Bad Machinery

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Bad Machinery
Author(s) John Allison
Current status / schedule Ended April 6, 2017
Launch date 2009-09-21[1]
Genre(s) Mystery, Comedy
Preceded by Scary Go Round 2002-06-04 to 2009-09-14

Bad Machinery is a webcomic written and drawn by John Allison and set in the fictional West Yorkshire town of Tackleford, England. Bad Machinery started on 21 September 2009 loosely based on characters and situations from John Allison's previous webcomic, Scary Go Round. New full colour paneled pages appeared four times a week.[2] It ended on April 6, 2017.[3]

The story of Bad Machinery picks up three years after the end of Scary Go Round and involves two groups of schoolchildren that investigate mysteries.[2]


After the announcement of the end of Scary Go Round, John Allison answered readers' questions about the "new comic" in his blog, posted on 2009-09-13.[4] He gave several hints as to the content of the new comic, indicating a preference to move away from writing about the lives of twenty-somethings,[2] and the dispensing of many characters from Scary Go Round. In another post,[5] the title of the new comic was revealed to be Bad Machinery, and each story (with the exception of the preamble) would be 100 pages long. The comic is named after a song by indie band Let's Active.

On September 21, 2009, after a one-week hiatus following the end of Scary Go Round, Bad Machinery was launched on the same web site that had previously hosted Scary Go Round, titled Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery.

On May 21, 2012, Oni Press announced that it would be publishing collections of the Bad Machinery storylines, and the first full-colour paperback, The Case of the Team Spirit, was released in March 2013.[6]


In Bad Machinery, two groups of child investigators attend the fictional Griswalds Grammar School in Keane End, Tackleford. The groups interact and compete to solve the mysteries,[7] keeping a tally on a wall. They are not always aware that they are both working on the same mystery or dilemma, as they start with different leads, the boys being fixated with catching monsters and the girls usually following emotional connections.

Bad Machinery focuses on humour, with funny and surreal situations, punctuated by moments of action and mystery. Every episode is comedic, and the artist will frequently add visual jokes in the background. Bad Machinery is also proudly British in its sensibilities.[8]


  • Allison, John (2013-04-02). Bad Machinery Volume 1: The Case of the Team Spirit. Oni Press. ISBN 1620100843. 
  • Allison, John (2014-03-25). Bad Machinery Volume 2: The Case of the Good Boy. Oni Press. ISBN 1620101149. [9]
  • Allison, John (2014-12-23). Bad Machinery Volume 3: The Case of the Simple Soul. Oni Press. ISBN 1620101939. [10]
  • Allison, John (2015-11-03). Bad Machinery Volume 4: The Case of the Lonely One. Oni Press. ISBN 1620102129. 
  • Allison, John (2016-04-20). Bad Machinery Volume 5: The Case of the Fire Inside. Oni Press. ISBN 1620102978. 


Describing Bad Machinery as her favorite webcomic of 2011, Lauren Davis of Comics Alliance praised Bad Machinery for its absurd scenarios, and both she and Hannah Shannon of Bleeding Cool praised the webcomic's humorous dialogues.[11] Shannon stated that the "eye candy art" of Bad Machinery is her favorite part of the webcomic, pointing out that the large page lay-out of the books presents all the details well.[10]

Staff of The A.V. Club noted that Bad Machinery had difficulty finding its footing when it first started. Allison's attempt to differentiate Bad Machinery from Scary Go Round despite the overlap in cast resulted in a "bone dry" execution. As Allison got a feel for his new, younger cast, "the stories became looser and richer." The A.V. Club praised Allison's work as consistently reaching the "sweet spot of character-driven comedy," where humour arises naturally through the characters' dialogue.[12]

In February 2016, Young Adult Library Services Association listed Volume 4 of Bad Machinery in its annual "Great Graphic Novels For Teens" list.[13] Lore Sjöberg of Wired listed the webcomic among their best new webcomics of 2010[7] and Publishers Weekly listed Bad Machinery's first volume, The Case of the Team Spirit, among its best children's books of 2013.[14]


  1. ^ "Scary Go Round presents Bad Machinery". Bad Machinery. 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  2. ^ a b c Alex Dueben (2009-12-28). "John Allison’s "Bad Machinery"". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Allison, John. "The Case of the Severed Alliance". Scary Go Round Comics. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  4. ^ John Allison (13 September 2009). "Yore questiens answer'd". SGRBlogspot. Blogspot. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  5. ^ John Allison (18 September 2009). "News From NEMULON". SGRBlogspot. Blogspot. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Oni Press (21 May 2012). "John Allison's Bad Machinery Moves From Web to Print Via Oni Press". Oni Press. Oni Press. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Sjöberg, Lore (2010-12-23). "Alt Text: The Best New Webcomics of 2010". Wired. 
  8. ^ Dpomerico (2010-04-04). "The FUNN-e-PAGES: Bad Machinery". Suvudu. 
  9. ^ Melrose, Kevin (2013-11-12). "Oni Press to release a second volume of 'Bad Machinery'". Comic Book Resources. 
  10. ^ a b Shannon, Hannah (2014-12-16). "Bad Machinery Vol. 3 By John Allison: We Didn’t Start The Fire – But Someone Did". Bleeding Cool. 
  11. ^ Davis, Lauren (2011-12-15). "'Bad Machinery's 12-Year-Old Detective Solves a Bloody British Mystery In 'Murder, She Writes'". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. 
  12. ^ Battleground, Andrea; O'Neil, Tim; Sava, Oliver (2014-06-10). "New releases include Bad Machinery, Black Canary And Zatanna, and C.O.W.L.". The A.V. Club. 
  13. ^ Johnston, Rich (2016-02-05). "The Young Adult Library Services Association’s Great Graphic Novels For Teens List For 2016". Bleeding Cool News. 
  14. ^ Melrose, Kevin (2013-11-11). "PW’s best children’s books include 'Bad Machinery,' 'Relish'". Comic Book Resources. 

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