This is comics artist Adam Murphy’s second Corpse Talk volume in which the author-illustrator adopts the persona of a chat show host interviewing the exhumed bodies of famous dead historic figures, all in a comic strip format. The first volume was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book with Facts and this new collection of interviews should be just as popular with its combination of humour and information, its “Horrible Histories” style mix of historic facts and gruesome details and its clever nod to the world of talk show entertainment.
Each interview is only two pages long and the chat show style means that the historic information is mingled with the sort of irreverent, intrusive details that readers really want to hear. The illustrations are packed with details and the colour tones, by Lisa Murphy, suit each historic period. There are several double paged spreads interspersed amongst the interviews that expand on the subjects in fascinating, and sometimes disgusting, ways, as in the revelation that William the Conqueror’s body exploded when being placed into a coffin. Further bonuses to keep readers entertained include a brilliant ‘Digging up the Bodies’ timeline and a spot the characters game.
The range of interviewees is wide and varied, from Queen Victoria to Laurel and Hardy; most are familiar but some, like founder of entomology, Maria Sibylla Merian, are fascinatingly unfamiliar. This graphic novel from ‘The Phoenix’ comic is funny, clever, informative and should appeal to comic strip fans who like to combine their fact finding with laughter.