‘And Grimdulf Rides a Giant Talking Lion’
The ((extra)ordinary) Ellis thought for a minute.
‘What would Pearly Stockwell do?’ she wondered. ‘How would she go about going about it?’ Ellis tapped her lip with her finger. ‘Pearly would probably start by asking lots of questions and then use the answers to find out what to do.’
As Ellis thought about this, she remembered one of the less original and least satisfying of the Pearly Stockwell adventures, Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring.
The Pearly Stockwell adventure series is published by IT Comics and in their early days the company really struggled. Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring was a desperately misguided attempt to reach a wider audience with the Pearly Stockwell series.
Without even the slightest hint of professional shame, Pearly is ‘allowed’ to discover a magical kingdom while clearing out one of her wardrobes. Never one to refuse a challenge, Pearly sets off to see what she can find.
Unsurprisingly, Pearly finds a world gripped by a struggle between the forces of good and evil. Grimdulf Gloompants leads the good guys. He is a long-bearded wizard who rides a giant talking lion. A one-eyed witch called Sharon is in charge of the bad guys.
As the plot thickens, Pearly and the Interesting Twins are asked to deliver an important message to someone important quite far away. On the way, they are captured by a gang of nasty Noblins and imprisoned.
Everyone manages to escape but Pearly gets separated and begins to wander lost in an underground network of caves.
Even loyal readers of the comic book series found it hard not to consider cancelling their subscription at the moment that Pearly stumbles upon a ring and, without thinking, puts it in her pocket.
Unbeknown to her, the ring is the property of a pathetic-looking creature called Gallop who manages to trap Pearly in his dank, dismal, fish-stinking lair.
‘You have something that is very precious to me,’ says the pathetic-looking Gallop to Pearly, without even a faint glimmer of irony. ‘It is mine, it is.’
‘Is it?’ replies Pearly quick-wittedly, stunning the pathetic creature with the authority in her voice. ‘How precious exactly?’
Gallop isn’t sure what to say.
‘Very precious,’ he ventures, ‘very precious, indeed.’
But Pearly has the upper hand now and probes the pathetic creature further with her penetrating questions.
‘Just how precious?’
‘How precious is very precious?’
‘But is that precious enough?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Why don’t you know? I thought you said it was precious?’
‘Then why don’t you know?’
‘I do! I do! I do!’
Gallop gets very angry and it is at this point that Pearly knows she has him.
‘You don’t know, do you?’ she says.
‘No,’ says the pathetic-looking creature pathetically.
‘I’m going now,’ says Pearly firmly. ‘Don’t try and follow me.’
Gallop says nothing. He sits snivelling on a slimy rock. Pearly leaves to find her friends and continue the great adventure.
It was only by sacking the writing team, promising faithfully to never ever do anything like this again (and also offering a year’s free subscription to every reader) that IT Comics survived the fallout from Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring.