Saturday, 27 April 2013

Meanwhile, three decades ago...

It's been 30 years ago this month since I sold my first professional cartoon. (The one shown above, which saw print in Marvel UK's The Daredevils No.7, dated July 1983.) With Iron Man 3 in cinemas this week I thought it might be appropriate to show this cartoon again.

Looking at it now, the style is crude and the gag very lame, but seeing it in print back in 1983 gave me a huge boost to my self esteem. At the time I was on the dole, having quit a dead-end office job, and had been trying to break into comics for a couple of years with no luck. (In retrospect it's understandable I made no initial headway because my work simply wasn't professional standard then.)

I'd been producing several fanzines and small press comics in order to gain experience and feedback, and Alan Moore (whom I knew from the Westminster Comic Marts and inevitable pub-meets) suggested I try Marvel UK with some ideas. He introduced me to Marvel editor Bernie Jaye in February 1983 and she asked me to submit some work. I soon came up with a variation on Marvel's "What If...?" series, sent in a bunch of cartoons, and at the April Westminster Comic Mart Bernie told me she'd be running them in
The Daredevils from issue 7. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day.

The rate was very low, - £5 a cartoon. Not enough to enable me to get off the dole at that point (and yes, I did declare it) but what it gave me was far more important, - the encouragement to carry on. Prior to that, I'd been on the verge of giving up my ambitions to be a cartoonist, but the euphoria of seeing my work in print gave me the confidence and incentive I needed. After that, more work followed and I went full-time self employed early in 1984. It's true what they say; once you've been published it gives other editors the assurance that you can do the job. All thanks to Alan Moore and Bernie Jaye. 

I'd also like to thank all of you who have followed my strips over the years. Hopefully they provided some amusement, even if it was only to groan at the puns. Working in comics is more unstable now than it was 30 years ago, but I hope there'll be a few more years of work ahead yet. 

(Part of this post was originally published five years ago on my previous blog, Blimey!


Tiniebras said...

Love this cartoon. I remember the first time you posted it. Still makes me smile now. Also reminds me of:

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, a few people have had the same idea over the years. One of those obvious gags I guess. :)

Anonymous said...

hey lew i saw yur ironman in this weks beano cool u doin anymore?

Lew Stringer said...

Those Iron Man strips in The Beano are nothing to do with me. They're by Nigel Auchterlounie. Just coincidence we did the same parody 30 years apart.

C_Oliver said...

No sillier an idea than the Viet Kong (or ruthless international terrorists) allowing the guy they've kidnapped to painstakingly assemble a destructive suit of armour right under their noses.