Bad Machinery

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Bad Machinery
Author(s) John Allison
Current status / schedule Active: updates M/Tu/W/Th
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 set in the fictional West Yorkshire town of Tackleford, England, written and drawn by John Allison. 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 appear four times a week.[2]

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.[3] 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,[4] 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.[5]


The two groups of child investigators attend the fictional Griswalds Grammar School in Keane End, Tackleford. The groups interact and compete to solve the mysteries,[6] even keeping a tally on a wall. They are, however, not always aware of each other working on the same mystery or dilemma because they start at different ends, the boys being fixated with catching monsters and the girls more often following their emotional connections.

Bad Machinery focuses on humour, with funny and surreal situations, punctuated by moments of action and mystery. Every episode has humour in it, and the artist will frequently add visual jokes in the background. Bad Machinery is also proudly British in its sensibilities.[7]

Major characters[8][edit]

  • Shauna Wickle: Shauna comes from a poor family and was raised in the bad areas of Tackleford. Her intelligence and the better fortunes of her family have apparently brought her to Griswalds, a slightly more "posh" atmosphere than where she came from. She lives with her mother, stepfather and toddler half-brother. Her best friend is Charlotte Grote. In Scary-Go-Round, Shauna first appeared as part of the family housing Desmond the Fish-Man.[9]
  • Charlotte Grote: Mushroom-haired Charlotte, or "Lottie," is impulsive, outgoing, and makes friends easily. She also has the capacity to overdo things and be recklessly impulsive. Her older sister Sarah has gone away to University, leaving her as the editor of the Zine "Guns for Eyes." She first appeared in Scary-Go-Round as Sarah's little sister, occasionally referred to as "Mini-Grote."[10]
  • Mildred Haversham: Independent Mildred is smart but somewhat aloof. Glenys, her liberal mother, hasn't provided the most rigid of upbringings and Mildred has a difficult time understanding such concepts as "boundaries" and "truth." Originally a minor character, Mildred is now often seen with Shauna and Charlotte.[11]
  • Jack Finch: Tall and thin, Jack is quite shy and very reserved. He is interested in many introvert-friendly hobbies, such as music, stickers, and drawing. He's a dreamer.
  • Linton Baxter: Linton is a type A personality and engages in the endless pursuit of justice, attributable to his father being the police superintendent. His sharp mind and wit are beyond his years.
  • Sonny Craven: Sonny is pleasant and positive. He is often in charge of mystery research and has on several occasions figured out a mystery or formed plans to get clues while Linton and Jack or otherwise occupied. His manners betray his affluent upbringing. Sonny and Mildred are cousins.[12] He is a member of the Naturecraft Folk, a parody of the youth organisation, The Woodcraft Folk
  • Jessica Finch: Big sister to Jack, Jessica tries to keep Jack in line with her unkind words and harsh attitude towards him. She is also part of a boisterous crowd of friends who like Jack, much to Jessica's displeasure.
  • Mr. Beckwith: Ryan Beckwith is the teacher for Charlotte and Shauna's class. He has some difficulty acting the part of an adult, and thinks he's being a bit soft and unprofessional with his students. He's married to Amy Beckwith-Chilton. Both were major characters in Scary-Go-Round.
  • Mr. Bough: George Bough (pronounced "boff") is the teacher for Linton, Jack, and Sonny's class. He's far beyond any pretense of caring, and isn't going to stand for any of your nonsense.
  • Amy Beckwith-Chilton (née Amy Chilton): A key character from Scary-Go-Round, she's currently an antiquing entrepreneur and wife of Ryan Beckwith.

Minor characters[edit]

Jessica's friends:

  • Sian: Bespectacled.[13]
  • Silje: Stern and tall.[13]
  • Lauren: Pigtailed, talkative.[14]

The Wickle Family:[8]

  • Humphrey Wickle: Shauna's little half-brother.
  • Dan Finster: Shauna's step-father.
  • Karen Wickle: Mother to Shauna.

The Grote Family:[8]

  • Mrs. Grote: Single mother to Charlotte.
  • Sarah Grote: Charlotte's older sister.

The Baxter Family:[8]

  • Mrs. Baxter: Over-affectionate mother to Linton. Primary school teacher.
  • Superintendent Baxter: Linton's protective father. Local police superintendent.

The Craven Family:[8]

  • Mr. Craven: Father to Sonny, also attended Griswalds as a child. Brother of Glenys Haversham.
  • Mrs. Craven: Mother to Sonny.
  • Cecile Craven: Sonny's little sister.

The Finch Family:[8]

  • Mr. Finch: Jack & Jessica's father. Hairdresser, first seen in The Case of the Missing Piece.
  • Mrs. Finch: (unseen so far) Jack & Jessica's mother.

The Haversham Family:[8]

  • Glenys Haversham: Mildred's modern mother.[15]
  • Neil Haversham: Mildred's bearded father.[16]


  • Little Claire: lisping shortie, daughter of the head of the local Fire Brigade. (Her lisp is mostly gone by The Case of the Forked Road.)
  • Colm: a year older than Jack, Linton and Sonny. Though having some "criminal" traits, his heart is in the right place: he's seen comforting Sonny with unexpected maturity in The Case of the Fire Inside. He's been in a relationship with Little Claire until The Case of the Missing Piece.
  • Corky: nerd-type. Helps Shauna during The Case of the Lonely One.
  • Lee Chaplin: an older kid that fancies Mildred in The Case of the Fire Inside.
  • Nikki and Jasmine: fashionable girls Mildred was friends with early in The Case of the Forked Road.

Guest stars[edit]

  • Erin Winters: Character from Scary-Go-Round, Shelley Winters' lost sister. She appears as a local newspaper reporter.[17] (but left town at the end of The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor)
  • Len Pickering: Character from Bobbins and Scary-Go-Round. The oft-divorced, doting father of Amy Beckwith-Chilton. Originally the editor of City Limit magazine in Bobbins, he recurred occasionally in Scary-Go-Round, first as Tessa and Rachel's journalism professor,[18] then as the boyfriend of Carrot's mother Paula, an editor of the Tackleford Cormorant.[19] Currently, Len is the dean of the university in Tackleford.[20]
  • Elodie Broussard: Character from Scary-Go-Round.[21] Currently seen as a French-language teacher in Tackleford.


Story # Title Description Date Begun Date Ended
0 ...and the short preamble A quick introduction to the characters of Bad Machinery. 2009-09-21 2009-10-08
1 The Case of the Team Spirit Tackleford football club, under new management, is being haunted. 2009-10-12 2010-04-01
2 The Case of the Good Boy A magic pencil, a strange pet "dog", and an exotic animal collector keep the children busy. 2010-04-12 2010-09-30
3 The Case of the Simple Soul Jack's relationship with Shauna pushes Linton and Sonny to investigate barn fires with new arrival Colm. 2010-11-22 2011-05-13
4 The Case of the Lonely One Second year starts, bringing with it a strange new student. 2011-05-30 2011-11-11
5 The Case of the Fire Inside Sonny becomes infatuated with a beautiful "transfer student", and Mildred begins a dangerous relationship. 2012-01-09 2012-06-28
6 The Case of the Unwelcome Visitor The children investigate the mysterious "Night Stalker". 2012-08-27 2013-03-15
7 The Case of the Forked Road The girls find a wormhole to another time. Warped reality results. 2013-06-17 2013-12-12
8 The Case of the Modern Men Troublesome French exchange students and a "mods" vs. "rockers" war are among the goings-on here. 2014-02-23 2014-08-29
9 Space Is The Place Shauna and Charlotte go to space camp. 2015-04-06 2015-07-17


  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. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  3. ^ John Allison (13 September 2009). "Yore questiens answer'd". SGRBlogspot. Blogspot. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  4. ^ John Allison (18 September 2009). "News From NEMULON". SGRBlogspot. Blogspot. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Oni Press (21 May 2012). "JOHN ALLISON’S BAD MACHINERY MOVES FROM WEB TO PRINT VIA ONI PRESS". Oni Press. Oni Press. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Sjöberg, Lore (2010-12-23). "Alt Text: The Best New Webcomics of 2010". Wired. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Bad Machinery Cast Page". Bad Machinery. 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  9. ^ John Allison (22 January 2008). "Comic for January 22, 2008". Scary Go Round. John Allison (artist). Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  10. ^ John Allison (23 January 2008). "Comic for January 23, 2008". Scary Go Round. John Allison (artist). Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - October 26, 2009". Bad Machinery. 2009-10-26. Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  12. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - October 30, 2010". Bad Machinery. 2010-03-30. 
  13. ^ a b "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - November 9, 2009". Bad Machinery. 2009-11-09. Archived from the original on 13 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  14. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - October 5, 2009". Bad Machinery. 2009-10-05. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  15. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - November 11, 2009". Bad Machinery. 2009-11-11. Archived from the original on 15 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  16. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - May 10, 2010". Bad Machinery. 2010-05-10. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  17. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - December 24, 2009". Bad Machinery. 2009-12-24. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  18. ^ "Scary Go Round - June 4, 2002". 
  19. ^ "Scary Go Round - December 24, 2008". 
  20. ^ "Scary Go Round Presents Bad Machinery - December 2, 2009". Bad Machinery. 2009-12-02. 
  21. ^ [1]

External links[edit]