Tuesday 30 July 2013

Watch out for Watch-Hog!

This week's Beano features a few new strips making their debut including the start of my new mini-strip Watch-Hog. This replaces the Rasher mini-strip but it still stars Dennis the Menace's pet pig and the humour is on the same lines. (Yes, turnips will make an appearance or two.)

Watch-Hog runs through the six weeks of the summer holiday gift issues. Check out the first one in The Beano, on sale Wednesday July 31st! 

Saturday 27 July 2013

Return of the Troll!

Some of you will recognize the character above as Derek the Troll, who starred in his own comic strip back in the 1980s, first in the pages of fantasy game mag Warlock and then in its sister publication White Dwarf. Now Derek is set to return for a special one-off full page strip later this year!

Written and drawn by me once again, the brand new Derek the Troll strip will appear in You Are the Hero, A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks by the author Jonathan Green. The book was funded via Kickstarter and such was the enthusiasm for Jonathan's project that it easily exceeded the target figure.

Derek the Troll started life in 1984 when I created the diminutive spotty troll for a contest in Warlock magazine. I don't think I won the contest but the editor was impressed enough by the strip to offer me a regular page in the magazine beginning in late 1985. (You can read the full account of Derek's short history on my old blog here:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/derek-troll.html )

I've been intending to revive Derek the Troll for years but the right opportunity never came along, so I was very pleased when Jonathan contacted me late last year about the possibility of a new strip featuring the troll for his book. The script has been approved and I'll get cracking on the artwork this week. Keep an eye on Jonathan's website http://www.youarethehero.co.uk for developments!   

Thursday 25 July 2013

Captain Thugwash!

Every now and then I'd experiment with the Tom Thug strip and do something a bit different to keep it fresh. By August 1994 I'd been writing/drawing the strip for over 8 years so I came up with a sequence about one of Tom's ancestors, Captain Thugwash the thick pirate. 

This is from an issue of the much-missed Buster comic and is photographed from my original artwork. If you're interested in owning this piece, it's currently on eBay until this Sunday (28th July) along with a couple of other pages of mine from Oink!

All bids welcome! 


Wednesday 24 July 2013

Rasher Refreshed!

With today being the 75th anniversary of The Beano, what better time to reveal the changes coming to the Rasher strip I've been drawing for the past several months. 

First off, Rasher as a mini-strip title is gone, for now at least. In its place this week (for the birthday issue) is a full pager called Celebrity Oinkless written by Iain McLaughlin and drawn by me. I think there may be more of these in the future hopefully.

Next week, a new mini-strip begins. Watch-Hog stars Rasher as a consumer protection pig. The concept was created in the Beano office but I'm writing and drawing the six-part series myself. If you enjoyed Rasher you should like this. Same sty-le of humour under a new title. 

Lots of changes at The Beano this week! Some quite drastic. I had my reservations but having read the comic now I think they work! Jamie Smart on Roger the Dodger! Alexander Matthews on Ball Boy! The demolition of Bash Street School! Nigel Auchterlounie on The Numskulls! It's a brand new era for Britain's longest-running comic. And great stand-up plastic figures of Beano characters in the free Turbo Battlerz pack too! Only £2.50. 

Also out today, No.1 of Dennis the Menace and Gnasher Mega-Zine! A new comic which replaces BeanoMax. Features a new 10 page Dennis story by Nigel Auchterlounie and Nigel Parkinson, and a 32 page pull out comic collecting the Nuke Noodle strips by Alexander Matthews that were serialized in The Dandy

It's Beano week! You can't escape it. More news and previews: http://www.beano.com

Today's the day!

Today sees the publication of the 75th anniversary issue of The Beano! Only one other UK comic has matched that record, - The Dandy, - and as that ended (as a paper publication) on its 75th it means that from now on The Beano is the longest running comic in Britain (if not the world).

For a change, rather than showcase my own work here I thought I'd show a few pages from one of the very first issues of The Beano that I had as a child. Here's the amazing cover by Dudley Watkins to The Beano No.1138, May 9th 1964...

This wasn't the first Beano I had but it had the most impact. That Biffo cover strip intrigued me and fired my imagination no end. Even though it was only a four panel strip I remember being totally engrossed in the weird premise. Just look at how aggressive and sinister that character is chasing Biffo. Why is he chasing him? What's he going to do to him when he catches him? And up the side of a factory chimney!?! The danger and the threat felt palpable to me as a five year old child. Then... the twist. It was all done with puppets! That shift from danger to relief was powerful too. Suddenly I wanted  little models of factories and houses to play out such a scene. (And thanks to Lego and Timpo model soldiers, I could.) Most importantly, it taught me how comics could be more than standard illustrated stories. They could trick the reader and mess with their heads! How could I not become a fan of comics after that?

I threw out my original copy of this comic when I was a kid but the memory of that strip haunted me for years until I bought the comic again a while back. In my memory, the chase scene went on for longer, from different angles, and the final panel was more detailed. I guess I'd enjoyed it so much my mind had expanded the story. Because it had such a lasting impression it's remained my favourite Beano cover since.

Like most kids, lots of the regular Beano characters appealed to me back then, but the standout strip for me was The Iron Fish. Here's an episode from the same issue of The Beano as the strip above. Artwork by Albert Holroyd...

What appealed to me most about The Iron Fish wasn't its two rather bland occupants but the fantastic design of the Fish itself. Simple, yet effective... and those 'eyes' really made it. The Iron Fish was just a submarine. It wasn't self-aware nor did it have intelligence... but it looked like it might. And that was its strange appeal. I remember making a Plasticine model of The Iron Fish back then, such was its impact.

In later adventures, Sandy Calder became the artist and did a fine job, but there was something about Albert Holroyd's style on these pages that was darker, more eerie, and much more appealing. 

So, there's a few pages from The Beano way back when. What's today's Beano like? Don't forget to visit a newsagent today and find out! 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Your daily Combat Colin: The Gunge! Part 4

It's the showdown between Combat Colin and The Gunge with the daftness level going up to 11! A Combat Classic from the pages of The Transformers No.241, dated October 28th 1989. 

Want to see more old Combat Colin strips? Let me know!

To catch up with previous episodes:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Monday 22 July 2013

Your daily Combat Colin: The Gunge! Part 3

Here's the third episode of Combat Colin vs The Gunge, from the pages of The Transformers No.240, October 21st 1989. It's the chapter where Colin loses his hair, - forever! I hope you're enjoying these Combat classics. All comments welcome!

If you missed Part 1 it's here:

and Part 2 is here:

The final part is tomorrow!

Sunday 21 July 2013

Your daily Combat Colin: The Gunge! Part 2

The second part of the 4 part serial pitting Combat Colin against The Gunge! From The Transformers No.239, October 14th 1989. 

This story is set in Skegpool, the fictional seaside town I created for the Combat Colin strip but which I also used later in other comics. It appeared regularly in Team Toxic in Toxic magazine for example, and I believe I used it in Viz once too, just so that long-term readers of my work know that most of my strips take place in a shared Lewniverse. (Except for the ones in Beanotown of course.) 

If you missed Part 1, click here.

Part three tomorrow!

Saturday 20 July 2013

Your daily Combat Colin: The Gunge! Part 1

You saw a couple of the very early Combat Colin gag strips yesterday, now let's move forward a couple of years to 1989 where the strip had developed into the kind of comedy-action serial that I always wanted to do... and the humour had become even dafter. 

Here's a four part story from The Transformers comic that I'll be running over this and the following three days. Part 1 is from Transformers No.238, dated October 7th 1989.

I wish there was a comic or magazine around that would accommodate me to do this kind of stuff today. Not that I don't enjoy the work I do of course. All comic creation is fun, but I believe today's kids, with their enthusiasm for cartoon action computer games and plot development in soaps, would really take to comedy-action strips.

Click on the image to enlarge it for legibility. Part 2 tomorrow!

Friday 19 July 2013

Combat Colin's first summer

Reflecting the current heatwave (and some wish it could be reflected, but let's make the most of it) I thought I'd dig into the archives for a couple of summer-themed Combat Colin strips I did for Action Force comic. Both are very early strips from the series, before it developed into the action-comedy serials of later. The above one is actually the second Combat Colin strip published, from Action Force No.6. 

The one below is from Action Force No.20. Both are from 1987. Notice the fairground stall owner in the one above and the guy watching from the prom on the one below? It's Loose Brayne, otherwise known as Brickman! When Brickman stomped off into the sunset at the end of the 1986 Brickman one-shot comic I decided to have Loose Brayne show up unannounced and un-named in some of my other strips. I know one reader (Jenni Cole) spotted who it was as she sent me clippings at the time. I wonder if anyone else noticed?

By the way, thanks to Esteban Prieto for sending me a ton of Combat Colin scans the other day, which will certainly save me a lot of time. Especially when I eventually get around to putting together a Combat Colin Collection

Wednesday 17 July 2013

NOW what's Dennis done?

He's only gone and played a prank on his mum! Here's a preview from the latest issue of The Beano, on sale now. I drew this 'Toilet Wars' prank page back in March so it's good to see it turn up in the last Beano before the big 75th anniversary bash! 

And there'll be more info about that birthday issue next week!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

The end of Rasher, but...

Here's a peek at a panel from Rasher in tomorrow's issue of The Beano

It's the final Rasher mini-strip.

I'm currently drawing a regular mini-strip with Rasher as the star.

What?!? How can both of those statements be true? And yet, they are! More info soon!  

Sunday 7 July 2013

Good Show!

 I had a great time at the London Film and Comic Con yesterday at Earl's Court 2. Spent most of the day sketching and chatting to readers (good to put faces to names I'd only known on Facebook), and reacquainting with old pals, some of whom I hadn't seen for several years. Good to meet up with my Beano pal Nigel Parkinson, David Leach, Debbie Tate, Robbie Morrison, David Lloyd, Yel Zamor, Simon Williams, Roger Langridge, Rian Hughes and more. 

Thanks to Mike Conroy and his daughter Cassandra for the invite and to the friendly LFCC Crew. Also thanks to Huw J for hosting the humour comics panel. 

LFCC was the first big comics event I've attended for a few years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Really nice to meet readers who had grown up on Tom Thug, Combat Colin and Sonic the Comic! Hope to do more in the future. 

I was hoping to feature more photos from the event but I don't think I had the right settings on my new camera so the pics didn't turn out too well. Here's a few shots anyway of the crowds who were there. Busy day, as you can see! And the show continues today. Enjoy yourselves!

UPDATE 11/7/2013: It was great to meet up with Deborah Tate and Robbie Morrison again after many years. Deb was my editor on Sonic the Comic back in the Nineties and we used to have a good laugh discussing the scripts as well as putting the world to rights. Here we are last Saturday at the event...

Thursday 4 July 2013


All being well I'll be at the London Film and Comic Con this Saturday (July 6th). The event actually runs all weekend but I'll be only there one day, probably rubbing shoulders with Eve Myles and Katy Manning. Or more likely I'll be at the Aces Weekly table doing a few sketches. Apparently I'm on a humour comic panel at 11.30am with the mighty David Leach and the incredible Roger Langridge. Drop by for a chat!


Wednesday 3 July 2013

Pig Preview

Nothing by me in this week's Beano as I was having time off when it was paginated (but there's still lots of good stuff in it of course). Here's a preview of my Rasher strip from next week's issue, on sale 10th July.

The week after that sees the 33rd Rasher mini-strip, then the following week it'll be the big 75th Birthday Beano! What's in that? I'm not even sure myself. I know what one page will be, 'cos I drew it. But the rest of the spectacular anniversary package? I'll find out when you do. 

And the issue of The Beano following the anniversary? I'm drawing something for that right now. Stay tuned!