Mudlifter. Orphaned as a child, when she was thrown into a muddy ravine, Fun was inspired to set off on a quest when a cursed sword was thrown into her world and she decided to go and complain to the queen! Along the way she encountered a host of strange and bizarre characters and found out more about her past while making us laugh and grin on every page. It managed to perfectly balance the quirky humour of a Saturday morning cartoon, with the high energy antics of a Jamie Smart comic to create a truly magical series. And so it is with great excitement that after a couple of years away, Fun has retuned. And this time she is off to find her pirate parents.

Having mined the fantasy genre for all it’s worth in Dungeon Fun, Bell and Slorance have turned their attentions to the world of pirates this time, to create another hilarious chapter in the Fun Mudlifter story. From the opener, that sees a bunch of pirates sing their woes and invite themselves round to one of their crew mates’ house for tea via a sea shanty, through to the foreboding krackoctopus; via the X-Factor inspired pirate auction process, Pirate Fun is packed full of clever and inventive ideas, laugh out loud jokes and a crazy and zany attitude which makes it a joy to read. It’s like Adventure Time crossed with The Secret of Monkey Island.

As with any good sequel, there is a nice balance of old and new. All your favourite characters of Dungeon Fun are back: from Fun and Graves (her ghostly knight companion); through to Bronan, Hel and Frank Baxter. But there’s also new characters like Philip Fun (a poor punning Peter Pan parody) and Blancbeard the pirate, to name just a few.

Bell’s script fizzes with the quirky, often hilarious dialogue and wordplay that we loved in Dungeon Fun and every page is packed with jokes and clever visual tricks that if they don’t get you on the first read, will get you on repeat reading (or are simply sowing the seeds for a joke in three issues time).

Slorance’s artwork continues to bring every page to life too. And while it has become a bit more polished since the first days of Dungeon Fun, it’s not become so slick that it loses the charm and simplicity that makes this world and it’s characters so much fun to read.

Whether this is your first time getting into the world of Fun or you’re a seasoned campaigner, Pirate Fun is pretty much your perfect all ages book. Packed full of whacky characters and colourful situations for kids of all ages to enjoy, but with enough clever word play and satire for the adults (and without going too far in the other direction and becoming snarky and self knowing!). Fun is not your cookie cutter Disney Princess type heroine either, she is at best cheeky and mischievous and at worst, downright violent and terrifying (such as when she practices her ‘sword to the face’ move) but this is what makes her all the more entertaining as a result.

The only downside to this first issue is that by the time you get to the end you are clamouring for more, and so we hope that Fun won’t be disappearing onto the high seas for long as we cannot wait for her to embark on the second trial of her pirate adventure!