Friday, 13 March 2015

The Unseen Plug (around 1985)

Scanned from the original artwork.
I found this strip today, which I'd completely forgotten about. It's a sample I sent on spec to D.C. Thomson in 1985 or thereabouts when I was trying to get work on The Beano. The editor politely turned me down unfortunately. I can understand why. My work back then just wasn't up to their standard. 

You can see the influence of Mike Higgs' style in panel 1 and Tom Paterson's style in the two characters in the foreground of panel 2. I was quite pleased with the reaction shot on Plug's face in panel 5 but overall the strip was nothing special for a sample that was intended to impress editors. It took quite a few years before I managed to get work from D.C. Thomson, even though I was freelancing regularly for Marvel, IPC and others. 

Anyway, I thought I'd show it here so that for better or worse it's finally seen by an audience, 30 years after its creation. (Click image to see it larger.)


James Spiring said...

Wasn't the Plug strip already running in Beezer at the time, after Plug's self-titled comic merged into it? From what I've found, he lasted until issue 1603, which if I've counted right was in October 1986. Also, perhaps football wasn't the best choice of theme, considering that in practice, Plug would probably do all sports EXCEPT football, to avoid stepping on Ball Boy's toes. I actually don't think the artwork is why you was turned down for this.

Lew Stringer said...

Ah but it wasn't intended for publication James. It was just an art sample so they could see my style and sequential abilities. When aspiring artists submit samples on spec it's just so they can gauge the ability of the artist. Then if they like what they see, they'll tell the artist what they're looking for.

Tiniebras said...

I love this. Always intriguing to see these samples.I actually really like it. Your willingness to do away with the panel border in one panel, and the janitors foot poking through the frame in the next are nice confident little details. I guess the only obvious short coming to me is that Plug seems to maintain the exact same 3/4 view towards the reader throughout the strip. Perhaps showing him at different angles would have proved a greater confidence with the character. The other issue is that the choice of a football theme makes for direct comparison with Vic Neills far more mature style in Plug #3. Check the scans out:
As with many samples though, I think it presents much better as a piece of art than a genuine finished page. I can imagine that framed up it would look awsome :)

Lew Stringer said...

Interesting! I didn't buy Plug so I've never seen that cover before. You're right, there is a similarity.

Yes, agree with you on my limited choice of angles in that strip.