Long before his involvement co-founding acclaimed virtual band Gorillaz, Jamie Hewlett began his career as an illustrator for comics for projects such as Tank Girl and Shade, the Changing Man. He also created Get the Freebie, a comic strips that followed the exploits of Terry Phoo, a gay, Buddhist kung-fu law enforcement officer and his sidekick Whitey Action, an enigmatic young anarchist with a bad attitude, as they tackle their primary adversaries The Freebies Gang. If you’re not familiar with it, don’t despair! Z2 Comics has announced Phoo Action: Silver Jubilee, new oversized art book featuring the comic and show that serve as the kinetic missing link between Tank Girl and Gorillaz.
Here’s how Z2 Comics describes Phoo Action, including list of the incredible talent lined up for the book:
Written and curated by Phoo Action co-author Mat Wakeham and featuring original designs by Hewlett, the book will present the full trajectory of what would become the cult sensation—from the Get the Freebies comic strip first presented in UK magazine The Face from 1996 to 1997, to the 2008 Phoo Action BBC pilot and beyond.
Meticulously assembled by Wakeham with forewords that serve as an oral history of the evolving project, PHOO ACTION: SILVER JUBILEE shows the origins of Whitey Action, a cynical teen and potty-mouthed heroine, alongside Terry Phoo, a hapless kung-fu super cop. Born from counter-culture superhero chic and hyperactive pre-millennial angloism, the comic features the pair waging a two-person war against the mutant Freebies gang—led by an outlandish, hysterical crime boss with a basketball for a head.
For the first time, this book will collect the entirety of the 12-part Get the Freebies comic in English, alongside a cover piece from Hewlett—the first new official comic art of Terry and Whitey to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Phoo Action: Silver Jubilee will also include a never-before-seen introductory comic to a planned second season that was never produced, with a prose novel from Wakeham detailing the rest of the chapters. The novel will feature original illustrations from iconic comic artist Philip Bond (The Invisibles, Kill Your Boyfriend). A treasure trove of unseen development and character artwork from Hewlett presents a definitive and exhaustive timeline of this underground masterpiece.
As with all Z2 Comics offerings, Phoo Action comes in a variety of formats. In addition to the standard cover, the deluxe hardcover will come in a clamshell cover and include enamel pins, magnets, and embroidered patches.
In a statement announcing the book, co-author Mat Wakeham described collecting and presenting Hewlett’s artwork in one collection:
“To say that I hold dear these characters and this property is an understatement. I am so extremely grateful to be their current custodian and curator—and that I still get to be a creative collaborator in their world, too,” Wakeham says. “This book is my open love letter to some of the funniest, most reprehensible, and inspired underground comics of the late 20th century, from the hand of one of Britain’s leading cultural luminaries—Mr. Jamie Hewlett.”
Look for Phoo Action: Silver Jubilee to arrive in stores in November 2022.