Tuesday 31 December 2019

Happy New Year... from 30 years ago!

Happy New Year for 2020! Here's a couple of pages I did for the New Year edition of Buster thirty years ago! These strips appeared way back in 1989 but I still remember drawing them. 
I've always enjoyed doing Christmas and New Year issues as it's often an opportunity to decorate the pages with holly, snow, bells and other things associated with the occasion. In the page at the top of this post I created a new logo for the Tom Thug strip, with deliberate bad spelling of course as it's supposed to be the Brainless Bully's own graffiti. Script and art by me, lettering by Mike Peters.

The Vampire Brats strip that issue had a bit more decoration around the top of the page, and a "Snappy" New Year pun. Script, art, and lettering by me. Mark Rogers was the original writer of The Vampire Brats and I was the artist, but when he fell ill he asked me to take over the scripts as well for a few months. (Later, Roy Davis became the scriptwriter as Mark had sadly passed away.) 
Thirty years on and I'm drawing three pages over the next couple of weeks for the Cor!! Buster Easter Special featuring Buster and Delbert... but you can be sure that Tom Thug and the Vampire Brats will make cameo appearances! 

Wishing you all the best for 2020 and thank you for your interest in my work. Although my Blimey! blog has ended now I'll be showing more of my pages from the archive soon on this blog, as well as peeks at upcoming strips of course! 


Saturday 28 December 2019

Reflecting on 2019

Pals and places from 2019. Click to see larger picture.
I must admit, 2019 hasn't been a great year financially. One of my worst, in fact. The year started badly when Toxic went reprint with no warning and Epic was cancelled, suddenly leaving me with just one mini-strip a month. (Bless Doctor Who Magazine for continuing to run my Daft Dimension strip.) Bits of other work came along but I've mainly been living off my savings this year. When I was younger that wasn't a position I expected to be in for my 60th year especially now friends my own age have retired on a healthy pension pot. 

But... the comics business is a roller coaster, and as some have said to me, if I wanted a proper salary I should have got a "proper job". (Not that I'm qualified to do anything else.) I've been in this business full time since 1984 and I've always known the score, so I'm not looking for sympathy. There are friends who have had worse years than me and I hope their times improve soon. 

I've never been one to blame others for any of my failings in business or in my personal life. In the comics industry you have to adapt to survive. There's no "conspiracy" to stop you working, and no one is plotting to prevent you getting invites to cons as some claim. If you're a long-established professional and things aren't going well it's either because there simply isn't the amount of work to share out that there used to be, or you're not hitting the right notes for new editors to see the potential in your work. There's not much you can do about the former, but you can focus on improving the latter. I'm starting with ending my Blimey! blog to give me more time to focus on my career. (This blog will continue though!) 

I was grateful for the new material that I was commissioned for this year. Working on the Cor!! Buster Humour Special for Rebellion was a complete joy, and I'm drawing another three pager for next year's Easter Special, again written by John Freeman. 

I usually write my own material as you know and it was great to do a new Felix and his Amazing Underpants page for Viz last Spring and I hope to produce more in 2020. (Although these days there are a lot more contributors to the comic than there used to be so the material has to be top notch.)

I've recently completed eight Postman Prat pages, eight Keyhole Kate mini-strips, and two activity pages for The Dandy Annual 2021 that will be in the shops in August 2020, along with four Lord Snooty mini-strips for The Beano Annual 2021

I enjoyed doing some one-offs too, such as the Maurice the Cat page for TechnoFreak No.2, a page for the Dwayne Hickenbottom collection,  the Liver Birds strip written by Tim Quinn for his new comic (more on that soon), and a couple of strips for companies outside of comics. 

Combat Colin winning the Comic Scene Award for Best Independent / Small Press Comic was a highlight. I never expected it to be nominated, let alone win, so that made my Christmas. Thanks again to all of you who voted for it. Yes, the awards logo will be proudly displayed on the cover of the next issue, which I hope to publish before the Spring.

A big thank you to all the comic con organisers for inviting me to their events, and to everyone who stopped by my table. These shows give me a real boost and it's a pleasure to visit various places to meet the readers and hang out with my comics pals.

Thanks to those of you who bought original artwork from me. I'll be putting more up for sale next year.

Most of all though, a huge thank you to all my friends in the industry and in my "civilian" life for being great mates. A big shout out to my local friends for organising a surprise 60th birthday party back in March. As I have no family I value the company of friends and the laughs we have. 

As for 2020.... it's starting well with a very busy January coming up! Drawing the new Buster and Delbert strip for the Cor!! Buster Easter Special, continuing with Doctor Who Magazine, and hopefully a project for a company outside of comics. Pup Parade will be ending in February but there'll be something new from me in the Beano at the start of March! I'll reveal what it is around that time. I hope the rest of the year will continue to be busy. If not... well, that doesn't bear thinking about yet. This is definitely going to be a sink or swim situation for 2020. 

May I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year and thank you for following this blog and your interest in my work. Onwards and upwards for us all, hopefully! 


Thursday 26 December 2019

Coming soon

Here's a little advance preview of my next Pup Parade strip, which returns to the Beano after its Christmas break. This time the spotlight is on Bones, the leader of the pack. When I ask kids at conventions who their favourite Pup is they almost always respond that it's Bones. (Some of the girls prefer Peeps.)

See the full Pup Parade strip in Beano No.4016, on sale a day early, on Tuesday 31st December! 

Monday 23 December 2019

Merry Christmas!

I was going to show an old Christmas strip of mine but my back issues are under boxes of other comics and stuff at the moment and I haven't time to mess about so... here's a photo of me and my grandad Bill Bakewell from Christmas Day 40 years ago. We didn't know it then but 1979 was sadly to be his last Christmas so I'm glad we had this photo taken. He was the best grandad I could have wished for and I was very proud of him. 

I don't make a big fuss of Christmas but whatever you're doing this year I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for following this blog! My other blog (Blimey!) will end on December 31st but this one will continue so I hope you'll stick around. 

Christmas flashback

Flashback to October 2008 when I was drawing the Team Toxic story for that year's Christmas edition of Toxic

As you can see, back then, 11 years ago, I was inking with a dip-nib and pot of ink. I've used various methods for inking over the years, from Rapidographs throughout the Tom Thug /Combat Colin days of the '80s and '90s, to dip-nibs at the start of this Century, and these days I use brush pens and fibre-tip pens. (I never got the hang of using a brush. That requires a very steady hand and doesn't suit everyone's style.)

If memory serves me right, the reason I stopped inking with a dip-nib was because I could no longer get the smooth quality Bristol board I was using and the new texture made the nibs stick a bit (and splatter the ink). Also, waiting for the ink to dry was time consuming. These days I use Canson Bristol board pads.

I used to enjoy writing/drawing Team Toxic for 16 years but sadly it went reprint a year ago thanks to Egmont suddenly cutting the magazine's budget. They don't pay creators a penny for reprints so I no longer buy the mag. Bitter? No, that's the way that company operates unfortunately and I learned to expect it. That's comics!


Thursday 19 December 2019

A guest page in a great collection

It was my pleasure recently to be commissioned to draw a page for my good pal Grant Perkins' comic book Dwayne Hickenbottom

The book collects all four issues of Grant's Dwayne Hickenbottom comic into one tidy full colour A5 sized comedy adventure. I've drawn a "pin up" bonus page featuring Dwayne and his hated sidekick Nigel. That's a fraction of it shown above, but to see the full page, and read Grant's fantastic comic, order your copy from his Etsy page at this link:

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Happy Christmas!

Wishing all readers a pleasant and peaceful Christmas and a New Year that brings good health and prosperity.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Put Tom Thug at the top of your tree!

It's that time of the year again and if you're looking for a fairy to put at the top of your tree there's none better than Tom Thug! Look how happy he looks to be wearing that dress! 

I did this activity page for Oink! comic back in 1987 and a lot of readers cut it out and made it. One of them being Phil Boyce, who now runs a blog dedicated to Oink! and other comics. That's a recent photo he took below, with Tom still at the top of his tree over 30 years later! 
Photo by Phil Boyce.

Follow Phil's blog here:

Christmas 1987

Over on my Blimey! blog I've presented a collection of Christmas comic covers from the years 1898 to 1998. Quite an array, and I've included one for which I drew part of the cover. It was the Christmas issue of Action Force in 1987 and editor Richard Starkings thought it'd be nice to do a split cover featuring the main feature by Jeff Anderson and Combat Colin by me. That's it above, as I'm sure you've noticed.

You can see a compendium of festive covers by others at my Blimey! blog at this link:

Friday 13 December 2019

It's starting to look a lot like a Daft Christmas!

The Christmas issue of Doctor Who Magazine is in the shops now and amongst its many features you'll find a festive Daft Dimension strip from me. I always enjoy drawing the Christmas strips for any publication but this is the only one I've done this year. Here's a little snippet of it above, and below you can see  the original art. (After scanning it into Photoshop I then fill in the solid blacks and add colour.)
Doctor Who Magazine No.546 is out now in WH Smiths, Sainsbury, Asda, selected newsagents and comic shops. 

Thursday 12 December 2019

COMBAT COLIN wins Best Independent / Small Press Comic Award

I'm very happy to reveal that Combat Colin has won the award for Best Independent / Small Press Comic in the 2019 Comic Scene Awards. Thank you to everyone who voted! There was some strong competition with some great comics out there.

Comic Scene No.11, where all the winners are announced, is available today in digital form, or in print next Thursday. 

Combat Colin comics are available exclusively by post from my website:

Thanks again to everyone who voted!

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Busy time

Postman Prat ©D.C. Thomson 
After what hasn't been a great year I'm very busy at the moment. Currently finishing off a strip featuring this character (above) that you may remember. Will also be embarking on a brand new strip very soon too, but you'll hear more about that in February.

And I should have some news to share tomorrow too! 


Monday 9 December 2019

Pete's Pimple could be yours! (Update: SOLD!)

This is my ORIGINAL ART for the Pete and his Pimple strip that was published in an issue of OINK! comic in 1987. The artwork is drawn in black ink embellished with a grey wash and grey pencil. Drawn on Bristol board and then affixed to a sheet of cartridge paper underneath with Spray Mount, although the art can be easily removed from the backing sheet if required. (Personally I'd keep it fixed to the backing sheet as it's survived perfectly well for over 30 years like that.) 

I signed it in the last panel. See photos for more detail. 

Size 37cm wide by 32cm high. 

The art will be securely packaged between strong card for posting and wrapped in parcel paper. 
This item will only run until December 15th to try to avoid Christmas post delays so buy soon if you want it. Thanks. Update 10th Dec: SOLD!

See listing here:


Wednesday 4 December 2019

Annual bargain

This year's Dandy and Beano Annuals are only £4.00 each, or two for £7.00, in Asda at the moment! Grab 'em now for Christmas!

I have three pages of Keyhole Kate in The Dandy Annual 2020, and I've contributed a lot more pages for next year's book. More news on that in the months to come. 

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Thanks again, Phil!

It's heartwarming when a reviewer really "gets" your work and understands where you're coming from and your style of humour. My thanks to Phil Boyce for this great review of Combat Colin No.4 on The Oink! Blog:

Monday 2 December 2019


I don't usually sell my original Combat Colin art but I've put two of the very early ones up on eBay so this is your chance to grab yourselves a rarity for Christmas. One features the very first appearance of Semi-Automatic Steve! Both are from 1987 and appeared in Marvel UK's Action Force weekly. The auction runs until next Monday, 9th Dec. All bids appreciated! https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/graphite47/m.html

UPDATE: Both sold within an hour with the Buy It Now option.


Saturday 30 November 2019

It's a plan!

Something different I did recently. A strip I was commissioned to do for The Planner, a magazine published by the Royal Town Planning Institute for those involved in Town and Country planning. Not available in shops so I thought I'd post some images here to show you. The brief was to show a "Play Street", which is a scheme where busy streets are cordoned off for a few hours for kids to safely play in.


Thursday 28 November 2019

OINK! in Germany!

Thanks to Brendan Quinn on Peter Gray's UK Comics group for finding this curiosity. I'd heard way back when that there was a German language edition of OINK! comic in the late 1980s but had never seen one. My 'Tom Thug' and 'Pete and his Pimple' strips (amongst strips by others) translated into German! Naturally, IPC never paid us for these foreign editions... 


Sunday 24 November 2019

Pathetic Sharks VIZ art for sale!

I'm selling a piece of my original artwork on eBay this week. It's a large 460mm square illustration of The Pathetic Sharks that I did for the 1992 Viz Calendar. Drawn on Bristol board with black ink, water colours, and Carab D'Ache colour pencils. 

The auction has just started and runs until Sunday 1st December. Good luck if you're bidding! More info and photos at this link:

Saturday 23 November 2019

It's Doctor Who Day!

November 23rd is apparently Doctor Who Day as the series began on this date in 1963. I'm not sure if I watched the first few episodes but I was definitely there to see the first appearance of the Daleks in December of that year. 

The photo above is an old one, from the Brighton Comic Con in 2005, but I thought I'd dust it off for the occasion. This was the first time I'd seen a Dalek actually moving around and speaking at a convention (thanks to remotes and someone peddling like mad inside) but these days it's commonplace and the Daleks can be controlled without any occupant. (See photo below, which I took at Nor-Con 8 weeks ago.)
I sent off my Christmas episode of The Daft Dimension to Doctor Who Magazine the other day, and you can see it in print in issue 456, on sale in a few weeks! 

Friday 22 November 2019

'Enry in the spotlight

Here's a sneak peek at a little bit of my Pup Parade strip for next week's Beano. This time it's about 'Enry, the bespectacled one of the Bash Street Dogs.

See the full comic strip in Beano No.4013, on sale Wednesday 27th November. 

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Tom Thug - in colour for the first time (1986)

It seems hard to believe now but there was a time when most pages in British comics were printed in black and white. Colour printing was an expensive luxury, usually restricted to the covers and (if you were lucky) a few interior pages. Things started to change significantly in the 1980s, presumably as colour printing became more economical to use. Even then, although my first mainstream work appeared in 1983 it would be three years before I did a full colour strip for a comic.

Here's my first published full colour page. A Tom Thug strip that appeared on the back cover of Oink! No.8 (cover dated 9th to 22nd August 1986). It was a bit of an honour to be given the back page of a comic so I was very pleased with that. 

I'd done a bit of colour work before when I was working as Mike Higgs' assistant on his Learn with Moonbird books in 1983/84 but they were single illustrations for children's books. This was the first time I'd been let loose on a comic strip in colour. 

After inking the linework with a Rapidograph I coloured it with Dr.Martins watercolour inks and Faber-Castel pencils. Looking at it now, the colouring is quite crude in places but it suited the rawness that Oink! was about. I'd improve as time went on, but I wish Photoshop had been around back then because I prefer colouring digitally far more than with a brush. (And I think my digital colouring is far better than my hand colouring ever was.) 

I did all my own lettering too. Each balloon had to be done on patch paper (sticky back paper), cut out to the required shape, and stuck onto a clear acetate overlay. 

Anyway, so there you have it. My first full colour comic strip. Yep, the story has some crude elements too, but again that was part of the remit for Oink! Incidentally, Tom's last line was changed by the editor. My original version had him saying "bog" instead of "sink". Yes, even Oink! had its limits. 

Monday 18 November 2019

Bash Street in the Beano

I had the opportunity to draw The Bash Street Kids recently for a joke page and you can see it in this week's Beano No.4012, on sale Wednesday 20th November.

I also put some of the Kids in this week's Pup Parade too for the same issue...

It's always a pleasure to draw such iconic characters that I enjoyed so much when I was a child. 

Beano No.4012, price £2.75, will be available from WH Smith, supermarkets, and all good newsagents or you can subscribe at this link and save money!

Friday 15 November 2019

Meet The Liver Birds!

Here's something new I'm working on. Meet Askey and Dodd, The Liver Birds! It's a brand new full page strip, created and written by Tim Quinn and drawn by me for a new comic magazine that's coming soon! The magazine was announced at Liverpool Town Hall the other week, with Tim Quinn giving a presentation of some of the contents. Thanks to Alan Cowsill for the photo above.

Here's how Tim announced the strip on his Facebook page:

"THE LIVER BIRD has been a symbol of Liverpool for over 800 years but little has been known about the private life of this extraordinary creature ….. until now!

Askey & Dodd, the two beloved Liver Birds who stand proud with watchful eyes high above our beloved city, will feature in each issue of the brand new LIVERPOOL HEARTBEAT MAGAZINE hatching in January 2020. The work of comic book legend Lew Stringer (Bash Street Pups, Brickman, Keyhole Kate, Combat Colin, Doctor Who’s Daft Dimension, etc), the Liver Birds strip will be a bird’s eye view of Merseyside’s most famous characters.

The magazine will also feature the imaginative work of school children of all ages from across the region alongside pages created by some of the greats from the comic book world. Editor Tim Quinn says, “I’ve met so many talented young people in Merseyside that it is great to be able to create a brand new magazine to showcase their ideas.” Keep an eye on the Liverpool Heartbeat sites for launch date! http://www.liverpoolheartbeat.com/ "

More news soon!

Thursday 14 November 2019

Behold my Six Pack!

Now you can order all six of my comics in one parcel and save money! That's Combat Colin issues 1 to 4, Derek the Troll, and Pedantic Stan. Six comics, 200 pages in total! 

Combat Colin reprints the strips that appeared in Action Force and Transformers in the late 1980s'early 1990s. Most pages have been scanned from my original art. 

Derek the Troll reprints the strips that appeared in Warlock and White Dwarf magazines in the late 1980s. PLUS the second half of the comic reprints the complete Rock Solid, Space Hero series that appeared in Swiftsure comic in the mid-1980s. 

Pedantic Stan, the Comic Fan reprints the 1990s strip that appeared in Speakeasy fanzine. It was created by John Freeman and myself.

Six comics in one parcel. Shop early for Christmas! Here's the link if you're interested:

Please note: The prices on my website are for UK customers only. If you live outside the UK, contact me at lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com for postage rates. 

Tuesday 12 November 2019

In this week's BEANO...

Characters Copyright ©D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.
Here's a sneak preview of my next Pup Parade strip. This week, Manfrid is in the spotlight! See the full story in Beano No.4011, on sale Wednesday 13th November, £2.75. 

Monday 11 November 2019

Coming in the next DAFT DIMENSION...

It's Daleks like you've never seen them before, - playing football! Here's a preview of my next Daft Dimension comic strip, and you can see the full version in the official Doctor Who Magazine No.545, on sale this Thursday (14th November). 

Sunday 10 November 2019

Lest we forget

Quick finger painting done digitally on my iPad with the Procreate app. 

Saturday 9 November 2019

Pencil rough for something new

Here's a glimpse of something I'm drawing this weekend. This is just the rough pencil stage, and it's only part of a panel. I won't be able to reveal what it is, or show you any finished art for a while, but it's a one-off for a non-comics company. It's always good when a magazine that doesn't usually run comics uses the strip format to illustrate its articles.

I'll tell you more about it when it's published (next month I think). 

Monday 4 November 2019

Christmas merchandise!

I've added a bunch of brand new merchandise to my Redbubble store, designed as potential Christmas presents. Socks! Coasters! Stickers! - and more! 
Take a look by clicking this link:

All items are manufactured to order by Redbubble and they ship them to buyers. I then receive a percentage, when sales reach a certain amount. So if you're interested, please support my shop. Thank you. 

Combat Colin Socks! How can you resist?