The Vicar Chronicles Vol. 1 (The Vicar, Ltd.)


Rating: 3/5 – An Irreverent Look Behind the Scenes of the British Music Industry.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

The Vicar Chronicles are a series of whodunnits set in and around the music industry and ostensibly revolve around the eccentric British music producer “The Vicar”, but are told from the viewpoint of his assistant Punk Sanderson, which is the nom de plume of the author of the prose novels these graphic adaptations are based on.  This volume is written by David Singleton (from the novel) and drawn by Ben Singleton.

This “Chronicle The First” is titled The Mysterious Case of Billy’s G-String and we get a look inside the British music industry, replete with large breasted women, copious amount of drinking & drugs, and capricious musical artists, just what I’d imagine the music industry is like!   Punk (who uses this name to avoid libel suits) seems to have been around the industry a while and certainly makes this seem like an accurate look behind the curtains, but I’m not an industry insider so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the depiction, but it “feels right”.

I really enjoyed the story, but where it fell down for me was the artwork which seemed more suited for a humorous webcomic than a long-form graphic novel.  It has a certain charm but the stiff figures, faces that feel just a bit “off”, and minimal backgrounds really took me out of the story.  That said, it is available in other forms, notably the novels that can be had digitally on Kindle for a very reasonable price, as an audio book AND what I found that was phenomenal is a series of YouTube videos by “Punk Sanderson” telling the story (part one is embedded below).

In the videos Punk has a great high-energy delivery and  playing the videos whilst following along with the graphic novel is my recommended way to get the maximum enjoyment out of these tales.  The videos can be enjoyed on their own but when viewed in conjunction with the GN, they serve to tick the score up a notch by allowing a multi-media form of enjoyment that transcends the printed graphic novel read on it’s own.  Be aware that the videos don’t follow the GN word-for-word, but they do follow the basic story flow and allow Ben Singleton’s art to provide a general backdrop for the tales as narrated by Punk.  I’m cheating a bit by including video accompaniment in a graphic novel review, but it’s available and enhanced the experience for me, so I figured “What the Heck!”

If you have any interest in music, comedy, or just plain great entertainment, click on the video above and enjoy!  Then go and check out The Vicar website and see if there’s something you’d like to buy to continue your journey of discovery behind the scenes of the British music industry!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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