CHUNKS & The Adventures of Cordelia Swift
by Matt Garvey & Cris Canfailla / Aleksander Bozic
B&W / £3
Released 2015 / 2016
Review by Tom Mortimer
When he’s not terrorising the Twittersphere, Matt Garvey is a comedy writer and creator of small press comics. Ahead of his appearance at MCM London Comic Con, I’ll be reviewing two books that Matt will be selling on the day: CHUNKS and Cordelia Swift. Matt has informed me that if I don’t give them glowing reviews, he ‘has my wife and kids’, which is particularly concerning as I don’t currently have either.
CHUNKS is primarily a comedy in style and tone, following the grubby misadventures of a British punk band called ‘The Pineapple Chunks’ as they attempt to make it in the USA. The first issue involves a group arrest over a questionable toilet purchase, and the second sees the band attempt to survive a children’s birthday party in order to score a recording session. Cordelia Swift serves as quite a contrast; set during the Victorian period, this is a steampunk detective story that follows the investigation process behind a series of strange murders.
Having read through a significant amount of his back-catalogue, I can say that CHUNKS is perhaps the best embodiment to date of Matt’s unique sense-of-humour. Conversely, Cordelia Swift highlights his flair for writing fantasy and adventure. Despite big differences in terms of content and style, both are well-paced, with clear characterization and narratives that keep the reader hooked from the outset. Cordelia Swift suffers slightly for its episodic format, which currently prevents an overall judgment on the structure and flow of the series as a whole. Nonetheless, the first two issues certainly provide an exciting set up, and where it will go I can’t yet tell; I suspect Garvey may throw in some twists along the way. CHUNKS navigates the same issue through a constant and consistent stream of joke set-ups, built to deliver in a style that Garvey makes his own.
A striking element of both publications is the quality of the artwork. Cris Canfailla provides some great visuals for CHUNKS, with a cartoony style that complements the comedic narrative. There’s also a strong ‘indie vibe’ to his work that helps ground it in the music scene. Cordelia Swift is drawn by Aleksandar Bozic, who adopts a similarly cartoony approach, albeit something a little closer to the work of Will Eisner. Bozic’s art has a comparable degree of elasticity to it, perhaps necessitated by the steampunk setting which occasionally requires artistic components that may otherwise seem ridiculous. The art style in the second issue varies slightly and I’m not so keen; it looks more rushed and makes less of an impact, but still serves its purpose.
Unfortunately I could find little information on either of the artists, but I would be interested to see what other projects they’re involved with. Equally I’m eager to see how Garvey’s stories unfold and the development of two series that have the potential to be long running small press names. My personal favourite of the two right now is CHUNKS, but I’ll leave you to choose your own.
You can find, or actively avoid, Mr Garvey at the MCM London Comic Con from May 27th till 29th.
CHUNKS and The Adventures of Cordelia Swift are both available to buy from Matt’s online store. For more on Matt garvey, read our interview with him at Dirty Rotten Comics, and check out his website at mattgarvey.co.uk