Thursday, 9 July 2020

Flashback to 2010 with SUPER SCHOOL!

Super School was a regular full page strip I drew in The Beano for a while, beginning in 2008. It featured a handful of kids being trained to use their super powers and was great fun to draw! (Iain McLoughlin wrote most of the scripts.) You can read more about the genesis of the strip on my old blog at this link:

Looking on an old disc today I found a few photos that I thought you might be interested in seeing. At the top of this post is part of the published Super School story that appeared in The Beano Annual 2012, and here are some images of it when I was pencilling it...




...and after inking...

This strip would have been drawn ten years ago, in 2010, as we work well in advance for the annuals. The book was published in July 2011, well in time for the Christmas gift market.

Back then I was inking with a dip-nib for a while. A very old and traditional way! I switched to using Japanese brush pens a little later.

As I said, we work well in advance on annuals, and I'm currently drawing new Keyhole Kate pages for The Dandy Annual 2022 to be published next year.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Website no more

A few weeks ago those of us who'd created our sites through MrSite were told it was closing down. With little time to find an affordable alternative, I'm afraid that lewstringer.com is no longer active.

For the forseeable future I'll be using this blog as my main presence on the Internet. I'll set up a new website with a new provider when I can afford it. In these uncertain times I can't predict when that will be, but this blog will continue to serve as a source of my work past and present.

This means that my webshop is also no more, but my Combat Colin comics are on hold at present anyway so that's not an immediate inconvenience. I hope to publish Combat Colin No.5 later this year and will look into alternatives to provide an online ordering platform. 

In the meantime you can still buy the digital-exclusive Barmy Comix No.1. More info here:




Thursday, 2 July 2020

Are you on Instagram?

I don't publicize my Instagram account as often as perhaps I should, so consider this a plug for it today. I post various stuff over there, comics related as well as day to day photos and videos, so if you're interested give me a follow. You'll find it at this link:

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Have you bought The77?

A reminder that my new character, Sgt.SHOUTY is one of many strips making their debut in the brand new indie comic, The77. Issue 1 is out now and the Kickstarter for issue 2 is now active at this link:


Sunday, 28 June 2020

Daft Dimension for DWM 553 (Pencil stage)

I thought you might like to see one of my Daft Dimension strips as it was at its pencil stage. I took this photo a few weeks ago before I inked and coloured the strip. (As always, click or tap on the image to see it bigger.) You can see the finished result in Doctor Who Magazine No.553.... out now!

Thursday, 25 June 2020

It's on! MACC-POW! this Saturday... LIVE ONLINE! (UPDATED.)

Macc-Pow is always one of the most enjoyable comic cons of the year and this year even Coronavirus can't stop it! Instead of the usual physical event, MACC-POW @ HOME will take place ONLINE this Saturday (the day it would have taken place in Macclesfield). Organiser Marc Jackson will be talking to guests live on INSTAGRAM TV throughout the day, and I'm proud to be part of it along with fab guests such as Rachael Smith, Charlie Adlard, Emmeline Pidgen and more! Tune in on Saturday 27th June for this free event!
More info...

UPDATE: I'm very sorry I let the side down with technical difficulties affecting my segment of the show. I could only broadcast in sound only for a few minutes then it dropped out altogether. Entirely a fault on my side. Perhaps my phone just wasn't up to it. I'm very dissappionted indeed. I hope you enjoyed all the other interviews though, and if you missed them you can see them on Marc's Instagram page.


Monday, 22 June 2020

This month's Daft preview


The only drawback with promoting a mini-strip is that if I show too much it'll give away the joke, so here's a cropped section of one of the panels from my next Daft Dimension strip. The printed size will be much smaller than this.

You'll see the full version in Doctor Who Magazine No.553, which will be on sale in supermarkets and (open) branches of WH Smiths and comic shops from this Thursday. 76 packed pages of news, features, and interviews including a feature on The Night Walkers, the final appearance of the 2nd Doctor from TV Comic back in 1969!

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Summer can still be special

All new Postman Prat in the Dandy Summer Special.

These are stressful, worrying times but fictional escapism can always help whether we be young or old. It's good to see more comic specials being produced throughout this year and with shops beginning to re-open hopefully sales will still be good.

I do believe though that health should come first so if you don't feel safe venturing into shops just yet you can always order comics through the post. The Dandy Summer Special 2020 is still on sale and features 68 pages packed with classic reprints and some new material. Available now from WH Smith or you can order it by mail directly from the publishers at this link:
Cover by Steve Bright.

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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Unseen comics that could have been

For every comic title that was published there were often many that didn't get the green light by the publishers. Some only made it to the ideas stage, some made it to printed "dummy issues" but never seen by the public. Now, Hibernia Books tell the story of some of those comics that could have been (and in some cases should have been) in Fantastic Adventures. Here you’ll read about comics such as Eureka, Glory Glory, Zarjaz!, and one I contributed to, Oh No!! There are also other surprise features well worth reading so don't miss it!
Details in the link below on how to order your copy of this new bookazine that reveals all!

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Sunday, 14 June 2020

SHOUTY RETURNS!

The Kickstarter campaign for the second issue of The77 is now live and has already passed its target... which means it's definitely going to happen! You can pledge to ensure your copy by following the link below. It'll contain loads of new strips including another SGT.SHOUTY page by me!




Monday, 8 June 2020

Blog Break


Not a lot of comics news to report these days I'm afraid and, like most of us, I'm finding these harrowing times a struggle, so I'm taking a break from social media to try and focus on my work. Take care everyone.


Sunday, 7 June 2020

Is nostalgia good for us?

A perfect moment from 1966 captured forever.

Is nostalgia any good for us? Yes and no. Here are my thoughts on it...

It's quite common, especially amongst people with a passion for pop culture items, to be nostalgic about the past. After all, our interests in comics, film, music, or whatever tends to stem from our early experiences when we were children.

Other people are very rarely nostalgic, considering the past to be something to always move away from without any sentimental attachment. They consider nostalgia to be an uneccesary burden that should be left in the past.

Are they right? Is it unhealthy and time-wasting to be nostalgic? As with everything I think it's about moderation.

If one is yearning to be back in the past again on an obsessive level then I think that's unhealty. We can never return to childhood, or any point in our pasts, so hankering for that impossibility is absolutely pointless and a waste of the precious time we have remaining. However, I think most of us reflect on the past at times because it brings us comfort and happiness. We're still very focused on the present and the future but the past is what made us who we are, so it's important because it's part of us.

In terms of pop culture, I see no harm in enjoying a song, film, or comic from the past on an entertainment level or to appreciate the craft. In fact a lot of comics and movies I like are from *before* I was born, so that's not nostalgia. It's an appreciation of style. Besides, anything we haven't absorbed before is "new" to us, whether it be a day old or from 70 years ago.

We've all encountered the types who become so fixated on the past that they become embittered about modern culture being "not like it used to be". However, nothing was *ever* like it used to be. Pop culture has *always* evolved, and I think if we understand that we can appreciate it in its own historical context and learn from it instead of being angry that it no longer exists in that form.

Thoughts?
Yes, it's the same one from the first photo.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Shop early for Christmas! The 2021 annuals are coming this July!

The Dandy and Beano Annuals for 2021 are now ready for pre-order (published next month). I did quite a few pages for The Dandy Annual, and a few Lord Snooty mini strips for The Beano Annual. You can order them separately or together: https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/books/children-s/double-trouble-pack-2021
Covers by David Parkin and Nigel Parkinson.

It's at this point where some people always claim the annuals used to come out at Christmas. Nope, they were always published many months before. We associate them with Christmas because that's when we usually received them, but I remember my grandad treating me to a Wham! Annual on a day trip to Blackpool back in September 1971. I even still have the receipt inside the book! 
 

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Go Barmy!

Another quick reminder that if you're missing comics during these strange times you can always download Barmy Comix No.1, a 32 page digital comic featuring a selection of some of my best bits.

It also includes an exclusive nine page preview of Combat Colin No.5

Get Barmy Comix at this link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y5IH2SDBlpxbws_nqsndaLkZAgh1inzQ/view

It's free to download but if you want to donate a bit of spare cash I'd appreciate £2 if you can afford it, payable via PayPal to lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com

Thank you!

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Monday, 1 June 2020

Strange times

I hope everyone's OK in these difficult times when we're all struggling? No one saw this coming and I know it's very hard to adjust to what's happening across the world. I'm not going to pretend anything will improve soon, or treat this pandemic like a holiday as some people are, but I hope we all find our own ways to cope and survive.

Not a lot to report about work right now, so here's an old illustration I did back in 2001 for a charity deck of playing cards. It features three characters I created; Brickman, Tom Thug, and Combat Colin.

Stay safe and be good to yourselves and your loved ones. 

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Cover in production (2017)

I can't remember if I've posted all of these photos before. I don't think I have, but I recently found them on a memory stick so here you go. They're shots I took when I was drawing the cover for Combat Colin No.2, photographed on 8th December 2017. 
 


...and here's how the finished cover turned out... 
 
I've put my self-publishing and mail order on hold at present due to the pandemic and worries over financial issues but I will hopefully resume later in the year.

Don't forget that the digital Barmy Comix No.1 is available for you to download. More about it here:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2020/04/have-you-grabbed-your-barmy-comix-yet.html

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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

New DWM this week


Many comics and magazines are on hiatus during the lockdown but thankfully Doctor Who Magazine has stuck to its regular schedule, publishing an issue every four weeks. There's a new edition out this Thursday, 27th May, and amongst its 84 packed pages you'll find another Daft Dimension mini strip by me. 

Doctor Who Magazine No.552, out this week. £5.99. If your local shops are closed you can buy it directly from the publisher. Click on this link to find more info:
https://doctorwhomagazine.com/doctor-who-magazine/doctor-who-magazine-552/

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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Happy 60th, Buster!

Advert for BUSTER NO.1 from the DAILY MIRROR, 23rd May 1960.
It slipped my mind but it was the 60th anniversary of Buster comic the other day! Launched on 23rd May 1960, Buster was the first of Fleetway's new style 1960s comics. It heralded a more modern style of British weekly, moving away from the artistic styles of the long defunct titles such as Comic Cuts and Funny Wonder. He was billed as the "Son of Andy Capp" in those days when they shared the same publisher, but that was soon dropped and there's no connection between the two characters today.

Buster ran for almost 40 years, ending in December 1999. 

As this is my personal blog I thought I'd write some personal remembrances about it. I'd been a reader of Buster in the 1960s, becoming a regular reader in 1969 as it seemed to be the closest thing to the much-missed Power Comics, with its balance of humour and adventure strips.

I was privileged to be one of the numerous artists/writers that contributed to the comic in its later years. I came on board in 1988, when Oink! merged into Buster, bringing with me my characters Tom Thug and Pete and his Pimple.  
One of the covers I did for BUSTER. Colours by John Burns.
Tom Thug proved to be the most popular of those two, and gave the more established characters a run for their money too, as explained in this letter I received from the editor... 
 
After his two year run in Oink!, Tom Thug ran for another eight years in Buster before the comic went all-reprint in 1996. Then reprints of Tom Thug continued until the final issue in 1999, so the character was in print consistently for thirteen years, ten years of which were new material (over 400 episodes, all written and drawn by me).

Buster was an excellent comic to contribute to in the 20th Century, so I was over the moon to be invited back as an artist on the recent all-new Cor!! Buster Specials and drawing the Buster strip itself (and also the Gums strip this year.)
Page 1 of the new Buster and Delbert. Script by John Freeman, art by Lew Stringer.
  

Page 1 of the new Gums strip. Script by Lizzie Boyle, art by Lew Stringer.
I'm pleased that, for Buster's 60th anniverary, there is currently a new Buster title on the stands... and if you have difficulty finding it during the lockdown you can order it directly from the publisher at this link:
https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com/catalogue/RCS2052

Happy 60th, Buster! Now you're back, let's hope you stick around for a long time to come!  


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Combat Colin No.4 is now SOLD OUT!

Please note that I no longer have any copies of Combat Colin No.4 left in stock. I have a few assigned to send out for recent orders, but that'll be it for the time being. 

I will be getting a second printing done later this year, along with publishing Combat Colin No.5, but not yet. It's all dependant on finances and the safety of sending out items during the current pandemic.  

As I posted a few weeks ago, I'm avoiding post offices at the moment but I will honour the orders from those of you who have recently bought comics. Thank you for your patience. 

In the meantime, don't forget that you can download Barmy Comix, a 32 page digital comic that includes a 9 page preview of Combat Colin No.5 plus lots of other strips! More about it here:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2020/04/have-you-grabbed-your-barmy-comix-yet.html

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Robots made in Bryce


Years ago I dabbled with the 3D software Bryce to create some images. Bryce is really intended for terrain modelling but it was fun to play around with the shapes and textures to create figures instead. Here's one of my efforts from 2005. 

It took ages to create this so 3D modelling isn't something I'm likely to return to anytime soon. (I don't have any software to create it now anyway.) Give me a pen and paper any day.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Development of my convention banner

Here's the artwork for the banner I use at conventions. Pencilled, inked, and finished stages. I've been using this banner since 2016 and will be designing a new one for future shows whenever they can, hopefully, resume.

Comics Salopia, Shrewsbury Castle, June 2019. Artist Aneke on the left.
Laura Howell's banner to the right.
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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Bash Street from the board to the page

I thought you might like to compare a Bash Street Kids puzzle page I drew from the roughs to the published version. The photo of the version at the pencilled stage on my drawing board was taken on 10th August 2018. After inking and colouring it I emailed the art to the Beano offices on 13th August 2018. 

The published version (below) appeared on 26th September 2018 in Beano No.3954.
A six week gap between deadline and publication is the norm. Sometimes, in the case of specials and annuals, the gap is many months! For example I'll soon be drawing a Keyhole Kate page for The Dandy Annual 2022, which will be published in July 2021! 

Weekly comics pages are drawn 6 to 8 weeks in advance. Annual pages between 9 and 12 months in advance! Obviously we have no way of knowing if any calamity will be affecting society by the time the material is published (as is currently happening with COVID-19) but I like to think that the Dandy/Beano universe exists separately from ours in an escapist world where the worst things never happen.  

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Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Postman Prat: The origin

It's been ten years this autumn since The Dandy was revamped and I was invited to contribute. An exciting time, as the UK's longest-running comic was to be completely rebooted with a new look but taking it back to its roots as a comic. (It had previously been running as a magazine for a few years, titled Dandy Xtreme which didn't quite work.) 

The characters I did for the Dandy in 2010 were two concepts created in-house by the editors. Kid Cops, about two kids bringing justice to their neighbourhood in daft ways, and Postman Prat.  

I recently found a memory stick containing my Dandy strips so I thouyght I'd show you a couple of pieces. Above are my initial roughs for Postman Prat and his colleagues. I'm sure I must have submitted finished drawings too but I seem to have lost those. As you can see, Prat was originally a much shorter, chubbier character to the one he developed into. Not sure why I changed it. Perhaps I felt a leaner figure had more flexibility for slapstick. His proportions were a bit odd originally. Comic characters often evolve as time goes on, as you'll see if you look at early versions of Dennis the Menace or Buster for example.

Prat was still a fairly chubby character in the first episode, seen below. This is the art as I submitted it, with balloons and captions added later by the D.C. Thomson designers. Postman Prat was originally written by editor Craig Graham but he's had a few writers over the years. I write the stories myself these days for The Dandy Summer Special and Dandy Annual.
 
Sadly The Dandy didn't last too long in its final revamp. It had already lost many readers in previous years and never recovered from its declining sales. Ironically the final issue in 2012 sold so many copies it had to be reprinted to meet demand! Where were all those readers weeks before? Some said they weren't even aware it was still being published! Ah well, so it goes! 

Today, The Dandy survives in specials and annuals and Postman Prat appears in a new story in The Dandy Summer Special that's out now. He'll also be back in The Dandy Annual 2021, on sale in July! 
https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/dandy-summer-special-2020

Below: Postman Prat as he appears today, in the upcoming Dandy Annual 2021
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Thursday, 14 May 2020

The Dandy is back!

The sun's out and so is The Dandy Summer Special! 68 pages packed with vintage material from creators such as Dudley Watkins, Allan Morley, George Martin and more plus some brand new pages this time too! There's a new Postman Prat page by me in there, plus pages by Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell, Andy Fanton, Alan Ryan, Nigel Auchterlounie, Steve Bright... and Mike Collins on Desperate Dan! Cover by Steve Bright. 

Available directly from DC Thomson at this link:
https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/dandy-summer-special-2020

Cover art by Steve Bright.
Some of the Dudley Watkins pages from the 1940s are scanned from the original art, so the reproduction is perfect!  
Early Desperate Dan by Dudley Watkins.
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