BOOK REVIEW: Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal By Ed Luce

Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal

Who is Wuvable Oaf? He goes by the name of Goteblud, is extremely hairy and a wrestler. Goteblud is no ordinary wrestler; he dresses up as the devil and uncontrollably shoots blood at his opponents through his horns which he can only control when he covers them with “Adorb-absorb” supreme organic tampons.

However, Goteblud’s opponents shoot a range of unsavoury liquids at him, too, including El Gato Infierno, who fires a yellow cocktail at Goteblud whilst Jim Bunny shoots. “Man-Puddin” from his bunny ears. Whilst the concise Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal doesn’t offer a revisionist history into Elmer J. Fudd; the reader is given an up-close and personal insight into the world of Goteblud: his music preferences ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Phil Collins; his sexuality and love for cats who affectionately refers to as “Kitties”.

As a wrestler, Goteblud is loved for his humorous trash talk to the cameras, but his promotors want him to change his image and costume, not became of its satanic theme, but because it is too expensive to reproduce for children and fans to buy. However, cheaper is not always better. There is a hilarious sketch where a potential costume rehash reveals more than it should, being even more morally ambiguous than his current attire. Goteblud also has a tag team buddy called Bludclot, who is Goteblud’s biggest admirer and Mini-Me.

Outside the ring, we see a man who checks out same-sex chatrooms and enjoys spending time with his “kitties”, who are the boss him. Goteblud is also a music lover who is forever attending gigs. Goteblud even gets an opportunity to record a vinyl single as part of a supergroup with the Wrasslin Association of National Champs. His wrestling opponents even sing rock songs to him in the ring in a bit to outwit him, including his main rival Cock Rocker who sings Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”. Heavy metal outfits including Mercy Fate’s “Black Caven” inspire the comic strips, as does punk band Hunx and his Punx with “U Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll” where the lyrics “You like Morrissey, you like U2, what the funk is wrong with you” are brought to life by Luce. There is also a more quiescent and melancholy side to Goteblud’s musical tastes as Bob Mould’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” fills even the most xeric eyes with moisture.

With the preface quoting lyrics from David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” and Prince’s “Gett Off”; music was always featured in the graphic novel prominently. Whilst Luce creates a character whose image, adolescent bedroom posters (including Slayer, Metallica and The Plasmatics) and attire indicate heavy metal, the ability of this character to find comfort and joy listening to artists including Phil Collins is liberating. It is equally liberating how Luce traces Goteblud’s journey into discovering his sexuality. Sexuality is discussed and addressed with wonderful humour. Luce produces some fascinating anatomical illustrations as well as witty jokes, including one concerning Neapolitan ice cream.

Ed Luce has brought an idea to life that seems impossible for anyone else to have conceived. Like Goteblud, Luce recognises “the liberating power of heavy metal” whilst also admiring artists like Prince. For some, the graphic illustrations and subject matters will be overwhelming. Those who can take Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal will be entertained, have a few laughs and rekindle old joys of music whilst discovering different songs for new musical adventures.

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