Windy Wilberforce in The 12 Labours of Windy
New book by Ed Pinsent published January 2019
74pp book, perfect bound, full colour cover, interiors in black and white with halftones
Price £8.99 plus postage from lulu.com
From The Labour of the Karkos Kode to the Labour of the Infernal Survey, Windy must complete 12 impossible tasks to save the livelihood of his old friend, the fisherman Harry Excess. As his adventures grow more fantastical and dream-like, Windy begins to suspect a darker agency at work behind the wishes of the 12 mysterious millionaires who commissioned this work.
This story took me about 16 months from conception to completion. The only Windy story of comparable length is The Saga Of The Scroll, but that arrived as a series of six-page chapters, in very episodic form, with long breaks in between. Conversely, Labours was planned as a single thought-through story.
Windy undergoes his usual transformations, his flights, his travels in time and space, his entering into dream worlds, his changes of costume, and meets with characters both real and imaginary. His adventures bring him into contact with a number of modern evils and catastrophes, including sea pollution, exploitative land-grabs, and unwelcome developments in technology and the Internet.
While the story can be read as a not-very-deep commentary on the shortcomings of modern capitalism, there’s also an occult-ish and esoteric dimension involving strange letters being used for nefarious purposes, thus inverting the purity of the printed page and the book, precepts which Windy must live by. Further, there’s the suggestion that mankind’s proclivity towards evil is just one step away from making a pact with Dark Forces which we don’t understand and whose power we cannot control. There is a price to be paid for this, as the story shows.
Meanwhile, Windy and Harry’s natural qualities of charity, generosity, compassion and helpfulness are shown to be very much at odds with the way of the world; Windy is hopelessly out of date, misunderstood and ignored by everyone, and Harry’s altruistic dream of putting fish in the mouths of man is all but ruined. These two would-be saints are in a precarious position. Will they survive?