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The Great British Bump-Off #1
Dark Horse Comics

Comic Books

‘The Great British Bump-Off’ #1 is a wickedly entertaining confection

Reality baking shows can be murder.

I’ve made my love of horror, superheroes, and loud music well known on the AIPT Comics Podcast, but one thing I’ve never really touched on (that I can recall, anyway) is that I absolutely adore The Great British Bake-Off. In the five years since I started watching the program, it has functioned like visual Prozac for me. It’s calm and comfortable, cheesy yet compelling, in a way that television so rarely is. They shoot the whole thing in a beautiful sunny field! The contestants are allowed to practice their recipes and even help one another! Hardly anyone speaks above a pleased whisper! If someone gets sent home, they’re not going back to the kind of severe debt that occurs when someone quits their job for a reality show in the States! I’ve been chasing a similar high ever since, with only The Big Brunch and The Big Flower Fight even coming close… until now.

The Great British Bump-Off is a comedic murder mystery that is tailor-made for folks like me, who love a good mystery as much as they appreciate a well-made scone. John Allison, Max Sarin, Sammy Borras, and Jim Campbell have whipped up something truly special with this premise: Someone on the BBC’s premier baking competition (no, not that one) has been murdered, and it’s up to a few of the competing chefs to keep it a secret while they solve the case! AND there’s baking! 

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The Great British Bump-Off #1
Dark Horse Comics

Even with such a morbid event driving the main action of the story, the book succeeds in being just as much of a pleasant jaunt as the show that inspired it. It’s not totally clear at this time why our heroine finds herself uniquely suited to this job, nor how the show was able to continue on with a corpse presumably chilling somewhere on the lot, but these details are rather easily overlooked amidst the madcap fun of the rest of the book. At this point in the game, we know just enough about our characters to get into the story, and it’s likely that more will be revealed as the new series proceeds.

The creative team fully leans into the absurdity of the premise, delivering snappy dialogue and high-energy illustrations that keep the tone from ever becoming dour. In fact, there’s a hopeful and playful tone that permeates the whole of the book. When our heroes are held under suspicion, our ever-optimistic lead asks if being locked in the closet is a reward of some kind. When a planned bake gets burnt to a crisp, Shauna just immediately starts whipping up another one! Even the murder victim themselves has a cartoonish look and color to their face when they are discovered, allowing the fateful moment to still pack a laugh.

Fans of the aforementioned baking show will recognize all the hallmarks of the series, for good and ill. There’s the tent, of course, not to mention the wacky personality types who invariably end up competing, but those aren’t the only tropes at play. There’s even an implication that the hosts keep rotating (possibly due to a particular hard-ass/mainstay judge). Don’t worry if you haven’t watched that series before, though; you should still be able to enjoy mystery and the lunacy on display in The Great British Bump-Off, even if you can’t tell a parfait from a trifle.

The Great British Bump-Off #1
‘The Great British Bump-Off’ #1 is a wickedly entertaining confection
The Great British Bump-Off #1
Like a great dessert – or murder mystery – 'The Great British Bump-Off' is deceptively sweet and immediately addictive. I can't wait for a second helping.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
Nicely balances a fun and whimsical tone with the darker murder mystery elements
Expressive characters and cartoony reactions make each page a joy to look at
Plays with recognizable tropes of 'Great British Bake-Off' and similar shows to great effect
Some of the finer references to 'GBBO' may be lost on uninitiated readers, but it's still an enjoyable read
8.5
Great
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