Scotland Yardie – Bobby Joseph

Scotyard cover-rgbScotland Yardie is the eponymous hero of this graphic novel created by Bobby Joseph, (creator of the 90s Black British comic Skank Magazine). Brought in from the Jamaican police force as part of a new (and not in the least cynical) drive to attract ethnic minorities to the Met, Yardie abides by his own set of rules: a no-nonsense approach to dealing unruly youngsters, a justifiable resentment of the authorities and an audacious love of weed.

Along with his partner PC Ackee-Saltfish, a cross between Penfold from Dangermouse (remember that cartoon!) and Trevor McDonald, the two stumble upon a complex plot to flood the streets of Brixton with drugs by poisoning the chicken from a local takeaway. Yes you read that right! Because, apparently, if there ever was a way to wipe out the Black community, poisonous chicken would be the way to do it. Add to that a sideline in police corruption, frame-ups and of course institutional racism, Scotland Yardie is a funny and satirical look about our current state of affairs in the UK.

I did enjoy this read, as being a graphic novel, it was a slight change from my usual reading material and I liked it so much that I read it in one sitting. It was also funny, some of the jokes were quite sharp and incisive. But at the same time,  it touched upon a range of serious social issues, to give you pause for thought, especially where it referenced Black Lives Matter. I felt this was the strongest part of the novel and I really would have liked the novel to be have been framed more around this plotline, but instead it seemed to focus more on the drug plot which was amusing enough if only for the Breaking Bad references but to be honest didn’t really move me.  

One of the main things I liked about Scotland Yardie was its range of cultural references. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get them all, but the ones I did pick up on were very cleverly placed in the narrative and some I only just picked up on when I was skimming through to write this post. For this reason alone, you can’t just dismiss this a just a ‘comic’, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye and perhaps a lot more to ponder upon than you would initially think, which I imagine was the creator’s intention!

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