Thursday, 30 April 2020

Have you grabbed your BARMY COMIX yet?

A reminder that my digital comic, Barmy Comix, is still available! The benefit of digital comics is they never go out of print and you can obtain a copy anywhere in the world within minutes!

The purpose behind Barmy Comix is that it fills the gap while you're waiting for the delayed Combat Colin No.5 to be published in print... and indeed contains a nine page advance preview of that issue amongst its 32 pages! 

What else is in there? Well, there are a couple of other Combat Colin strips, plus Brickman, Pedantic Stan, the Comics Fan, and Derek the Troll! Stuff dating from the 1980s to more recent times.

It also serves as an introduction to my work for those of you in other countries who might not be familiar with it. 

You can download it in PDF format at this link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y5IH2SDBlpxbws_nqsndaLkZAgh1inzQ/view

It's free to download but in these times of very little work I'd appreciate a small voluntary donation of £2 by PayPal if you can afford it. PayPal address is:
lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the comic! Let me know what you think by posting a comment below...

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Preview: The latest DAFT DIMENSION

Here's a little clipping from part of my latest Daft Dimension strip that appears in the new issue of the official Doctor Who Magazine, out this Thursday. You'll have to buy the mag to see the full version, plus 84 pages of features, interviews, and the main Doctor Who strip! 

This particular Daft Dimension is based on a suggestion by John Freeman (who was editor of the mag 30 years ago) so thanks for that, John! 

Doctor Who Magazine No.551, on sale Thursday 30th April... or available by post (or digitally) from the magazine's website:
https://doctorwhomagazine.com

******************

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Captain Wally and Snail-Man (Marvel UK, 1985)

Back in 1985 sales of the British Spider-Man weekly were in need of a boost. The solution, Marvel UK decided, was to pitch it at a younger readership as sales of other comics were strong in that area.

The result was that with issue 634, dated 4th May 1985, the comic changed its title to The Spider-Man Comic, a 32 page weekly with half its pages in full colour, featuring reprints of Spider-Man stories from Spidey Super Stories, an early-learner comic that Marvel US had been publishing. Other reprints included Fraggle Rock and Willy the Wizard (which had been called Wally the Wizard in the USA, but Marvel UK changed it to 'Willy' avoid unexpected laughter. Erm... right.) Reprints of The Dukes of Hazard from TV Comic also started running a few weeks later.
The editor was Sheila Cranna, whom I'd worked for on my very first regular strip, Robo-Capers, for Transformers. Sheila asked me to come up with some ideas for the comic's revamp and I submitted two superhero-spoof characters, Captain Wally and Snail-Man. Happily Sheila liked both and I was commissioned to produce a full page Captain Wally every week along with a half page Snail-Man.
As you can see, both characters were set in a very English suburban environment. This formula had worked well for children's comics for years, usually with Dennis the Menace style strips, so I thought it'd make superheroes look even more ludicrous than they are by placing them in that setting. Adding to that, neither characters had any independence in their lives. Wally lived with his parents whilst Snail-Man lived with his brutally domineering Aunt Maim, thus further emasculating the concept of the strong super-hero.
Sheila Cranna was a pleasure to work for and I thoroughly enjoyed producing these strips every week. I was still fairly new to the business and certainly learning the ropes (some of the artwork here is a considerably rough and wonky) but I was very pleased to be working on a comic that I used to buy as a kid. (Even though it had changed considerably they retained the numbering so it was still the same comic that had launched as Spider-Man Comics Weekly in 1973.)

During its run Captain Wally introduced Macho-Man, who I'd later revamp a bit for his own series in Marvel UK's Secret Wars comic. Here's his first appearance from The Spider-Man Comic No.649...
For issue 650 I wanted to do something a bit different and, somehow, mention the comic's impressive long run. Sheila was happy to allow me two pages that week and I had Captain Wally and Snail-Man having a Marvel team-up...

Sadly, all things come to an end, some earlier than expected. With issue 651 the comic was tweaked again, becoming Spidey Comic. Jenny O'Connor became the editor and was instructed to make cuts in the budget, and Captain Wally and Snail-Man made their final appearances in issue 653. This was quite a blow at the time as it was my first experience of losing work. (Fortunately things soon picked up thanks to other Marvel UK strips and IPC's Oink!)

Although the strips only ran for 20 weeks they were very important to me as they were amongst my first regular professionally-published strips and helped me gain more confidence in my work. Sheila Cranna pretty much allowed me to do what I wanted with the pages, and as what Marvel UK were looking for were traditional UK kids strips with a daft edge I was more than happy to oblige.

Marvel still own the rights to these strips so, who knows, maybe Captain Wally and Snail-Man will turn up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe one day? Hey, if Howard the Duck could make a cameo, why not? I can but dream...

I'll be showing more strips from my 37 years in comics soon!

*****************************

Ivy the Terrible (Beano, 2014)

Being asked to draw a classic strip like Ivy the Terrible was a great privilege as it had originally been drawn by the late great Robert Nixon. I was asked not to deviate from his style too much, but that wasn't difficult as he'd been one of my many influences anyway. 

The thing about "ghosting" an art style is that it immediately becomes absorbed into your own style, so little quirks and techniques become evident. I don't know if my style is distinctive (you can't always tell if it is yourself) but I know there's little bits of various artists in there from Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, and Roy Wilson, to Jack Oliver, Tom Paterson, and Bob Nixon and more. 

These two Ivy the Terrible strips appeared in The Beano issues dated 4th October and 11th October 2014. Scripts by John Anderson (who's now the Beano editor) and art and colours by me. 

I've been working in comics now for 37 years and I'll delve into the archive and show some more old work soon!

******************************

Monday, 27 April 2020

Tom Thug in 1991

When I created Tom Thug for Oink! in the 1980s the intention was that it'd be a cathartic experience for anyone who was bullied to see the bully get his just desserts every week. That's how most episodes played out, with Tom's bad deeds backfiring on him by the final panel.

This episode, from Buster dated 28th September 1991, is a bit unusual in that Tom doesn't end up in the karma-type situation of losing due to his own misdeeds. As he doesn't actually do any bullying in this one, there was no need to have him fall foul of it. It was during this period that I'd decided to make Tom's overly-fussy mum a teacher at his school, to cause embarrassment to Tom and puncture his belief that he was a hard case. It added a new spin to the long-running strip although most weeks the traditional plot of his bullying backfiring on him was still used. 

Script and art by me, with lettering by Jack Potter. Jack was a brilliant letterer who'd been in the industry for years, but I didn't care for the tails of the balloons touching the edge of characters. That's usually a lettering no-no. Speech balloons only need to point to the characters, not look like they're physical balloons tethered to them! 

I hope you like this page from my archives. Click on the image to see it full size. I'll show something else from years ago soon. If you have any preferences, let me know by posting a comment below...

******************

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Adding a bit extra

The Vampire Brats was a strip created by Mark Rogers that I drew from his scripts, as a replacement for my Pete and his Pimple series in Buster. It began in 1989 but by the time of this example from 1990 it was written by Roy Davis, who was a veteran cartoonist/writer responsible for many strips in the old comics.  

Roy always supplied his "scripts" as roughed out comic strips, rather than typewritten manuscripts. In this instance he wanted the characters drawn in silhouette in most panels too indicate it was pitch black night. A nice visual idea that didn't take long to draw, but I felt a bit guilty that I wasn't earning my fee, and that the readers might feel short changed too.... so, I decided to create a little spontaneous extra at the foot of the page with Monsters on Parade! 

This page originally appeared in Buster dated 14th July 1990. By this period it was sub-titled "The All-Colour Comic" and although some pages did feature fully coloured strips, a lot of them (like this one) were limited to basic mechanical flat colours. Personally I thought it looked too garish and would have worked better just using red or blue, but perhaps the readers liked it, I dunno. 

Another page from the archives soon! If you have any requests, post a comment below.

++++++++++++++++++

My comics pals

Comic cons from 1980 to 2019.
Posting this photo compilation of comic conventions from over the years again because I'm finding that the many happy memories we shared are a comfort during this lockdown.

Working alone it's always a pleasant break to be invited to a comic con to hang out with friends in the business and meet the readers. If you're stuck for something to do, see if you can identify the faces in these photos! Most are comics creators from the UK, a few are from overseas. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Same goes for friends outside of comics too of course. Missing you all and looking forward to the days when we'll meet again! In the meantime, let's remember the laughs and smiles to keep us going! They were happy times!

********************

A Walk in the Woods

There are some woods near to where I live so for my short daily walk the other day I had a stroll through them. Just for a few moments it was a peaceful, timeless distraction from living in 2020, wandering in a place that could exist anywhere in time. I thought I'd share the photos I took to hopefully bring you some peace too.





I hope you also have somewhere peaceful to visit during this crisis. 

For those of you who'd rather read about comics... don't worry, I'll be back to blogging about those next time. 

**************************

Saturday, 25 April 2020

The year everything changed

It's become a tired cliché to say we're living in strange times but I suppose it's a more polite way of admitting how bad this year is. We're all experiencing the worst of times to varying degrees, and there's no end in sight. The human spirit isn't crushed very easily though and we'll hopefully find a way through it one day at a time, but it's going to take a long time! 

The world of publishing is starting to make changes. Both Infinity and Starburst magazines are on hiatus until June, and Panini UK have decided to skip several weeks and delay their regular Marvel and DC reprint comics until May. (Doctor Who Magazine is still on schedule though.)

Publishers are boasting that subscriptions are up... but in truth some are having delays getting the publications out, either due to being short staffed or hold ups in the postal service. Putting magazines on hold seems a better option in some cases, but kudos to some publishers for standing by their freelancers and continuing to give them work. (Thanks Panini UK!)

As I said in my previous posts, I've put Combat Colin on hiatus at the moment but hope to publish issue 5 later this year. In the meantime, Barmy Comix, a 32 page PDF, is a temporary alternative. (More info here if you missed it.)

I have a few orders of back issues of Combat Colin to send out, but with some post offices closed or only opening limited hours, and with the health risk of actually standing in line, it's not practical for me to continue promoting my print comics for now. So I'd ask you not to order any more comics from me for the time being. 

I'm sorry this is such a pessimistic post. I'll try to find something to lighten the mood next time I post hopefully. Take care everyone.

*****************



Thursday, 23 April 2020

a BARMY Bonus!

Thanks for downloading Barmy Comix! Here's a little extra for you. A Free Gift if you like. Click on the image to see it full size, save it to your desktop, print it out, and have fun! :D 

**************************


The77.... coming next month!


The current crisis is affecting every aspect of our lives, and although I know it's trivial compared to most things that are going on, the comics industry is no exception to it. With shops shut and some publishers putting their comics on hiatus it's a bad time for the comics in general. However, even though you won't be able to buy any new Marvel or DC comics for a while, there's a new independent comic heading our way next month. 

The77 is a title I've plugged here before (and you'll have also seen it mentioned in Barmy Comix this week) and the first issue will be out in May. I've created a new character, Sgt.Shouty of the Moon Force for it, and there's a ton of other creators in there too. Here's the list of contents...

Temporal Anarchy Dark myths set in 1977, brought to you by Philthy Luka, the original punk rocker – By Alan Holloway and Neil ‘Blackbird’ Sims

V In the future they’ll fight to become history – By Steve Bull and Ade Hughes

The Screaming Hand! Trapped in a web of para-anatomical terror – By Kek-W and Conor Boyle

Angel – By Baden James Mellonie and Steve Austin.

The Last Man Brexit in space with killer robots – By Phil Elliott and Michael Powell

The Prodigal Enslaved for three centuries by the Dark Fae, mankind awaits their liberator – Mal Earl

Key Runners Loyal secret agents, whose mission is to defeat organised crime and government corruption  – By Drew Marr

TechnoFreak Criminals, robots and Maurice the cat – By John Charles and Tom Newell

Lifeboat – a poster of Ian Gibson’s unpublished Masterpiece

Penny Pentagram London’s Grooviest Occult Detective – By David Thomas and Jonny Roydon

Division 77 ….Fighting a future war to save humanity, again – by Dave Heeley and Sinclair Elliott.

Tinkling Triangles As featured in The SheerGlam Conspiracy – by Steve MacManus and Brendon Wright

Have Blaster, Will Travel ‘When The Stranger hits town, it stays hit!’ – By Paul McCollum and Ed Doyle

SGT. SHOUTY of the Moon Force In space everyone can hear you shout! – By Lew Stringer

Tempered Curse  1312AD: the last days of the Knights Templar – By Dave Bedford and Morgan Gleave

Plus exclusive features on 
ROK! The God by John Wagner, Alan Grant and Dan Cornwell
ComicScene magazine 
Edge of Extinction by Baden James Mellonie and artwork by Ryan Brown. 

You can find out more at their website at this link:
https://the77comic.wordpress.com

...and on their Facebook page at this link:
https://www.facebook.com/The77Comic/

****************************






Wednesday, 22 April 2020

A Barmy thank you!

Very nice to see so many of you downloading Barmy Comix, and a special thank you to those of you who donated £2 or more for it. Thanks also to those of you who have shared the news about it on social media.
In case you missed my previous post, Barmy Comix is a 32 page digital comic in PDF format that contains some of may "best bits" from over the decades including a 9 page preview of the postponed Combat Colin No.5
It features Brickman, Derek the Troll, Pedantic Stan, the Comic Fan, and a couple of other bits and can be read on your desktop or device after you download it.


I always said I wouldn't do a digital comic as they're so prone to being pirated, but I thought it better to publish something, even in electronic format, than nothing at all. Combat Colin No.5 will be published in print at some point later this year when, hopefully, the pandemic is more under control. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Monday, 20 April 2020

NEW! Download your BARMY COMIX!

Comic shops shut? Comic cons cancelled? Postal services delayed? Need a comic to read? Fear not, because you can still read comics digitally, and Barmy Comix is ready for you to download as a PDF!

I'd intended to have Combat Colin No.5 out in print by now but due to the Coronavirus crisis I've put that on hold for a few months. Instead, I thought I'd create Barmy Comix No.1, a one-off 32 page compilation of a few of my creator-owned strips from over the years.

It features Combat Colin, Brickman, Derek the Troll, and Pedantic Stan, the Comics Fan... PLUS a 9 page preview of Combat Colin No.5! So at least you'll have a quarter of the postponed issue of Combat Colin plus a few "best bits" thrown in!

It's free to download but I'm not earning a great deal at the moment so if you want to donate £2 after you've read the comic, please PayPal me at:
lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com

Without further ado, here's the link to download Barmy Comix No.1. It might take a few minutes (compressing the files tended to downgrade them too much so I avoided that). If you have any problems with it let me know...

Click HERE to download Barmy Comix No.1


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Postman Prat returns in THE DANDY SUMMER SPECIAL

For the last few years The Dandy Summer Special has been all-reprint, collecting a fine selection of classic strips from the past 50 years or more. However, this year's edition will feature some all-new material alongside the classics!

I don't know how many new strips will be amongst its 68 pages but I've written/drawn two new Postman Prat stories (a two pager and a single pager). Both have a summer theme of course, as you can see from the example above.

Obviously these strips were created before the lockdown, but it's nice to think that the world of comics are set in an environment that is free from viruses and such worries. A perfect form of escapism in these strange times! 

With a cover by Steve Bright, The Dandy Summer Special 2020 will be published in mid-May and can be pre-ordered directly from the D.C. Thomson website at the following link:
https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/dandy-summer-special-2020

It can also be ordered as part of a package with The Beano Summer Activity Special, and with a puzzle magazine. See the relevant links here:
https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=summer+special

*************


Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Just My Cup of Tea!

Several weeks ago I was commissioned to draw the Bash Street Kids for an activity page called Just My Cup of Tea in the Beano. The printed version will be in today's issue but I thought you might like to see a photo of my original art (above). I always enjoy drawing these classic characters and was pleased with this little job. 

The original is A3 in width, if you were wondering, twice the size of the published piece. I nearly always work "twice up" because it's easier to put in detail, and it's the way all comics used to be drawn until around the 1970s or so.

Here's the printed version. The idea is it's a prank for readers to stick the cut-out snouts to the bottom of mugs so it looks like their friends / family have animal snouts. (A fun idea that the Beano office came up with.) Thanks to Peter Gray for the photo below as my issue hasn't arrived yet. 

Beano No.4031, out today! 

***************

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

New interview in JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE

As regular readers of the comic will know, every issue of Judge Dredd Magazine not only features all-new strips but also several features on the world of comics. In this month's issue, Karl Stock has interviewed several of us about our work on the new Cor!! Buster Easter Special

Interviewees include Keith Richardson, Cavan Scott, Lizzie Boyle, John Freeman, and myself, and it leads with the splash panel from the Buster and Delbert strip (written by John Freeman, drawn by me). 

The low-resolution spread shown above is just for illustration purposes but you can read the feature in Judge Dredd Magazine No.419, on sale this Wednesday (15th April). 

If you can't find it in a shop (now that WH Smiths and comic shops are closed) you can order it in print or digital from the publisher's website at this link from Wednesday:
https://shop.2000ad.com

More info on this issue, with a cover preview.... 

UK and DIGITAL: 15 April 2019 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: TBC
DIAMOND: FEB201943
COVER: CLIFF ROBINSON (A) DYLAN TEAGUE (C)

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: BAD SECTOR by Arthur Wyatt (w) PJ Holden (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DEVLIN WAUGH: A VERY LARGE SPLASH by Ales Kot (w) Mike Dowling (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BLUNT III by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)
ZOMBIE ARMY: LAST RITES by Chris Roberson (w) Andrea Mutti (a) Matt Soffe (c) Simon Bowland (l) 
LAWLESS: BOOM TOWN by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Jim Campbell (l)

Features: New Comics: Cor!! Buster Special, New Books: Masters of British Comic Art, Interview: Chris Wildgoose
Bagged reprint: Black Shuck Vol.2

*********************




Sunday, 12 April 2020

New interview online

Richard Brunton did an interview with John Freeman and me for the 2000AD website on the work we did on the new Cor!! Buster Easter Special. (John wrote the script for the Buster and Delbert strip I drew.) You can read the interview at this link:

***********************

Friday, 10 April 2020

Easter with Tom Thug (1989)

A little something for you this Easter, with a Tom Thug page I did for Buster way back in 1989. Script and art by me, lettering by Mike Peters.

Thirty-one years later, Tom Thug makes a cameo appearance in the new Cor!! Buster Easter Special, on sale now in print or digital at this link:
https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com/catalogue/RCS2052
I may post something else this weekend if I have time but if not I hope your Easter weekend goes as well as can be expected, and that you and your loved ones are safe and well.  

******************

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Video interview from LFCC2019

I'd forgotten all about this until it was uploaded yesterday. Last summer at the London Film and Comic Con, vlogger Philip Hawkins filmed some footage of the weekend and interviewed a few of us. You'll see artists Rachael Smith, Sophie Iles, former Doctor Who script editor Andrew Cartmel, and me in there, amongst others. You'll find it at this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COhBGdJaJDk


Artrist/writer Rachael Smith.

Philip Hawkins interviewing Andrew Cartmel.

Crowds! Social interaction! It seems like a parallel world now, and in many ways it was. Conventions and the company of my comics pals are some of the things I'm missing most about the lockdown but one day society will get back on its feet to forge ahead. Life will never be exactly as we knew it, but if the world can survive this pandemic we'll find new ways to move forward. Don't lose hope, friends! 

********************

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

OUT NOW! The COR!! BUSTER EASTER SPECIAL!

After months of preparation I feared this comic might not appear due to the current situation. I'm pleased to say that The Cor!! Buster Easter Special is out there in the wild (newsagents) a day earlier than scheduled! 52 pages of boredom-busting fun for all ages, reviving characters of yesteryear (including 6 pages drawn by me from scripts by John Freeman and Lizzie Boyle).  If you can't find it in a shop you can order it directly from the publisher (print or digital) at this link:
https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com/catalogue//RCS2052

I'm really proud to be part of this brilliant comic and having the opportunity to draw Buster and Gums and add cameos of long-forgotten characters such as Alfie the Air Tramp and Weary Willie and Tired Tim alongside more recognisable ones such as Fuss Pott and Mowser! Top class strips throughout, including new Sweeny Toddler and Grimly Feendish by Tom Paterson and an excellent Creature Teacher strip by Lee Langford and Brett Parson plus many more.

Last year's special sold well so I hope this one does too, despite WH Smith being closed now and people going out less. (Buy it by post if you can't find one!) The thing I like most about it is that editor Keith Richardson has made sure it has its own style, rather than imitate those other great comics The Beano or The Phoenix. It's good to see such a diverse range of art styles in there, along with "veterans" such as me and Tom Paterson. Such a lively mixture that I think will go down well with the readers.

Will there be future humour specials or a more regular title? That's up to you, folks! Support the Cor!! Buster Easter Special and that possibility becomes more likely. 

********************