Saturday, 1 January 2011

And So This Is 2011

Rather brilliantly, Oor Wullie (cartoon strip about a spiky haired Dundonian lad who dispenses wisdom from atop an old bucket) has beat Twilight (moany girl tries to persuade skinny vampire to sex her up) to be the top-selling book of 2010. Well, the top seller for branches of Waterstone's in Scotland. But that's still pretty good.

There aren't many obvious similarities between the two. Wullie lives in a fictional Scottish town called Auchenshoogle (a cross between Glasgow and Dundee), Bella lives in a real town inexplicably named after some cutlery (Forks). He is poor but happy and funny, whilst she's a spoilt white girl who takes herself too seriously and is constantly miserable. When he is bored or something doesn't go his way, Wullie concocts a daft scheme and drafts in his pals to help, with hilarious consequences. When something doesn't go Bella's way, she sits in a chair and stares out of the window for THREE MONTHS.

On the other hand, they aren't completely dissimilar. Wullie has been 9 years old since 1937, whilst Bella longs to be vampired and remain her current age for a similarly eternal length of time. Both of them jabber away constantly in a manner totally incomprehensible to people outside their target audience. And both are surprisingly popular, lets be honest. Wullie is a national institution in Scotland, but how many people do you know who actually read the strips? None, that's what. They all wait for the annual, which only comes out every two years, and buy it for someone else. Meanwhile Twilight is almost totally unreadable, yet has somehow tapped into the psyche of millions of girls across the world who will cheerfully buy multiple copies of the same book because one has a poster of R-Pattz. Stephanie Meyer's bank balance does not lie.

Out of the two, I prefer the quaint traditionalism of Wullie to the emotional wallowing of Bella and I think it's fantastic he's outsold her. It points to a level of humour in Scotland that warms the cockles of my heart. But I wouldn't rush out to buy either of them. So there.

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