Sunday, 12 November 2017

Slob City Rovers! (1995)

Daily Star  21st March 1995
Here's a strip I'd forgotten about, that I found today. Back in the early 1990s, I was a contributor to two Viz-type comics, Spit! and C'Mon Ref! Both were edited by Graham Hey and Chris Whitehead, who often supplied the scripts. Good fun stuff. One of the strips I regularly drew was Whitley Baywatch, created by Graham, about two boozy, leery, layabouts in charge of beach safety in Whitley Bay. 

In 1995, Graham and Chris were commissioned to devise a comedy football section for the Daily Star, which they called Bite Yer Legs. It ran in the paper every Tuesday, and I was commissioned to write and draw a strip featuring the Whitley Baywatch characters. 
Daily Star   28th March 1995
The strip was called Slob City Rovers, and you can see three of the strips here. I didn't actually do many. Four in total if memory serves correctly. I don't remember why it was dropped so suddenly but I'd guess it was due to budget cuts. So, my initial enthusiasm at being in a national newspaper was quickly cut short. That's the comics biz, and you never truly know what goes on behind the scenes. Sometimes it's budgetary, sometimes it's office politics, sometimes it's people telling tales. Happily, I've managed to avoid such nonsense during most of my career, but it does happen. Perhaps in a few years I'll spill the beans in an autobiography. 
Daily Star 4th April 1995


Peter Gray said...

you are good at these gag strips...shame it ended so soon..

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, Peter. Sadly, sometimes you can't get to the bottom of why strips are dropped. They commissioned it, approved it, started to publish it, then changed their minds. Bizarre.

Anonymous said...

It must be down to the standard of the material for Editor to close the cartoon strip so quickly. This was a period when John Burns was a regular contributor and I regret to say that "Slob City" doesn't even compare to his sublime work. "Slob City" is vulgar humour, more suited to Viz than to a newspaper. Sorry if my opinion offends anyone who produced the strip.

Lew Stringer said...

There's a couple of points from my post that you've ignored:
a) The strip was commissioned for a Viz-type section of the newspaper, hence the "vulgar humour" as you call it.
b) The editors approved the strip for publication. Had it not been up to standard, it would have been rejected from the outset, not four episodes in.

If they'd wanted a style like John Burns they'd have approached a similar artist. They were familiar with my work already.

Jase said...

The humour he calls vulgar is no worse than Andy Capp!

Anonymous said...

As Jase implies, it's very Andy Cappish.

I wonder if that humour was going out of fashion at the time.

There's no accounting for fashion.

Lew Stringer said...

It wouldn't have gone out of fashion within the four weeks of commissioning the strip and publishing it. I suspect budget cutbacks had something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

You're probably right. It never ceases to amaze me that whenever I read a tragic tale like this, you creative guys just get dropped with barely an acknowledgement for your efforts, if you're lucky. Surely you could have been told something! But noooo. That's too difficult, obviously. I don't know where you guys get your patience from.

Lew Stringer said...

Overall, things are fine. It's only now and then when something like that happens, but it's annoying when it does.