Saturday, 2 November 2013

Highs and lows


It was a mixed week last week. It began with those nice Twitter comments shown above from Mark Millar, creator of the hugely successful Kick-Ass and one of the top talents in the comics industry. Cartooning is a fairly lonely and insecure business so it was encouraging to receive comments like that out of the blue. (Although I'm sure I don't deserve the 'heir to Baxendale' tag, very flattering as it is.)

Then, a few days later, I noticed that Gordon Robson (aka 'Kid'), who has often been critical of today's UK children's comics, was having a little pop at me on his blog, mainly because my work isn't the genius level of Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid's. (But then, whose is? Bax and Reid always stood out, even amongst their peers back in the days of Wham! and 1950s Beano.) 



Then later, also from Mr.Robson...



Of course he's absolutely entitled to his opinion and if my work doesn't give him a lift, that's fair enough. I've no problem with that. No cartoonist would expect their work to please everyone and I've never considered myself in the same league as Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale who were true giants in their field.



However, in a conversation with someone who defended me anonymously (and no, I don't know who that was) the critic also remarks about me selling off my old artwork.  

He said of me that "The artist you mention works for one of the lowest-paying companies in the business and he's so 'wealthy' that he's currently selling some of his old comics and art because apparently work is a bit thin on the ground at the moment". Mr.Robson then goes on to boast that he himself has never had to sell anything from his "vast and varied collections". (If you want to see it in context on his blog, you'll find it by clicking here.) Here's a screen grab of the bit I'm talking about: 



I really shouldn't bother justifying myself. But I want to clarify some things because it's not the first time this guy's brought up the subject of me selling artwork. I appreciate that he's defending himself for the most part in that comment above against the anonymous comments, but as there are some people who frequent both his blog and mine I felt a 'right of reply' was in order on some points where I'm mentioned, just for balance...

1) About me working for "one of the lowest-paying companies": As a freelancer I've worked for numerous companies over the last 30 years. Some pay more than others. Even rates for jobs I've done this week vary considerably. Such has it ever been for every freelancer. I don't turn work down if I can help it.

2) True, this has been a bad year personally and financially. Partly because there aren't so many comics around, and partly because I was grieving over my mum's death. (Still am, but at least I'm in the frame of mind to write/draw funny stuff again now, which I wasn't for over five weeks.) However it's been a bad year for a lot of people but I'm keeping my head above water and I'm not in debt. As I've said before, I don't have any surviving family to inherit my artwork so it makes sense to me to sell off some of the many pages I've drawn over the past 30 years. It reduces clutter for me and as there's an interest in it from collectors who grew up on my work, it pleases the fans as well as myself. I'd be selling those old pages to collectors regardless of whether I'd had a good year or not.

3) Selling old artwork is a legitimate way for artists to boost their income. It's all declared, we pay tax on it, and, yes, it helps in good times and bad. Many comic artists sell their old pages online and at conventions. So much so that eBay even has its own category for original comic art, and conventions have their 'artists alleys'. 

4) Regarding me selling a few old comics: I have my particular favourites that I'll never part with, but I also have some that I know I'll never read again. They're just taking up far too much space as far as I'm concerned. And I'm still buying stuff, so I need the space for those new books too! Every few years I'll have a sort out with no regrets, and I'm sure it'll please that blogger (as a fellow animal lover) that a few years ago I gave away hundreds of comics to the RSPCA for them to sell at their charity events. 

Anyway, that's how one person's comments can boost you up and another person's comments can bemuse you in the space of a few days. That's life! But overall I think I get off very lightly considering some of the nasty flak that Mark Millar gets from various 'fans' on message boards. It's a funny old business.

(If any of you did want to follow my eBay auctions you'll find them by clicking here.) 

And if you want to follow me on Twitter I'm on the link coming up. (Bear in mind I'm not 'Tweeting' every day though so my apologies in advance if I don't reply right away.):
https://twitter.com/lewstringer  


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Update: As a consequence of Kid Robson's most recent disproportionate responses, his distortions, his exaggerations, and his attacks on my honesty and integrity (see here and here) there will be no more comments on the matter published on this blog for the time being. I thank you all for your support and you can rest assured that the situation is being closely monitored and evidence is being gathered. Thank you.

21 comments:

ShayMay said...

What always kind of disheartens me is the constant prying into the lives and minds of creators, from yourself to Mark Millar. If someone discredited or criticised your work, that's absolutely fine, as you've said. I am not a fan of Mr. Millar's work at all, myself. But I get a bit uncomfortable when there is a constant prying into the psychology and the life behind that work, and an attempt to attack the people who, at the end of the day, are trying to earn a living and entertain others.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks. I think in this instance it was just down to an assumption that because last year I joked 'buy my art and help me pay my mortgage' (or something like that) that Mr.Robson may have thought I wouldn't be selling it if I hadn't had a bad year. But, as I said, there seems to be a market for my old pages and there's no reason why I should hold onto everything I've ever drawn so it makes sense to sell some of them. (I'm keeping all the comics I've been published in though so I still have a record of everything.)

Anonymous said...

What you do Lew with your property keep/sell is no-one's business yet alone making assumptions or snide comments. Soldier on..&**** 'em like your work lew. ta Paul Wilding

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Paul.

Theo Clarke said...

I have always liked your art, Lew. And it has never mattered to me how poor or wealthy you are.

Lew Stringer said...

Cheers Theo!

Anonymous said...

He's commented on this at the link.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lew, glad to see you have re started "Blimey" again as it is one of my favourite blogs so I look forward to catching up on that. I don't want to get into a "fanboy" war of words as I know there has been, shall we say " tension" between you and Kid Robson in the past. However, in this case I feel I need to set the record straight for folk that don't read the whole thing as it was me that first mentioned your work not Kid Robson and as you also very fairly noted Kid didn't "slag" of your work ( for the record I said I liked your work and that I enjoyed the humour adventure type strip you sometimes do /did) - It was also myself that added that I was sure that you wouldn't rate yourself with Ken Reid or Leo Baxendale [- I didn't mean that to be disrespectful and apologise of it came over the wrong way. plus I think you also said as much once re Reid and Baxendale on "Blimey".

I think the "caffuffle" all came about from the "anonymous" person defending your work as you again rightly (and decently) commented that Kid was probably defending himself against his/her comments and up until that post arrived no one had made any ""aggressive" comments, after that it may have gotten a bit silly but again the "anonymous" poster did make a lot of further disparaging remarks re Kid Robson being unemployed and being under medication - not a classy comment to make irrespective of its truth.

Anyway I am not acting as a apologist for Kid Robson here (as like yourself he is more than capable of answering for himself) but just wanted to set the record straight as to who raised what first etc - I enjoy both your blogs and work and at no point was I in anyway slagging your work off etc - McScotty

Lew Stringer said...

Hi McScotty. Thanks for posting a long and thoughtful comment. You have nothing to apologize for. The fact that you mentioned me first isn't really relevant though, nor is Kid's opinion of my work. (As I said above, he's entitled to think what he likes about my work. It doesn't bother me.)

As I said, I appreciate that Kid was defending himself against anon, but he didn't need to put me down in order to explain his own achievements.

The ONLY thing that concerned me was that he was implying that if I hadn't had a bad year I wouldn't be selling my old pages. Yes, the extra income has helped, but as I said before, I'm selling them because I want to, not because I need to. I've been selling artwork for quite a while now. It's simply part of my income. Many artists do it.

I see today he's claiming my post above says of me that it "reveals a concern that anyone should ever perceive him as being anything less than the success he clearly thinks he is". Again, he misreads the intent. I have never considered myself to be a big success. I'm not the egotist he often implies I am. I keep my head down, get on with my work and I get by. I don't think I'm Mr.Wonderful but nor do I wish to be portrayed as some sort of pauper desperately selling off my possessions.

Anyway, thanks again for commenting.

Peter Dunn said...

Great to see Blimey back - but just ignore this Robson person. I would never even have heard of him if he had not cropped up in your postings in the past and I do wonder if a very large chunk of those folk who now know of his existence simply know of him because of his attacks on you. You have taken to him to task before and the vast majority of us agree with and like you and really wouldn't care if we heard anything from him or about him again so don't give him any more attention - he really isn't worth it - what was his name again? :-)

Gareth said...

I agree with Peter Dunn. This has gone on for years and you always rise to KR's bait then he uses your replies to say your teh guilty party. Remember the first rule of social networking: Do Not Feed The Troll.

Lew Stringer said...

Good advice folks, thanks.

Lew Stringer said...

I would like to repeat however that I have NO IDEA who the anonymous poster on Mr.Robson's blog is. I appreciate their support but I do wish that he or she had posted under their own name in order to prevent any speculation by Mr.Robson that there may be a connection.

Gareth said...

He's trying to excuse his attacks by pretending you started it Lew. Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Lew Stringer said...

I see that he's now removed all the comments on his blog which challenged him on that thread. That's entirely his right of course, but the screen grabs I took of the discussion to post above will remain on my blog to show what actually happened.

Gareth said...

Lew! Ignore him. Don't even bother visiting his childish blog. He does these things so you will react and then he will post a totally distorted version of it on his blog. Ignore!

Lew Stringer said...

Sound advice Gareth but it still doesn't stop other people reading said distortions. Although whether or not they believe the crap is another matter of course. Personally I'm sick and tired of it and just want to get on with my life.

Gareth said...

Then get on with it Lew and ignore the troll. He has nothing better to do. You do.

And pleeeese, now you have brought Blimey back, please do a post about Spike comic like I asked you to years ago. If you want to of course.

Lew Stringer said...

I will get around to it, Gareth. Thing is, although I bought Spike at the time I only kept one or two as it was one of those comics I knew I'd never get around to reading again. I'll cover it somehow though as it was an enjoyable comic.

Datamouse said...

If people read both sides they won't pay much heed to his spin doctoring Lew. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Lew Stringer said...

As a consequence of Mr Robson's most recent exaggerations and allegations about me no more comments on the matter will be posted on this blog in the immediate future. I thank you all for your support and you can rest assured that the situation is being closely monitored and evidence gathered. Thank you.