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And then this happened. Since Shane Wepherd was the character closest to being a bona fide alter ego I'd ever had, it was natural I'd want to use him to express certain things that were going on in my life. Around the end of March 1984, puberty hit me in a big way and for a while all I could think about was sex.

 

At the same time (though I can't date any of it precisely, since it was an ongoing on-and-off problem throughout the time we lived in Pontefract from the end of 1982 to the time my Dad finally left home for good at the end of 1986), my parents' marriage was slowly falling apart. My home life wasn't always terrible, but over the years my life in that house became more frequently interrupted by incredibly loud, distressing and sometimes violent arguments, which made their way in a distorted form into my 'work', if that's what this is.

 

And it makes sense that Shane - an imaginary grown-up version of me who had a wife, son and daughter of his own, would be the right person to explore these newfound issues. So suddenly in this strip we suddenly find him having an affair, masturbating to porn, keeping his mistress' knickers as a souvenir, being chucked out of the house, having sex, staring longingly at his new girlfriend's breasts and finally discovering she is pregnant.

 

There's something acutely embarrassing about all this of course - I wrote it when I was 12 and teenage sexuality isn't exactly a thing we talk about very often. The clash of worlds is incredibly bizarre too - one day, I'm a nerdy kid who makes comics in his bedroom, which are usually about space, robots, horror or a man being killed on Mars by a plague of bogies - the next I'm the same boy but it's all tits, wanking, fucking, knickers, rubber Johnnies and pregnancy. Calling the mistress 'Bobby Spastic' doesn't really help either - maybe I thought it would lighten the mood, but it just makes me cringe even more. This is an adult story written by a child, so it's bound to get everything a little bit - no, sorry, a lot - wrong.

 

Then again, there's another part of me that is so grateful I kept it. It's rare you see this kind of development in somebody's creative work (I know I didn't write about this sort of thing at school) and it seems to capture a particular time - when I was still a child, but rapidly evolving into a teenager, my head and my whole body filled with new ideas and urges that no one had ever told me to expect and I couldn't really talk to anyone about. So yeah, it's embarrassing, but hey, I'm in my mid-forties now and I don't have to be cool any more. I don't have to keep this to myself any more.

 

By the way, I feel a duty to point out that the problems my parents had were far more complex than this comic strip might suggest, and this story may be based more on sexual fantasy than anything that was really going on with my parents. Though the bit on Page 2 where Shane's mother punches Wifuv in the face might be directly influenced by a rather distressing physical confrontation between my Mum and my grandma Mary, with whom we then lived. Needless to say, that living arrangement didn't work out and Mary & Jack left soon after. Dad wasn't far behind.

 

But enough of that - comedy is supposed to be fun! Right?

 

By the way, if you think this is embarrassing, why not take a look at this? Or listen to this?

Knob Head Magazine (1984)
HOME
A Mad Half Hour
Ranting in the Attic
1984
COMEDY
Back Up Top
1971-2016
Bobby Goes to Scunthorpe (Spring 1984)
Shane Wepherd: The Affair (Part 2, Page 1)
Shane Wepherd: The Affair (Part 1, Page 1)
Shane Wepherd: The Affair (Part 1, Page 2)
Shane Wepherd: The Affair (Part 2, Page 2)
Knob Head Magazine
A comic for adults only
1984
Shane Wepherd
The Arspain
1983/1984
Underpants
A pretend hit single
1984
Bobby Goes to Scunthorpe
My first comedy song
Spring 1984
A picture I stuck to my bedroom door in an attempt to keep people out
Knob Head - no childish stuff here, folks! Just good, hard adult fun!
Gary Le Strange relaxing in the Comedy Store
Arspain knocks down the Leaning Tower of Pisa
My pretend record "Underpants" probably did well in my imaginary Top 40
Detail from the tape cover to The Wepherds, which features my first recorded comedy song