Jack Black (Viz)

Jack Black (Viz)

Jack Black is a character appearing in the adult "Viz" comic. The cartoons in which he appears are currently drawn by Simon Ecob.

Jack is effectively a young amateur detective who along with his dog Silver seems to spend an eternal school holiday staying with his Aunt Meg in an ever changing idyllic middle England location. The time period ranges from anywhere between the early 1930s/40s to the present day.

Both the drawn style of the strip as well as the character are a parody of the Boys' Own-style character who is wholesome but ultimately fascistic in beliefs and actions. There is more than a hint of Enid Blyton in the Jack Black character and the strip parodies the alleged middle class snobbery and 'outraged' and sometimes hypocritical content of right wing British media such as the Daily Mail and Express. However, the strip also has occasional parodies of "Asterix" and "The Adventures of Tintin" in both name ('Jack Blacksterix' and 'Jacjac and his Dog Silvery'), plot, and drawing style. A recent Viz edition featured a Jack Black story in a manga-style, where Silver was renamed 'Silvachu' (a parody of the Pokémon character Pikachu) and the action was moved to Tokyo. This may have been a play on words inspired by John Osborne's "Look back in anger", as the headline upon the front cover read "Look! Black in Manga!".

A typical strip begins with Jack visiting Aunt Meg in a new location and assisting her with her latest business or project, usually involving something illegal or immoral such as prostitutes or drug dealing. Someone causes trouble for them or annoys Jack in some way, leading him to investigate. The "villains" whom Jack investigates are occasionally genuine criminals, but more often well-meaning, inoffensive people who happen to have outraged his far-right sense of propriety. Jack usually ends up finding out that what the suspect has done is technically not illegal, but still succeeds in getting the miscreants involved arrested on trivial charges and severely punished, often at the savage hands of the community - his exploits making a mockery of British Justice. For instance, when someone tried to sell a tactical nuclear missile to the IRA the village policeman pointed out that the man was a licensed arms dealer. Jack then had the arms dealer arrested for having an out-of-date tax disc on the car he was carrying the missile in.

Jack, however, is not always successful despite his best efforts. In the May 2008 issue, Jack discovered that a local shopkeeper had devised an elaborate scheme to steal all the townspeople's toilet paper. This forced them to wipe themselves on the cardboard roll, causing haemorrhoids which led them to buy vast amounts of rubber cushions from his shop. However, in a departure from the other comics, PC Brown tells Jack that technically the suspect has done nothing illegal, and has to let him go. He is then seen in a pub with Jack who is drowning his sorrows, but Brown points out that Jack can't win every time, and vows they will catch the man and "bust his ass" as soon as he slips up.

Other examples of Jack's adventures include:

* Uncovering a milk hoarding scam involving asylum seekers.

* Exhuming a deceased man's corpse so that he can prove that his child was conceived out of wedlock. (This episode decries sex before marriage as sinful, and has the man's widow ostracised by her parish priest and community on Easter Sunday - in contradiction to other episodes, where prostitution or teenage sex are the basis of Aunt Meg's business.)

* Teaming up with a paedophile priest to frame a teacher as a paedophile, because the man is teaching safe sex to teenagers and this is supposedly blasphemous. The teacher is lynched by a mob, and Jack then assists his Aunt in performing illegal abortions.

* Getting a charity worker arrested for holding a charity sale on a Sunday and having his guide dog destroyed.

* Capturing a downed German fighter pilot and, disappointed at his Aunt's refusal to let him kick the German pilot "In the guts till his arse bleeds", defecting to become a Nazi supporter.

* Getting his own aunt arrested for letting himself and his dog sing while she was playing piano without holding an entertainment licence.

* Having a professor stripped naked, tarred and covered with old hair clippings before being paraded around in a cart for an hour while Jack and the community burn down the local museum because the professor believed in evolution and not creationism.

* Uncovering an Al-Qaeda cell after finding out that their vegetarian leader reads "The Guardian" newspaper and not the "Daily Mail".

* Using an obscure tax law to have a soup kitchen for the homeless closed down at Christmas as it is 'ruining the Christmas atmosphere'.

* Discovering a working-class council estate in his aunt's idyllic village, and inducing its inhabitants to "move on" by closing down the local Co-Op store (thus removing their supply of cheap lager and cigarettes). Jack achieved this by tricking the store's owner into selling lottery tickets to underage minors.

* Having an impoverished war hero (who has been forced to sell all of his medals to pay the VAT on his heating bills) arrested for copyright fraud (to wit, making photocopies of newspaper articles for his scrapbook).

* Discovering that the "chocolate cake" donated by an elderly lady to a church fayre contains less than the minimum chocolate content specified by European law, and should therefore have been called a "chocolate "flavoured" cake". The old lady is put in a pillory and pelted with cake, while onlookers shout "Take that, you cheating bitch!"

* Uncovering an elaborate plot to steal books from the public library (by means of a tunnel drilled through several hundred feet of cliff) and sell them at a bookstall on the beach.

* Discovering that a "dancing bear" exhibited in a travelling carnival is really Adolf Hitler in disguise. With the 'bear' gone, Jack then dressed the hapless Silver in a tutu and forced the dog to dance at the end of a whip.

* Framing the owner of the local video rental shop by planting home made hardcore pornography amongst his stock after discovering that the shopkeeper was feeding Paula Radcliffe laxatives and then sending her to defecate in the garden of his aunt's brothel in order to drive her customers away from the brothel and ease their sexual frustrations by buying the softcore pornography he had to offer.

* Upon discovering that Pete Doherty has moved into the area and then wondering why Meg's drug dealing business had not improved considerably, Jack and Silver investigate and find that the boat keeper in the local park is a rival dealer who is supplying Doherty's needs by way of an elaborate scheme involving the park pedal boats, a submarine and a fog machine. Jack and PC Brown then kill the rival dealer and beat up Doherty.

* Discovering that a carol singer, who has used his earnings to buy Christmas presents for a local orphanage, has violated Sunday trading laws. (Both he and the orphans are arrested at gunpoint on Christmas morning, while Jack gets to keep all the presents himself.)

* Befriending an elderly lady whose only companion is a goldfish, then having her thrown out of her retirement flat for keeping a pet without written permission.

* On finding out Meg (who is a member of the local Council) will have to return a brand-new car and a large amount of money that she received as a backhander to allow a toxic waste dump to be built next to a school as the vote will not be unanimous, Jack breaks into the car of the only councillor who has voted against the proposed dump. He then promptly has the man arrested and thrown in prison for not declaring an interest in the issue; his daughter was a pupil at the school. Jack is too young to vote for the proposal, so Silver (who is three years old and therefore 21 in dog years) is appointed as a replacement council member instead to vote on Jack's behalf.

* Exposing a Japanese Sumo wrestler of selling Geishas to England for their skill in performing the tea ceremony.

* In an attempt to earn money to fund his new animal snaring hobby, Jack attempts to get work as a fruit picker with the local farmer, but upon learning that the wage is only 30p an hour, gets suspicious of a group of gentlemen who are more than happy with the measly wage. Convinced they are foreign, Jack arranges for a cricket match between the fruit pickers and the local police noting that if they attempt to cheat they cannot possibly be British (more specifically English). During the game, one of the fruit pickers correctly questions a play with the umpire (Jack and PC Brown had purposely arranged this wrongful play) and Jack calls for the men to be arrested, to which the fruit pickers attempt to flee (for they are actually members of an East European acting troupe who recently vanished). As the East Europeans are taken away, the farmer points out that with no-one to pick it, his fruit will rot. Jack happily responds that he would rather it rot than be picked by a foreigner. This story was purportedly "sponsored" by the Daily Express.

* Getting a butcher's store closed down because the butcher is having sex with his meat products. This is supposedly done by all butchers, but the one in question was risking cross contamination by having sex with raw meat and then cooked meat afterwards.

* Discovering that Hugh Hefner has been posing as the "Phantom of the Fens", a masked highwayman who regularly holds up Aunt Meg in order to steal the supplies of laboratory rabbits that her farm provides for vivisection purposes. Hefner has killed all the rabbits to use their ears and tails in the costumes for his army of Playboy Bunny girls. He is arrested, while the "bunny girls" are sent off to a factory for experimentation because Meg has no more rabbits left.

* When Aunt Meg is not allowed to sell her Nazi memorabilia at the local market because all stallholders must be of German origin, Jack becomes increasingly suspicious of a toymaker who does not look physically perfect enough to belong to the "Master race". He discovers the man was born in Olbernhau, which did not actually come under German control until ratified under the Treaty of Versailles on June 19th, 1919 - a day after the man was born on June 18th, when Olbernhau was still part of the former Austria-Hungary. The toymaker is deported and his German dachshund dog destroyed, and the townspeople celebrate by burning the toys that he had charitably given to local orphans.

* Exposing a greengrocer's plot to undercut the nearby supermarket's prices by way of a scheme involving electromagnetics and robot "children".

* Relocating the action to the Canadian Rockies, Jack and Aunt Meg are happily shooting defenseless animals in the forest and mounting their heads on the wall when Mountie Brown warns the two of a giant bear walking the woods that appears to be impervious to gunfire which caused him to foul himself, he was so scared. When Mountie Brown leaves to go to his grandmother's launderette to clean his soiled clothes, Jack and Aunt Meg go after the bear themselves. They find the bear which is also unharmed by their bullets and approaches the two causing them to shit themselves in fear before backing off. Going to the launderette, Jack and Aunt Meg find some washing machines out of order and a lot of demand for the machine from other hunters suffering the same humiliation as Jack and the others. Doing some investigating, Jack discovers that the bear is actually a robot run by Mountie Brown's grandma from the parts from the broken washing machines (the evidence being that the bear tracks led to a bingo hall, community centre and a wool shop meaning an old woman had to be involved) who was using the scam to drum up business for her launderette. Mountie Brown is unable to arrest her due to her being 93, so instead he just shoots her and mounts her head on Jack's wall.

* In one adventure, Jack becomes determined to find out why a youth club leader has been turning over all the local drug dealers to the police. He discovers that this has led the kids at the youth club to fight over the available drugs, causing an increase in knife crime and more business for the village knife grinder (who is actually the youth club leader's wife in disguise.) The two escape on a motorbike but Jack throws a lighted match at them, which results in them crashing into a fuel depot and the depot exploding. Meg, the village magistrate, sentences their corpses to be posthumously locked up and pilloried in the village stocks. Jack's Nazism has been referred to more than once. He has been seen in one episode to be working on a school homework project entitled 'The Myth of the Holocaust'; whilst in another he is seen leading a sing-song round a piano of the Nazism anthem 'Tomorrow Belongs to Me'. Indeed, in the Viz Bumper Book for Boys, he witnesses a Luftwaffe plane crash and wants to cut out the dead pilot's teeth as souvenirs. However, the pilot survives and they take him back to his Aunt Meg's so she can hang him in the back garden. The two quickly bond and the pilot reads Mein Kampf to Jack before bed which convinces him to turn on his Aunt and fly back to Germany and dine with the Führer himself. The Christmas 2007 issue, in which Aunt Meg owns an impressive personal collection of Nazi memorabilia, suggests that she may share his political allegiance.

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