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  • Skizz
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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
9
Skizz
Format: Paperback|Change


on 7 April 2002
Back in the 80s, 2000AD script writer Alan Moore was asked to come up with a response to ET, in the style of the comic at that time. Moore, being a lateral thinking kinda guy decided to put a spin on the whole thing. The result was Skizz, which far from being a cuddly 'family' alien movie on paper became a somewhat depressing, emotional and classic tale. It is unmistakably British in both attitude and realism. From the Fonz-like Loz to schoolgirl Roxy, the characters are fascinating, albeit stylised caricatures crafted to perfectly fit the scenario they are in.
Alan Moore is arguably the greatest comics author in history and Skizz does nothing to taint that.
Jim Baikie's art is superb and really does fit the story. You know an artist is right for a script when you simply can't imagine anyone else drawing it, even 'better' artists such as Bolland or Gibbons.
One thing I must point out, is that this really is a piece of its time. It is set in the 1980s under Thatcherism with anti-establishment feeling rife throughout the piece. The references are easy to pick up on if you lived through that dark decade, but perhaps a little tough for a teenager today to fully understand what the underlying feeling behind some of the dialogue is. There are lovely little moments such as (from memory):
Van Owen "The police? now we're getting somewhere. What did she tell you about the police?"
Skizz: "She said... they're not as good as Madness."
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on 21 January 2011
Well, not quite. But it is a story based on E.T. with Thatcher's poverty-stricken Northern England used as a backdrop. The warm, fuzzy nature of Skizz and his relationship with the main characters provides a lovely contrast to the bleak, monochrome enviroment where it all takes place. This is a political story but not heavy-handed, it's all very subtle and there's little philosophical exposition. This comic would be ideal for younger kids as well as adults; if you'd like to get them to read a comic with some decent moral value, which isn't overtly violent, or immersed in Disney sentimentality; then pick this up! Given the nature of the Economy right now, there hasn't been a better time to read Skizz since it was originally published.

Oh, and the black and white artwork by Jim Baikie is amazing!
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on 14 January 2007
A real piece of 1980s culture but none-the-worse for it. Pre Watchmen, Moore was writing stuff like this for 2000AD and it is only right that a larger audience gets to savour such a classic. Suprisingly for Moore lots of feel-good mixed in with the gritty - From Hell it certainly isn't but not every book needs that level of darkness. There's still a bad guy - a typical apartheid era South African - and loads of ordinary folk who when pushed become heroes.

Be warned it's in Black & White but the art is as good as the plot and dialogue.
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on 6 August 2010
A friend of mine once described Alan Moore as "the most normal man in Northampton". It still makes me chuckle to this day. I've never been to Northampton but I love the idea of Moore stalking his way through the gloomy urban twilight, perhaps off to worship a snake god or write about a superhero printer "T for Typesetter" perhaps? As he walks heads turn, "look at his unexciting beard, windswept is so last year and his jewelry, so passe darling".

In reality down the years Moore has slipped into the category of "great British eccentric", though thankfully without ticking the "cherished national institution" box, Moore's often controvertial work and uncompromising attitudes keeps him at arms length from Graham Norton and a FHM interview. That and the fact that most jounalists can't be bothered slogging all the way to Northampton to meet a man who probably doesn't want to meet them, only to find the town is full of loads of less normal people who would make a great piece on the modern city for The Guardian or something.

I don't think I could bear the thought of Alan Moore appearing as himself in a Doctor Who christmas special or as a panelist on Nevermind The Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell giggling like a big nerd as Alan fails to know the next line from Can U Dig It by Pop Will Eat Itself. Thankfully the mainstream has never come knocking that loudly.

It should have done though. Back in 1983 Alan Moore was still known as Art Droid Moore down at the 2000AD Nerve Centre, writing one off stories with a clever twist for a green bloke called Tharg. E.T. had been a smash hit at the cinema a year previously and sure enough Moore was asked to "knock us up one of them." What resulted turned out to be not only a wonderful childrens comic, but what could have also been the greatest kids TV show of the 80s. No. Really. It would have beaten Knightmare, laughed in the face of Roobarb and Custard and took Rentaghost round the back of the youth club and given it a good kicking. Picture the scene, it's Saturday 5:15, Doctor Who is off air, the nights are drawing in you pop the TV on and...

Well actually you can't picture the scene because I haven't told you anything about the book yet, don't worry I probably will at some point. First though I should mention (Art Droid) Jim Baikie. Not one of 2000AD's best known artists Baikie plays a blinder here, his sketch style giving a great humanity to our loveable alien and a grimy reality to 1980s Birmingham.

Anyway the story, basically it's E.T. set in Birmingham. What made it really interesting was the fact that as he was writing Alan Moore watched "Boys From The Blackstuff." If you haven't seen "Boys From The Blackstuff" then quite frankly you haven't lived. It's amazing. Basically Skizz's spaceship crashes, a very 80s looking girl called Roxy takes him in, but the British Government (represented by a South African bloke) kidnap him, leaving Roxy, two friends of her dad and the local Socialist Worker Party to rescue him.

The real stars of the show are Loz and Cornelius, former colleagues of Roxy's dad, having been laid off they spend their empty days scouring Birmingham looking for work. Loz is an everyman looking out for pal Cornelius, a gentle giant driven to the edge, perpetually insisting "I've got my pride" and asking Skizz if they need any pipe fitters in space. It's all cracking stuff and the final few pages will inspire even the most cynical amongst you and warm your cockles as we head back to a grimmer, greyer, more Thatcherite Britain.

Anyway it's a hell of a lot better than this review of it is and a gentler introduction to Moore's work than say Lost Girls. Hopefully a few quid goes to Alan Moore for each copy. No wants to see him knocking up a quiche on Celebrity Masterchef.

PS The character Cornelius is named after avante guarde musician and socialist Cornelius Cardew. I mention this at the end because it doesn't really fit anywhere else.
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on 9 January 2014
I picked this up at a local comic convention last year, on a whim. I did not regret it. Skizz is a short, straight-forward E.T. kind of story that is compelling, thought-provoking and funny. The perfect read if you are looking for something not too challenging yet gripping.
Alan Moore's characters are very well-crafted, that is no secret. Cornelius, who is very reminiscent of Tom Cullen (Stephen King's The Stand), is the stand-out character in the book as far as I'm concerned.
5 out of 5 mostly because, for a moment, I felt like a kid again.
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on 3 November 2014
Needless to say, this is THE definitive 'alien lands on Earth' story, not just in comics but in any medium. However, I had to knock a star off because this particular edition misses out one of the pages from the original strips (Cornelius threatening nosey journalists in his local boozer), which is rather annoying.
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on 21 April 2010
A long time ago, I read and episode of Skizz in an old Annual. It was something new, refreshing and pictured the time I was living in (The 80's). So when I saw this was available, I had to buy it. I enjoyed reading it, it was a reminder of how things were under the conservative Government, with many people out of work trying to last through the week until their Gyro cheque arrived in the post. Problem is that unless you remember the 80's, a lot of the in picture gags are going to be lost on you. Still its a good read from face value, and quite a good introduction to the Skizz character. If Memory serves me right, Alan Moore went on to do a sequel, but I've not seen it in print. The story is in black and white despite the colour cover, which may put off the new generation comic book reader, but I have to say I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to any who wanted to see what it was really like in the 80's.
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on 6 November 2010
Thoroughly enjoyable. Alan Moore's take on E.T. with his usual humour and great dialogue. The artwork is nothing special and though it is very much of the "80s" it is still very enjoyable.
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on 19 March 2012
This book is quite entertaining but pales in comparison to most of the other Alan Moore books I have read.
Allegedly there is supposed to be a dose of US/UK cultural contrast and criticism but I'm dubious of this.
I really think I agree with most critics of this book, it's just a cash in on ET.
Read if you are a fan and want to complete some kind of Alan Moore altar.
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