I’ve written about Manchester-based cartoonist John Allison before: he’s made several webcomic series set in the mystery-filled north English town of Tackleford since 1998, and the most recent series is Bad Machinery, launched in 2009. I may like this series best of all as it fulfills my love of mystery-solving kids!
Sadly, Allison recently said that he’s retiring Bad Machinery, if not the beloved characters themselves:
I don’t want to stop telling stories with these characters, but I’m not sure I can do much more with them without returning to the drawing board. There’s definitely more to come from Charlotte, Shauna and the rest of them, but you might not see much of them for a little while. (source)
In the meantime, he has plenty of characters and stories to build on in the shared universe that is Tackleford for regular updates until he figures out their next incarnation; currently, he’s returned to the Bobbins heading that started his webcomic career off back in 1998. As for Bad Machinery, there are eight full cases available online, and Oni Press is also releasing them in print form, two down and six to go!
While I wait for the junior detectives of Tackleford to make their come back, I do have another pair of meddling kids to tide me over:
That’s right, Alex Hirsch‘s Gravity Falls from Disney Animation! Starring twins Mabel and Dipper Pines and their paranormal adventures in the mystery-filled town of Gravity Falls, Oregon… It has a really enchanting setting and great animation, but compared to Bad Machinery it maybe has a more cynical, detached sense of humor? Which doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it! But maybe Bad Machinery is more satisfying on more levels…
And of course, in deference to the grandaddy of all mystery solving kids shows, here’s Mabel Pine’s Scooby Doo impersonation: