Brent Willis wrote this review for the zine Wark#1, and kindly let me share it ...
The best NZ comic I've read this year so far Brent Willis
Utterly Rucked by David Tulloch
When I was a kid I used to play with Lego and other toys and would make up long and complicated stories with them. If I had of had a camera at the time I might have made photo comics with them but I didn't. A few years ago, I started doing a photo comic with my collection of action figures that I got with McDonalds and Burger King kids meals but I lost interest in it and so it remains unfinished. I could try and finish it but David Tulloch has beaten me to it with his graphic novel in six volumes called 'Utterly Rucked'. The big differences between my unfinished epic and Utterly Rucked is that Tulloch used Playmobil figures for his characters, and more significantly his story is way better than mine is or would be, had I finished it.
U.R. is an epic 144 page story about a team of ex-pat rugby team from Britain who come to New Zealand with their referee, his nymphomaniac wife and non-nymphomaniac daughter, who travel to New Zealand to play some friendly games against a team led by New Zealander 'Burnsie', but end up getting murdered one by one instead. So its like a murder mystery. Or more accurately, a massacre mystery as the body count gets pretty high. Its up to Burnsie and player/coach Glen 'General Patton' Patterson to trry and find the murderer and stop the murders before the team is reduced to nothing.
There are plenty of likely culprits. Cheryl (who was usually spending some alone-time with the players prior to their deaths) is suspect number one, but her cuckolded referee Wayne Jensen, and even the cute policewoman assigned to the case are also suspects. Or maybe its someone they don't know! Who can it be?
This is a great well-paced and plotted story with plenty of humour, both above and below the belt. And its about rugby too, which should go down well in New Zealand. Its a pity Tulloch didn't get it finished in time for the world cup, with a bit of good marketing he could have sold thousands. Even people who don't like rugby should find this enjoyable, as there isn't a lot of rugby in it, although rugby players and ex-rugby players, like myself (I used to be a reserve wing for the Marlborough College second fifteen in 1985) will enjoy a lot of the rugby jokes.
Although all the characters in this story are toys, this ain't no toy story for kids, too much sex and violence for that. And being all Playmobil figures, many of them look the same, but luckily there is a picture at the back that explains who is who. (BTW, I never had Playmobil when I was little, as I was a Lego kid)
The other great thing about this comic is the price. I bought my copy from the NZCC stand at Armageddon for just 16 dollars! That's less than three dollars for each booklet. And its in full colour too, albeit with home-printer quality but that's no problem. It good to see a NZ comic artist not overpricing their work. Too often I see black and white photocopied comics with only a few pages, that cost about a dollar or less to print being sold for four to five dollars or more. But I'll rant about that another time. Anyway compared to them and most other comics (especially mainstream overseas comics), totally rucked is very good value indeed.
So if you are looking for a good funny comic that doesn't have any dumb or overwrought drawings in it (because its a PHOTO comic) and will take a long time to read (this is a good thing) then try and find a copy of Utterly Rucked. Its utterly ruckin-tastic! (
To see more of David's work you can go to his website: website: www.virtuallycomics.com)