Saturday, 20 September 2014

Fun-Size Fun!

I-Spy and Calamity James images by me.
Back around the turn of the century I was commissioned by DC Thomson to draw quite a few stories for their pocket-size comics Fun-Size Dandy and Fun-Size Beano. Scripts were supplied by Thomson staff writers and they were a pleasure to draw. Some of the stories veered away from the more grounded exploits of the characters and ventured into unusual territories, such as the Ball Boy strip I did for Fun-Size Beano No.55 which saw him kidnapped by a UFO and encounter football-themed aliens!
Fun-Size Beano 55 (1999)

The strips varied in length. Some were 25 pages, some as short as 8, but they were all enjoyable to work on. Here's a list of all the ones I did: 


FUN-SIZE BEANO

No.55 (1999) BALL BOY in U.F.O.s (Unidentified Footballing Objects) 25 pages.
No.63 (2000) CALAMITY JAMES in Big Date. 25 pages.
No.78 (2000) LES PRETEND in Newshound Nonsense. 25 pages.
No.118 (2002) LES PRETEND in Mother Bother. 14 pages.
No.126 (2002) THE NUMSKULLS in Non-Sense. 14 pages.

FUN-SIZE DANDY

No.63 (2000) I-SPY in Ha! Ha! said The Clown. 25 pages.
No.84 (2001) FIDDLE O'DIDDLE (No story title.) 11 pages.
No.85 (2001) KORKY THE CAT in The Lion's Tale. 25 pages.
No.87 (2001) FIDDLE O'DIDDLE in Over-Run by Mice! 11 pages.
No.110 (2002) FIDDLE O'DIDDLE in Fiddle the Moviegoer. 9 pages.

There was also one other story, a Korky the Cat, which I think ran to 8 pages, but I never had the issue it was published in. Here's a pic of the title page I scanned from from my original art back then:

Korky © DC Thomson & Co. Ltd.
If anyone knows which issue of Fun-Size Dandy this appeared in I'd be very grateful if you could contact me. It would have been published around the same time as the others I worked on, so somewhere around 2000 to 2002. It may also have been reprinted later, as were most of my other strips, when the comics went all-reprint.

Here's a few pages from some of the copies I have. All were great fun to do, but I was particularly pleased to be asked to draw a 25 page I-Spy story for Fun-Size Dandy No.63. I-Spy was a favourite of mine when I was a young Sparky reader so this was a joy to draw. 

Fun-Size Dandy 63 (2000)

Fun-Size Dandy 63 (2000)

Fun-Size Beano 63 (2000)

Fun-Size Dandy 85 (2001)

Fun-Size Beano 118 (2002)

Fun-Size Beano 84 (2001)

Another thing I liked about the Fun-Size comics is that they were printed on newsprint, and used that basic spot colour method. This is how most comics had been produced when I was a kid so bizarre as it may seem, I enjoyed seeing my work reproduced in such a cheap format. Today's glossy full-colour comics have their advantages but the old newsprint style had a certain charm, even if the print did come off on your fingers!

9 comments:

Tiniebras said...

I'd love to see a collection of the old I-Spy strips. They were good stuff. Those interested might also like to know that the I-Spy strip from FSD 63 was also reprinted in FSD 266 in 2008.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for that info Tiniebras. I rarely saw the books as they were so badly distributed in some areas. I used to travel out of town to get some of them so I only bought the ones I knew I was in. (Unfortunately missing that Korky one.) I think all the stories were reprinted eventually but I didn't chase after those.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lew, just a quick question, will you be selling copies of Brickman Begins at the Lakes Comic Art Festival?

Lew Stringer said...

I'll be taking some along, yes. I'm not sure if I'll have a table or if I'm just booked for talks, but stop me and buy one. :)

James Spiring said...

I finally found it online (from a Yahoo group) - that Korky strip is seven pages in issue 129, published in 2002.

Lew Stringer said...

Thank you James! That's great. Fun-Size Dandy 129 then. I know what to look for on eBay now.

If you'd like to send me your address on lew.stringer@btinternet.com I'll send you a little sketch for your trouble.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lew, wonder if you can help me. I remember when I was small, must have been around 1986 - 1989 ish, small Beano and Dandy editions came in the newsagents - a quick google and a link to your page would assume these are the fun-sized comics. Anyway, after nagging my parents for one at a service station somewhere, I still remember it to this day and would love to track it down. I can't remember the character, but I remember they kept seeing this man's face everywhere they went. In a crowd at a football game if I remember correctly, maybe outside their house(?). The man had a square face, black parted hair and was always smiling. It was a bit creepy! Anyway, that's all I can remember - any ideas?

Lew Stringer said...

I'm afraid the only issues I bought were the ones I contributed to but hopefully someone reading this might be able to help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply, it's appreciated. I hope I can find the answer one day, fingers crossed! All the best.