Friday, 21 February 2020

Final whistle for Pup Parade?

The latest series of Pup Parade comes to a close in the next issue of The Beano (No.4024), which goes on sale Wednesday 26th February. 

It's not quite the end though, because there'll be a one-off episode in the comic in April. A previously unpublished story! 

I've really enjoyed doing Pup Parade again. This was my third series I think. I hope they'll be back for another full series one day. I've no time to miss them though because I'm busy working on the replacement strip and the first episode of that begins in Beano No.4025! Who does it feature? Well, it's a Beano character I've never drawn before. I'm not even sure he's had his own strip before... and you'll find out who it is soon! 

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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Updates

I have a number of things I'm drawing at the moment but I can't reveal anything about them yet! Happy to be busy, but frustrating I can't show you any illustrations. 

One major job is for a company outside of comics, but it's still comics-style material.

I'm enjoying working on my new Beano strip, and should be able to reveal what that is soon.

I'm drawing two pages for a special. 

I'm drawing three extra pages for the Cor! Buster Easter Special

I'm doing a page for the new The 77 comic. 

...and amongst that I'll be fitting in my regular Daft Dimension strip for Doctor Who Magazine. And of course Combat Colin No.5 needs to be done at some point!

Had some personal problems that need to be sorted too, so for better or worse these are interesting times. In the meantime, my current auction ends this Sunday if you want some of my old artwork:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/graphite47/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Sunday, 16 February 2020

ORIGINAL ART FOR SALE!

I'm selling off some of my old original artwork! The items are...

A special Combat Colin / Robo-Capers strip that appeared in Transformers No.200 (1989).

An early Tom Thug page that also included the very first Pete and his Pimple strip! (Oink! 1986)

A two-page Team Toxic story featuring Butt-Face. (Toxic, 2019).


A Daft Dimension strip featuring the Odd-Job Daleks! (Doctor Who Magazine, 2018). 

Bidding runs until next Sunday evening (23rd February). Art will of course be packaged safely for posting. 

Here are the listings...
https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/graphite47/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Good luck and thanks in advance to everyone who bids. 


Friday, 14 February 2020

In next week's BEANO...

Here's an advance peek at my next Pup Parade strip. This time the spotlight is on Sniffy! What's he up to? Find out when you buy the Beano No.4023 on Wednesday 19th February! 

(In case you hadn't guessed, the large areas at the top and bottom right will be where the dialogue balloons will go. The composition will look more balanced then.) 

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Thursday, 13 February 2020

Returning to Enniskillen

Another convention to announce, and this one is likely to be the first I'll be going to this year. I'll be flying over to Northern Ireland again for the Enniskillen Comic Fest on Friday 1st/ Saturday 2nd May 2020. (The main event is on Saturday but they're planning something for Friday evening.)

Well organised by Paul Trimble and his team, Enniskillen Comic Fest is always a friendly event and totally focused on comics, not film, TV, or wrestlers! 

You can read more about it on the Down the Tubes site here:
https://downthetubes.net/?p=114929

...and keep up with developments at the festival's Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/EnniskillenComicFest/

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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

That time I inked Jack Kirby

Back in 1997 Chrissie Harper asked me to do a page for the Jack Kirby Quarterly, a magazine dedicated to the work of the King. I was sent an A3 photocopy of a sketch that Jack Kirby had done years earlier. A stat of his pencils showing Captain America and his nemesis the Red Skull. My brief was to ink the image but change the Red Skull into my character Brickman, yet retaining the Kirby style.

It was a very enjoyable job to do. As I only had a photocopy to ink I used my Lightbox to do the job, inking it on good quality Bristol board. I was happy with the result...

When the image was published in Jack Kirby Quarterly No.11 (1997) Chrissie had added some tone to enhance it. I liked the effect! 

This is the issue it's in, if you're ever searching the back issue boxes at conventions...

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Sunday, 9 February 2020

The final TOM THUG strip (1996)

I created Tom Thug for Oink! comic and he appeared from the preview issue in 1986, and throughout most of the 68 issue run of the comic, plus annuals and specials. See here for more info on his creation:
https://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-origin-of-tom-thug.html

When Oink! merged into Buster in 1988, Tom Thug was one of the fortunate few characters to hop over. He became a very popular character in Buster, proving that showing bullies getting their comeuppance every week is always something kids like to see. 

Today I'm showing the final Tom Thug strip I did. It appeared in Buster dated 9th July 1996, meaning that the character had a 10 year run. This wasn't quite the end though, as (due to dreaded cuts in the comic's budget) reprints of Tom's earlier stories began to appear from the following issue, and continued until the very last issue of Buster at the end of 1999.

I didn't know this would be the last one until after I'd submitted the script, so there's no conclusive ending (which I would have preferred). However, as I knew it was Tom's final outing when I drew it, I added a few things for my own amusement:

The lady wearing the headscarf in panel 4 was based on my mum, and that's me in the foreground (as I looked then). The juggler is Pete (from my old strip Pete and his Pimple) finally cured and spot-free. 

The black dog in panel 8 is based on my dog who was 11 years old at the time. (She lived to be 18. Still much missed.)

The number next to my signature beside the last panel is the total number of Tom Thug strips I'd done, including that one; 440 in all! 

Will Tom Thug ever return? No idea, but I gave him a cameo in last year's Cor!! Buster Humour Special and he's also part of a crowd scene in a few panels in the forthcoming Cor!! Buster Easter Special. I'd like to think he could be revived one day in a strip of his own, or at least as part of a reprint in Rebellion ever do a collection of old Buster strips. Time will tell. 
Cover of the Buster that contained the final new Tom Thug strip.

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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Snooty!

Back in September The Beano commissioned me to do several drawings of their characters to be used in various places. One of those drawings, Lord Snooty, appears in next week's Beano, hosting the reader's pages. 

Presumably the other drawings will appear at some point. I did one for each of the Bash Street Dogs plus Biffo and his pal Buster. (Yes, D.C. Thomson's version of Buster in the beret, not the cloth-capped one owned by Rebellion that I've just drawn for the Cor!! Buster Easter Special. Good job I didn't get them confused!)

In case you're wondering, no, Lord Snooty isn't the new strip I'm doing that will replace Pup Parade in March. My new strip features a character I'd never drawn before, but I did do a series of Lord Snooty mini-strips for the Beano a few years ago... and I've done a few more for the Beano Annual 2021, which will be out in August of this year. 

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Thursday, 6 February 2020

New issue of DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE out now!

Today's the day that Doctor Who Magazine No.548 goes on sale in all good newsagents, supermarkets, and comic shops across the UK. Amongst the 84 packed pages of news, interviews, and features there's another Daft Dimension strip by me. 

This issue also contains a tribute to comic artist Bill Mevin who was one of the illustrators on the Doctor Who strip in TV Comic in the 1960s, as well as contributing many other pages for that title.

Doctor Who Magazine No.548, out now, with a choice of two covers; Doctor or Master? Which one will you go for?  


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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Remember BANANAGIRL?

Pup Parade won't be in next week's Beano because the comic has a special focus on Bananaman to celebrate the character's 40th anniversary. (He first appeared in Nutty No.1 in 1980.) That made me wonder... do any of you remember Bananagirl? 
Bananagirl was the cousin of Bananaman and was introduced as a new pupil in my Super School strip which began in the Beano back in 2008. Bananagirl was the idea of then-editor Alan Digby, and Ian McCloughlin wrote the script. (Iain wrote most of the Super School stories.) She never appeared in a "civilian" identity and seemed to be Bananagirl permanently in order too fit in with the theme of the strip being about superhero kids learning the ropes. She had similar powers to her cousin, being able to fly and some super strength, although she seemed to be smarter than Bananaman.
Super School ended in 2011 and haven't been seen since, nor has Bananagirl. Will she ever return? No idea, but Beano characters often turn up when you least expect them, even decades later (in the case of Big Eggo!) so maybe one day...!
By the way, I've never drawn Bananaman for a comic but I did do a sketch of him last year at a very breezy Comics Salopia last summer in Shrewsbury. Neil Kenny videoed it for the Blast Process YouTube page. Click on the link to see it...


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Sunday, 2 February 2020

Bad Penny returns!

This week, 54 years ago in 1966, Odhams published the first issue of Smash!, a companion comic to Wham! that, for many of us, was even better than its sister paper. One of the main characters was Bad Penny, created by Leo Baxendale. It has to be said that Penny was inspired by the Beano's Minnie the Minx (also created by Leo) but she was a great character in her own right, and the strips were often even more unrestrained than those of the Beano at the time. 

It was an honour to bring back Bad Penny last year as part of the comic gang in Who's In Charge (written by John Freeman) in Rebellion's Cor!! Buster Humour Special. I'm pleased to say that I've also put her in this year's Cor!! Buster Easter Special as part of the crowds in the Buster and Dilbert strip I've drawn (also written by John Freeman). 

As far as I'm concerned, Bad Penny deserves her own strip once again, and hopefully she will one day, but for now at least she's back in a guest star role. Look out for The Cor!! Buster Easter Special when it goes on sale in April!

...and if you're nostalgic for the original Smash!, see my article on the first issue that I wrote on my other blog a few years ago...
https://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2016/01/50-year-flashback-smash-no1.html 


Saturday, 1 February 2020

Preview of BEANO No.4021

Sometimes a piece of artwork turns out exactly how you wanted to, and I was pleased with this panel from next week's Pup Parade strip in Beano No.4021. Bones' face conveys the expression of a happy dog, and who doesn't like to see a dog that's happy?

I also did the artwork for a puzzle page in next week's issue, which meant I got to draw these Bash Street Kids...
...which I then arranged into a grid format for the Bash Street Crush page. The skilled Beano designers added the slick looking phone and the brick wall, logo etc. 
Beano No.4021 will be in the shops on Wednesday 5th February, and this is the cover to look out for by Nigel Parkinson and the Beano design team...
Pup Parade will skip issue 4022 as it's a Bananaman special (celebrating 40 years of the character) but they'll be back in issue 4023, ending in 4024, to make way for my new strip starting in No.4025! More news on that in a few weeks! 

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More convention news: LAWLESS tickets now available

Tickets to Lawless, the comic convention set for Bristol in May, are now available at this link:
http://lawlesscomiccon.co.uk

This will be my first visit to Bristol in years so I hope to see some of you there!

Got a question, or an opinion, or fond memory about comic cons? Share it in the comments below! 

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