Page 45 Review by Stephen
"But we're lost! Lost! It's like that mad TV show where they all got lost on an island with invisible monsters, secret hatches and weird magic numbers! And they were completely LOST!!"
"Sounds great, what's it called?"
"Ooh, I can't remember."
To gaze on herds of gently grazing sheep, flecking a verdant pasture or hillside with their sedentary woolly white, you cannot imagine much more placid and seemingly satisfied souls. As long as they have an interrupted supply of juicy grass to chow-down on, they appear to want for nothing more.
Conflict seems only to arrive with the introduction of a Border Collie.
But conflict is a key component of comedy, and here Gary Northfield unleashes everything but Border Collies upon Derek and Lenny and co, in the form of bees, bulls, biblical floods, a grumpy Swiss lumberjack with a very sharp axe, irate and territorial ear flees, tree pixies, a shirking Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, the whole of Australia and an ant whose wig they've accidentally incinerated while attempting to study it with a magnifying glass on a relentlessly sunny day.
It would be a nightmare, wouldn't it, if a tree pixie then decided to teach Derek and Lenny a lesson for declaring their ant inspection a sheep-only game by quoting Fariik the Magician from the Banana Splits' 'Arabian Knights' cartoon and reducing then to... "The Size Of An Ant"!
Yes, the greatest source of their disharmony is their own small-mindedness, over-ambition or Derek himself and his overwhelming stupidity.
You may already have howled your way through DEREK THE SHEEP VOL 1 and other Northfield romps found in Page 45's Phoenix Comic Collection Selection, but 'Where's The 'Arm' is an absolute classic set-up from titular pun to its basic premise, thence how it's dealt with.
Ludicrous competition: an arm-wrestling contest between armless animals, previously won by those least likely (a ladybird).
Cheat like crazy: preferably this should be over-elaborate with plenty to go wrong (a remote-controlled King of the Barn power arm)
Choose a co-conspirator: see remote control.
Whoops: cheat goes wrong before it even starts, much to co-conspirator's delight, so generating anticipation for the maximum mirth.
If you can top this all off with a punch line that mirrors the ridiculous prize (a pair of glasses with googly eyes), then resounding applause!