Corpse Talk

Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Women


History is full of incredible stories about amazing people, many of whom have been women. However, many of these incredible life stories have been forgotten, along with the heroic deeds that were ground breaking in their day. The best way to unearth these histories is to speak to the individuals themselves, but this seems impossible as these people died hundreds of years ago. Corpse talk is the comic book chat show that brings the dead interesting and dead famous to life, quite literally. In order to get the real scoop on the lives of the most brilliant individuals in history, host Adam Murphy picks up his shovel and digs up the remains of these individuals and conducts fascinating and hilarious interviews. ‘Corpse Talk: Ground Breaking Women’ is the female edition to the comic book series. It’s a truly horrible take on history, with a female twist.


This book features queens and con-artists, saints and suffragettes, philosophers and pirates, a historical timeline from Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh who traded her way into the Egyptian record books through to Josephine Baker, entertainer, sophisticated high society lady and spy for the French Resistance. There are interviews with Empress Irene, the first women to rule the Roman Empire, Khutulun, the Mongolian warrior princess, Pocahontas, the native American who encouraged peace between her people and English settlers and Harriet Tubman, guide through the underground railroad. If that’s not enough ‘girl power’, there are also interviews with Granny Nanny, the plantation slavery resistance fighter, Joan of Arc, the valiant visionary who helped the French armies defeat the invading English and Emily Wilding Davison, the English suffragette who died for her cause.


Adam Murphy’s interviews with each brilliant woman from history uncover highlights from incredible life stories, showcasing great accomplishments and bring to light little known personal historical facts. If the life stories aren’t enough, Corpse Talk also explains a whole host of details surrounding the lives of these famous women. Hatshepsut reveals the plans for her temple and Josephine Baker explains how to dance the Charleston; Empress Irene explains how Byzantine Silk was created; Khutulan showcases her best Bokh Wresting Moves and Harriet Tubman walks you through the underground railroad. This is a book jam-packed with incredible historical facts and even more amazing life stories.


This is fourth book in the ‘Corpse Talk’ series, which unearths dead amazing details from historically famous people throughout history. Some of the interviews from this book have been previously featured in the weekly story comic, ‘The Phoenix’ but his book brings them all together and adds so much more. Due to the humorous nature and engaging comic book style, this book is hard to put down. Perfect for reluctant readers, history buffs and lovers of stories that empower attitudes of independence, confidence, and brilliance among young women- and men!


This is a great text for any KS2 library shelf. It’s perfect as a research resource and as a starting point for further investigation. Take a more detailed look into some of these incredible lives, the geography and history surrounding them. Readers could find their own incredible characters to make their own ‘Ground-Breaking’ history book, writing their own reports or interviews. They could also write narratives imagining what it would be like to step into the shoes of their favourite characters.

The Phoenix Presents…Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Women

Adam and Lisa Murphy

David Fickling Books ISBN: 978-1910989609

Corpse Talk


“Corpse Talk Season 1” is the first anthology of the comic of the same name which appears weekly in The Phoenix magazine. In the weekly feature, Adam acts as the host of chat show Corpse Talk, the “show that brings the dead famous to life”, and interviews famous people who have returned from the grave in order to chat about their achievements, including historical figures such as Gandhi, Jane Austen, Boudica and Grigori Rasputin to name a few (there are 33 episodes in this first anthology).

Murphy manages to merge the graphic novel format with non-fiction content successfully, creating a completely different take on biographical information. There is much humour in both artwork and text to delight readers but there is nonetheless a lot of facts packed into each interview, focusing on important points of each famous person’s life. The books also includes several other features, including a very unusual and fascinating “Digging Up the Bodies” timeline. A great book to dip in and out of for fans of comics and non-fiction, but also a possible stimulating tool when working on biographies.


Research obituaries/biographies - what does each include, how are they different?

 The language of comics - investigate the differences between comics and non-fiction narrative (you could use Shakelton's Journey by William Grill as a comparison with its entry)

You could makes links with William Shakespeare; Scenes from the Life of the World’s Greatest Writer also on the longlist and also contains graphic novel elements.


 Choose a historical figure and decide which questions you might ask them on Corpse Talk.

Choose a historical figure featured in Corpse Talk and write a traditional obituary.


Curriculum links
Investigate alternative ways of creating biographies (if developing the chat show idea, you could show clips of Horrible Histories’ Stupid Death - for example Richard the Lionheart, which also appears in the book:

Creating a comic - this can be used to create another biography or as creative writing and drawing. Phoenix Comic have a book about creating comics which can be useful "How to Make Awesome Comics" by Neill Cameron and for slightly younger children, Usborne have “Write and Draw Your Own Comics”.  There are also a lot of free activity sheets online, including comic grids.  

Creating a timeline, looking for alternative ways to present them.


Corpse Talk: Book 1  by Adam Murphy

David Fickling Books    ISBN: 978-1910200018