Minorly incensed at lollard Magnus’s deliberate snub of “It’s Hot” magazine (see the recent Lollards episode), specifically the Busted cartoon strip therein, I have bought the latest issue of this BBC mag as a catch up. (Fortunately my work colleagues are used to me distributing the free gifts from magazines like this, and the Lindsay/Paris/Christina nail gloss was actually well received.)

They’ve really scaled down the comic strips from the height of pop-love when i bought it semi-regularly 2 or 3 years back. It used to be a separate “pull out” section featuring Busted, EastEnders, “back stage” at Top o the Pops, “PopSchool” and a variety of low-level teen ‘sleb stuff usually featuring people like Peter Andre and Fearne Cotton playing practical jokes on each other. Quite different from the “Look In” era of “The Story of ABBA”, near-documentary, strips, but still part of the “so important they merit a comic” canon.

Casualty with Lil Chris
[UPDATED with extra scans now]

Weighing in at a (mc)flyweight 8 sides, here’s what you missed in the February comics pages:

Eastenders panelEastEnders non-canon tales – 2 pages of STILL very poorly drawn incident. It used to regularly feature Ruby and Stacy — ideal “It’s Hot” reader role-models — but this month features Charlie, Mo and Jane. This is possibly the most boring story I’ve ever seen in comic format (including the Book of Ruth) and it staggers me that any tweenager will look at this for more than 10 picoseconds, even if they strongly identify with these most pedestrian of characters.

Sam and markThe TMi cartoon – starring Sam & Mark and Caroline. Note the ampersand and the ‘and’ are important. “Sam & Mark”. This is also monstrously poorly drawn – possibly using clip art*. Sam and Mark try to throw very different parties at the same time – and from there the ennui arises. If you don’t know what TMi is, good for you.

mcfly’s magic busMcFly’s Magic Bus – still going strong after a couple of years. 2.5 sides of football-related borderline-fun. The gang are in the new Wembley (the bus can travel in time): “Look, it’s… it’s Steven Gerrard and John Terry!”. One of the blonde ones doesn’t like mud but still gets a goal and England win.

Casualty with Lil Chris - whole pageCASUALTY (100% official) – this is genius. Not only does it hit out at the many unofficial Casualty strips out there, it spits in their intellectual-property-disregarding faces by not really featuring characters from the show. Instead it “guest stars” diminutive british rocker Lil Chris. Precedent for this being McFly turned up in an ACTUAL telly episode once.

Chris has a problem, for you see, he is lil. So lil in fact that he cannot reach the biscuits on a shelf, a jumper stacked high in a shop, or the buttons in a lift. The stunty scamp decides to remedy the situation… He asks at the local A&E. Naturally he is rebuffed by a couple of vaguely recognisable Casualty characters – presumably on the basis that ‘being short’ is low on the triage checklist, being neither Accident nor Emergency. Not ill – just lil. Fortune strikes though when he notices the queue of waiting circus folk. They are visiting A&E because the big-top has burned down you see. Logically, Lil Chris then steals him some stilts. Exeunt pursued by clown. The End.

* This mag was the BBC’s guinea pig for working with InDesign so possibly the freelanced out art was done with a hooky copy of Adobe Illustrator 5. And a copy of “Clip Art 6”