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
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
A Mad Half Hour Ranting in the Attic 1984
COMEDY Back Up Top 1971-2016
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