Scotland Yardie – Yardie returns for a new generation

9780861662517Need something to pick you up this January? Then Knockabout will cure what ails you with this insane new graphic novel. From the creative minds of Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels comes the return of the policeman London now needs more than ever: Scotland Yardie!

With institutionalised racism at an all-time high, the Metropolitan Police embark on their yearly drive to recruit more ethnic people in the police force. With little or no success they bring over Jamaica’s most feared policeman – Scotland Yardie, a ganja smoking, no-nonsense bad bwoy cop who breaks all the rules to enforce his own harsh sense of justice. But what happens when cultures clash? Will south London ever be the same again?

Scotland Yardie made his debut in Bobby Joseph’s Skank Magazine in strip format and quickly became the magazine’s breakout character (or – as described in the foreword – their Judge Dredd). Skank magazine ceased publication in 1997 leaving Yardie dormant. But in this post Brexit world, now is the perfect time to drop him back into the British public. Joseph creates a great narrative featuring corrupt police, drug dealers that look suspiciously like the leads of Breaking Bad and plenty of stereotypes. Particularly in this regard, Joseph does a great job of balancing social commentary and satire when examining the state of British race relations. On the social commentary side, it is an excuse to show how out of touch some members of the British public and politicians are in that regard (a former mayor of London gets it particularly hard). But Joseph also uses it for plenty of great comedy. Particularly great moments include PC Ackee-Saltfish struggling with people’s perceptions of his race (especially his reaction when one of his corrupt colleagues reveal why they have been conducting drug dealing through a chicken shop) and everything involving the no nonsense Yardie himself.

Joseph Samuel’s art is truly insane. Ranging from super realistic to satirical cartoon to almost Simon Bisley esque styles, he is never given a moments rest when it comes to packing in as much as possible into each page. There is always something going on whether it’s related directly to the story or not (Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Luther, Shia Labeouf, every version if Sherlock Holmes, Scooby Doo) which acts as a great enhancer to the zaniness and charm found in Joseph’s script. Samuel’s best work comes through the main protagonists though with Yardie conveying a no-nonsense aura (whilst smoking marijuana and not displaying his eyes) and Saltfish being his polar opposite – with his defining physical characteristic being that he apparently looks like Trevor McDonald.

Those who fondly remember Scotland Yardie will love this revival whilst anyone looking for a great satire comic (particularly on the state of multiculturalism in Britain after Brexit) is in for a treat.

Scotland Yardie is out 12 January from Knockabout

9780861662517 – P/B £10.99

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