Review: VerityFair / Written by: Terry Wiley / Art by: Terry Wiley / Published by: IDCM Comics / Release Date: Out Now
Terry Wiley is the most unassuming comic creator that I have ever met, but his characters have no such qualms about selling themselves and somehow through them Terry achieves a feat that I had always thought impossible – he makes ordinary people seem interesting. Far from being some spandex space-opera or shonen adventure, VerityFair chronicles the life of aspiring (and ageing) actress Verity Bournville in a story that just might contain bums and swears.
In the mid-1990s Terry Wiley enjoyed a celebrated position among comic creators in the UK, before languishing in relative obscurity for the best part of a decade. I had no prior knowledge of his work before reading VerityFair and as such was wowed that such an accomplished, consistent and insightful artist could exist quietly creating great comics without drawing more attention to himself. VerityFair has a light touch, existing in the same space as our soap operas and sitcoms, following the lives of a mundane set of characters that are illuminated by the playful deference that Terry pays to their problems and insecurities. People audition for mediocre acting roles, sag in all the wrong places and retain a zest for life that turns every line of dialogue into a pleasure to read. If we could get VerityFair into the right hands then it has the potential to be the UK’s most widely-read, mainstream comic in existence, without any explosions or deals with the devil, without stunt deaths or summer crossovers, relying instead on a steady trickle of exposition and wry wit that laughs with the characters for their foibles more often than it laughs at them.
Compounding Terry’s generosity is the inclusion in VerityFair of cameos by many of Newcastle’s Paper Jam Comics Collective and the main character from Chris Doherty’s Video Nasties. This is a man whose work should be representing our country internationally, who thinks nothing about sharing a page with aspiring comic creators and approaching his art as if he were more a part of the comics community than the comics industry.
VerityFair contains everything that I never wanted to read about in escapist entertainment and somehow through sheer talent transforms the material into vital reading. If you could comprehend the magnitude of my distaste for the everyday then you would understand quite how impressive a feat this is.