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‘Sir Alfred #3’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Tim Hensley
Published by Fantagraphics


Good eve-uh-ning!

I recently reviewed Detention by Tim Hensley and while I didn’t care for that book, I did make note of the fact that I quite liked the artist’s cartooning style. It’s on display here again in Fantagraphics’ second edition of Sir Alfred, a collection of short comic strips about and starring a diminutive version of the legendary filmmaker, Sir Alfred Hitchcock.

Actually, the bulk of this volume is drawn in delightful homage to the classic Little Lulu comic book stories of John Stanley and Irving Tripp. As with Detention, Sir Alfred is no doubt funnier if one is familiar with the source material which, in this case, I happen to be.

Back in the 1970s, I was able to see many of Hitch’s greatest films in big screen revivals. I had grown up with his dark-humored TV persona but seeing those classics and reading Hitchcock-Truffaut gave me a whole new perspective on the great director. One of the very first things I ever videotaped when I got my first Betamax in 1980 was a PBS documentary on Hitchcock.

So, yeah. A little rusty after all this time but for the most part, I was up on Hitch. As such, I, personally, found this book a scream! The short strips—many just single pagers or less—bounce all over the man’s long life and career and touch on all his famous and infamous quirks and peccadillos, sometimes blatantly and sometimes with obscure references that only hardcore fans would get. The relentlessly cute, simple cartooning acts as an added level of weirdness to the whole package.

Again, I question who this book is meant for, as there are far fewer Hitchcock buffs around these days than there were 40 or more years ago. A good 75% of the “inside baseball” references not just to Hitch but to old Hollywood, will go right over the heads of the uninitiated.

Still, in this case, Sir Alfred and the equally quirky Tim Hensley worked their wonders on me so for those of you “in the know,” at least…

Booksteve recommends.


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