Derek the Sheep: Danger is My Middle Name

Writer / Artist
Derek the Sheep: Danger is My Middle Name
Derek the Sheep Danger is My Middle Name review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Bog Eyed Books - 978-0-9955553-8-9
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2020
  • UPC: 9780995555389
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: All-Ages, Humour

Derek the Sheep is an idiot, prone to problems like becoming stuck in a tree or being unable to talk to women without being rude, but it doesn’t matter too greatly in a farm community where common sense is generally at a premium.

Following First Sheep in Space, a third dose of farm farce from Gary Northfield is very welcome. A recurring set of situations has now been constructed, along with a recurring set of characters for Derek to bounce off, in some cases literally. Bernard the goat will still eat anything, Derek’s relationship with Rodney the bull remains fractious, and the wolf is still lazy. However, there’s a greater intrusion of humans into Derek’s world, with Farmer Jack a relatively frequent annoyed presence. He’d be even more annoyed if he knew the half of what Derek and his fellow farm animals got up to.

Northfield’s gentle absurdism sees such ridiculous inclusions of a ladybird’s ghost, a fairy turning up to transform Derek and Rodney into bees and Derek selling turnip snacks under a doughnut sign raising money to buy a snooker table. For old timers there’s even a homage to a beloved old strip as Derek’s head is commandeered by a fly who makes him perform all kinds of stupid acts. Truth be told, they’re not that far removed from the sort of fiasco he devises on his own.

Over two pages per episode there’s surely no other contemporary strip that has such an appealingly nutty stream of consciousness flow to it. The starting point rarely gives any indication of the finish, such as Derek’s Grandpa coming for a visit, which begins with Derek cleaning up the stable for his arrival fondly remembering the old geezer who sang songs while bouncing Derek on his knee. It ends with Derek being ejected from the old folks’ home minus his TV.

The unpredictable nature and bizarre circumstances make for a feature anyone who can read should enjoy and laugh at. A lot.