Friday, 24 September 2021

Ally Sloper lives!

Ally Sloper lives! My thanks to renowned comics historian Alan Clark for sending me his latest two books, and they're wonderful! Ally Sloper: His Life and Times is the definitive history of the first ongoing British comics hero, covering the publications, the artists, the stageplay, and the merchandise of the character who became hugely popular in Victorian and Edwardian times. The multi-media star of his day! 

The other book, Sugar Plums and Tootletum: The Work of C.H. Ross is the biography of the creator of Ally Sloper and reveals the many other works that he wrote and created. Both books are well illustrated throughout with scans of very rare covers and other items.

Alan Clark always reseraches his subjects thoroughly and these are essential purchases for fans of the history of comics. The print run will be small so hurry for your copies, avalable as a pair from Alan's eBay page at this link... https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/224613543634

I had a go at drawing Ally Sloper myself a few years ago, just for fun. Here's the result...

 

 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

New interview on YouTube

Screen grab ©Leonard Sultana.
 

I did three video interviews last Saturday at the Meanwhile in Coventry festival. Here's one of them on Leonard Sultana's YouTube channel. After 18 months of barely seeing anyone my voice was wearing a bit thin after talking all day but I hope it comes across ok....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5ycQyt7RLs

Thanks to Leonard for the interview. Don't forget to like and subscribe to his channel to see more interviews he posts with other comics people in the future!

Sunday, 19 September 2021

MEANWHILE... a highlight of the year

Coventry Cathedral yesterday.

After two years without comics conventions (due to the pandemic, if you're reading this in the far future) it was a pleasure to attend the Meanwhile... In Coventry festival yesterday as one of the guests. I'm still cautious about traveling any distance by train now that many people have abandoned masks or respect for personal space (in other words, abandoned common sense) but as Coventry was only half an hour away on my local bus route I thought I'd go for it.

I arrived at the venue around 9am, which was a spacious tent erected in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral. (In case you didn't know, the old Cathedral was bombed in WW2 and they've kept the remaining ruins as a tourist spot and for quiet contemplation.) I've wandered through those grounds many times during my life but never expected to attend a comics convention there! As it turned out, it proved to be an ideal venue, - in good weather at least. Thankfully yesterday was mostly a day of glorious sunshine and the well ventilated tent provided lots of light and fresh air. 

My table was situated alongside my good friends Marc Jackson and Rachael Smith. Across he way were more friends, Laura Howell and Sonia Leong, and elsewhere familar faces such as Nick Brokenshire, John Higgins, Al Ewing, Ian Churchill, Kev F Sutherland, Tony Lee, Colin Mathieson and many more. Over the road in the Herbert Art Gallery were Shane Chebsey, Sam Morgan, and Chris Ball doing their live stream interviews for the ICE podcast. Leonard Sultana was also there filming interviews for his podcast and it was great to see Jeff Chahal of the NICE comic con drop in for a visit. Yes, comic conventions had returned and the positive vibe throughout the day was tangible. 

Artist Sonia Leong.
 
Minnie the Minx artist Laura Howell

Attendance from visitors was steady but not packed, but that's often the case at new events, and no doubt the pandemic played a part too. I think we all appreciated it being comfortable rather than rammed under the circumstances. There were lots of visitors throughout the day though, with many enjoying the sun in the outdoor activities and strolling over to the Herbert gallery where more exhibitors were situated. 

 

My thanks to Simon Mayers and his team for putting on such a well organised event that provided a genuine boost for us all after two years without shows. I hope it proved a success and, I hope, showed what Coventry has to offer in this year being its turn as City of Culture. 

Artist Rachael Smith with her partner Rob.
Cartoonist Marc Jackson, also the organiser of Macc-Pow!

This is most likely to be the only comics event I'll attend this year. As situations are so uncertain these days I don't know when my next one will be but I'll always appreciate the lift that Meanwhile... In Coventry gave me. Definitely one of the few highlights of the past two years.

With fellow creators Rachael Smith and Marc Jackson

Links:

Meanwhile festival Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/meanwhilefestival

Sonia Leong's website:

http://www.fyredrake.net/  

Laura Howell's website:

https://www.laurahowell.co.uk/ 

Rachael Smith's website:

https://www.rachaelsmith.org/ 

Marc Jackson's Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/marcmakescomics/

Shane Chebsey's ICE Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ICECOMICON 

Leonard Sultana's Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/anenglishmaninsandiego 

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Wednesday, 15 September 2021

MEANWHILE... on Saturday...

It's going to feel very strange setting off for a comic convention again after two years but I'll be in Coventry on Saturday for the Meanwhile comics festival! Feeling a bit anxious about it but at the same time excited to see my comics pals again.

Here's the floor plan of where you'll find me, in the grounds of the old Coventry Cathedral at table No.8. (Saturday only. I won't be there on Sunday but other guests will.) There's been a slight change since the floor plan was designed and you'll find Rachael Smith on the table next to mine now. 

I'll be bringing along some of the remaining stock of my comics (Derek the Troll, Combat Colin 2 and 3) and a few issues of The77. I'll also be available all day for A4 size sketches on request.

Admission is FREE *but* you'll need to download a ticket first from their website. A safety policy will be in place so you'll be asked to wear a mask when inside the venues and respect social distancing. It's going to feel different to the pre-pandemic days but we'll still have fun! See you there!

https://www.meanwhilefestival.com/

Click to enlarge map.



Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Your next Daft Preview!

This Thursday sees another issue of Doctor Who Magazine hit the stands and amongst its packed content you'll find another Daft Dimension mini-strip by me. There's a little preview above featuring the Master! What's his Master-plan? Find out in Doctor Who Magazine No.569, available from WH Smith and comic stores from Thursday 16th September!


Monday, 13 September 2021

Cheap Comics!

It's time to downsize my collection!

 
The parcel will include 15 (yes, fifteen) randomly selected American comics from recent years. Various titles such as (but not necessarily including) Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man, Dark Horse Presents, Doctor Who, Action Comics, and more...for only £10 including postage!

Condition is Like New, carefully read once and stored away. The 15 comics will be securely packaged in protective card and posted 2nd Class.

Photo in listing is for illustration purposes only and not necessarily of any of the comics you'll receive. You will however receive a random selection of U.S. comics. No reprints. No UK editions. No duplicates of the same issue. (You may receive 2 or 3 issues of the same series but not the same issue number.)

Please don't ask for specific comics. This listing is for randomly chosen comics from my collection. The ones you'll receive will mainly be Marvel and DC comics but there may also be a couple of titles by Image, Dark Horse, and other publishers in the selection. 

Yes, I'm selling them at far less than I paid for them but I'll never get around to reading them again so it's time for them to go. These Mystery Parcels are a cheap and ideal package of comics for new readers, older readers who haven't read comics for a while, or collectors who want to add to their collections. 

Here's the link! 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203554298786

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My only comics event this year!

I hope to see you at the MEANWHILE IN COVENTRY comics festival this coming Saturday! It's on all weekend but I'll only be there on Saturday 18th September. (This is likely to be the ONLY comics event I'll be at this year!) I'll be doing sketches on request and bringing some of my comics along.


You'll find me at my table in the artists area of the old cathedral, right in the centre of Coventry. IMPORTANT: You'll need tickets to gain access to the event though, but the good news is tickets are FREE! Go to the website linked below to download your tickets! See you there?

https://www.meanwhilefestival.com/ 

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Saturday, 11 September 2021

MONSTER FUN Returns... on October 6th!

As you'll have seen from the advert (above) that appears in the latest issue of 2000AD, the publication date for the new Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular is now October 6th, a couple of weeks later than originally announced. Nevertheless, it's coming! 

The 52 page special will feature new stories with classic characters, - and I haven't seen it myself yet so I'm not entirely sure what's in it. (I do know that Simon Furman has written a new Leopoard of Lime Street story though, and that Keith Richardson and Tom Paterson are bringing us a new character, Gah! Tom is also doing a new Sweeny Toddler story!)

My contribution is a collaboration with the writer Kek-W as we revive Wiz War, a strip that originally appeared in Pow! back in 1968 (and soon moved to Smash! when the comics merged). Originally drawn by Mike Brown, I've tried to capture the essence of his style with my new version. For added authenticity I scanned and digitally remastered the 1960s Wiz War logo because it was so good! 

Drawing another classic Power Comics strip is a dream come true. I previously drew Bad Penny as part of the gang in the recent Cor!! Buster specials but Wiz War is a full two page strip bringing back those feuding sorcerers and I had a great time working from Kek-W's script! 

Don't forget, - 6th October is the date for Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular, available from WH Smith, selected newsagents, and every comic shop that's ordered copies. It'll also be available to buy directly from Rebellion and I'll add the link as soon as it goes live. 

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20 Years On...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that the world changed on this day 20 years ago. An act of cowardice that killed many and stunned the world. Society seemed to change after that, as though a permanent black cloud was looming over us all that remains to this day. An angrier, more suspicious world.

I suppose this is true of any devastating event, whether it be war or plague, but the relatively carefree days of the late 20th Century now feel like they belong to another lifetime so long ago. We keep going of course, and there are good times too, but it's been different for the past 20 years, or at least that's how it feels to me.

As ever, wishing us all peace of mind and brighter tomorrows.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Cosmic Comics revisited!

A couple of years ago Hibernia Comics published a fine collection of Kevin O'Neill's early IPC strips under the name Cosmic Comics. It proved to be very successful, and now it's been reprinted... and expanded, thanks to Kevin himself.

In the revised Cosmic Comics, the artist has created a new 28 page section called Kev's Own which is a collection of Kevin O’Neill’s early covers, samples and unpublished work for magazines like Interplanetary News and Legend Horror Classics, as well as Titan books cover designs and the never-before-reprinted ‘7 Wonders of the Galaxy’ series from 2000 AD and more!

Also included in  ‘Kev's Own’ is commentary by Kevin on the art included and his early career.

With the addition of the new 28 page section, Cosmic Comics now runs to 96 pages. A worthwhile addition to any bookshelf.

Why am I plugging this on a blog that's usually about my own work? Well, the book includes the strip The Truth About Santa that I scripted and Kev illustrated for The Oink! Book back in the 1980s. That aside, the book is well worth shouting about anyway because it's a brilliant collection of material by one of the comics greats!

There are only a limited number of these books available so hurry if you want one (and who wouldn't?) to this page to order your copy:

http://www.comicsy.co.uk/hibernia/ 

 

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

DEREK THE TROLL available again!

I still have issues... issues of Derek the Troll that is! Published a few years ago there are still some left, unread and in new condition straight out of the printer's box. 

32 pages of material including all of the Derek the Troll strips I did for Warlock and White Dwarf in the 1980s, plus the complete saga of Rock Solid, Space Hero that I did for Swiftsure comic in 1985! PLUS I'll throw in an A6 Derek the Troll colour mini-print while stocks last!

To buy one directly from me, please PayPal £6 (six pounds) to 

lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com

Important: I only accept orders from within the UK. Don't forget to add your address so I know where to send it to!

Comics will be sent bagged and boarded in a protective envelope (and I'll sign each issue too). 


Blast Process at the Shrewsbury Comics Trail

My artwork at The Dingle. Photo by James Fletcher.
 

The YouTube channel Blast Process was at the launch of the Shrewsbury Comics Trail in July and they've just uploaded their video which you can see at this link...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9mhpVry-DA

Screen grab from the Blast Process video.

As reported here a couple of months ago, I was pleased to be a contributor to the Comics Trail, which features nine pieces of art by different artists displayed on billboards around Shrewsbury telling the story of the town in comic strip form (written by none other than John Wagner). Other artists include Sonia Leong, Charlie Adlard, Rachael Smith, Doug Braithwaite, Al Davison, Hannah Berry, Mike Perkins, and Jimmy Broxton.

The displays will be up for another 11 months yet so if you're visiting Shrewsbury follow the trail! 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/215274830414109


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Sunday, 5 September 2021

Flashback to six years ago

Six years ago today, on 5th Sept 2015 I launched Brickman Returns at the splendid ICE 2015 (International Comics Expo) in Birmingham. The first comic in my new self-publishing venture. I followed it up with Derek the Troll, four issues of Combat Colin, and Pedantic Stan... and then the pandemic derailed everything. No conventions, less work, less money to spend on such vanity projects, so I put the comics on hiatus. They will return though... one day! 

 

In the meantime, Combat Colin issues 2 and 3 are still available to buy directly from me. Here's the link...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203526559034

 

 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

The77 ANNUAL needs your support!

Dr.Plank from The77 issue 3.

Last week the Kickstarter for The77 Annual was fully funded only a short time after it went live... but then a backer pulled out, taking away a significant amount he'd pledged. Apparently the same person did it to two other projects too, also leaving them underfunded. 

Whether due to a sudden change in personal circumstances or malicious sabotage it brought The77 Annual back to 80% funding, so it needs more pledges to make it a reality. Kickstarter campaigns only see the comics published if the project reaches its goal, so let's hope it can make it. So far it's looking good but it's not there yet so if you want to see a brand new 136 page annual featuring new and established comics talent here's the link to visit...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/the77comic/the77-comic-annual-number-1

I'll have two pages in the book; The Origin of Doctor Plank, telling the backstory to Sgt.Shouty's nemesis (and, yes, Shouty himself will be in the story too of course). 

The annual will be available in two formats; hardback only exclusive to Kickstarter backers (with a cover by Mark Montague), and softback (with a cover by Ade Hughes) will will be on general release after the campaign. You can choose either, or both, when you pledge to the Kickstarter. 

The77 has been the breakout hit of the indie scene so I hope you'll consider backing the 136 page annual! More news as it develops! 

If there are any back issues of The77 you've missed, you can buy them directly from the publisher at this link:

https://the77comic.bigcartel.com/

 

   

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Combat Colin comics still in stock

Just another reminder that I still have some Combat Colin comics in stock on eBay. Unread, brand new condition straight out of the printer's box! 40 pages in each issue of Nos. 2 and 3, reprinting my classic Combat Colin strips from Marvel's The Transformers weekly from 30 years ago. Give 'em a try if you haven't read them, - or perhaps you remember them from way back when and would like them in these new collections.

Here's the link to find out more!

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/graphite47/m.html?item=203554298786 


 

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Convention Memories

42 years ago today I went to my first comic convention (Birmingham Metropole Hotel, 1979) and enjoyed it so much I carried on going to more over the next 40 years! I've met some wonderful friends in comics so I thought it was worth posting this again; a compilation of a few memories from those four decades pre-pandemic. 

More shows to come in the future I hope! Meanwhile, click on the photo to enlarge it and see which comics creators you can spot in the compilation. Post your answers below if you wish! 

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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

1966 - a SMASHing year!

1966 was a very good year. It gave us the Batman TV show, England won the World Cup, The Beatles released the timeless classic Eleanor Rigby, and Smash! comic made its debut!

The Kickstarter for the next set of Comic Scene's HISTORY OF COMICS partworks is live! If it reaches its target I'll be writing about the history of Odhams' Smash! comic for the 1966 volume. To find out more, and to make your pledge, visit this link...
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/comicscene/comicscene-history-of-comics-books-9-to-12

Monday, 30 August 2021

53 years of UK comics conventions!

This week in 1968 saw the very first comics convention take place in the UK! It was at the Midland Hotel in Birmingham and was organised by Phil Clarke and Steve Moore, with a handful of guests that included Mike Higgs and Paul Neary.

The great thing was that Odhams gave it a plug in their comics Smash!, Pow!, and Fantastic on the News From the Floor of 64 page. (Steve Moore was on the staff at Odhams and perhaps wrote the news page himself.) "What's the floor of 64?" you may ask. Odhams' offices were at 64 Long Acre, London.

I wasn't at the 1968 con. I was only 9 at the time and it'd be another 11 years before I ventured to a convention.

From that 1968 acorn, mighty oaks did indeed grow, and various people have taken on the task of organising comics festivals ever since. They do a great job, often at huge expense from their own pocket and with a lot of stress and risk involved. Convention organisers are the true heroes of comics, bringing creators together that leads to work and more importantly friendships. 

Originally only an annual event, there are now multiple shows that take place all across the UK throughout the year.... 

...or at least that's how it was before the pandemic! As with any events, lockdown hit comic shows badly, with hardly any taking place over the past 18 months. They're slowly returning but the virus is still raging across the country and this week it was announced that the Nottingham Comic Con would be postponed for another 12 months. However, Nor-Con will be taking place in Norwich in October, but I've cancelled my appearance there. I'm confident the organisers will ensure the guests and attendees are safe but my concerns are about long distance travel on public transport now that train operators have irresponsibly abandoned social distancing and mandatory mask requirements. 

One show I will be a guest at this year is the Meanwhile festival on Saturday 18th September in the grounds of the old Coventry Cathedral. As it's not far for me to travel and the show is in the open air I feel more secure about attending. Possibly the only show I'm doing this year as con season will be wrapping up in a few months. Hope to see you there! Here's the link...

https://www.meanwhilefestival.com/

 


Saturday, 28 August 2021

Kickstarter for THE77 ANNUAL is live!

The Kickstarter for The77 Annual went live today, and it's already reached nearly half of its target at the time of writing this (4.15pm). Yes, there's going to be an brand new annual to choose for your Christmas pressies this year!

The book will contain 136 pages of all new material including a two page Sgt.Shouty strip by me titled The Origin of Dr.Plank! Yes, the secrets of Shouty's nemesis will be revealed exclusively in the annual!

The77 Annual comes in a choice of two formats; hardback or softback. The hardback features a cover by Mark Montague (including his brilliant version of Sgt.Shouty) and the softback's cover is by Ade Hughes. You can also buy it in digital format.

If fully funded the book will be out in time for Christmas. We're working on the contents now so if you want to pledge to make it happen here's the link with more info...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/the77comic/the77-comic-annual-number-1

Contributors are paid via a profit share, so thanks in advance for your support! 

Mark Montague's cover art for the hardback.


Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Rambling and Recharging


Just a few thoughts....

Like many of us, I've found the last 18 months quite a struggle at times. I've been fortunate so far not to have contracted COVID but the whole situation, and the solitude, makes one weary and reflective. It doesn't help that the irresponsibly named "Freedom Day" has caused some to think that the virus has gone, encouraging them to abandon masks and social distancing even with thousands still in hospital. I know of friends who have been very ill with the virus even after being vaccinated. Please have the vaccine though. It could still save your life, and prevent you spreading the virus to others. COVID is very real, and it's out there. Just respect people's personal space please. It's not difficult, and it's not an assault on your human rights to wear a mask on a train.

I've decided that, apart from one day at the Meanwhile festival next month (which is outdoors and relatively local), I won't be attending comic cons for the forseeable future. I'm confident that the organisers will make the venues safe but I'm not so confident about travelling on packed trains or staying in hotels that may not be deep cleaned. Sorry if that makes me "scared" in some people's opinions. I'm just being realistic. I'm 62 and I'd like to live another few years at least.

I'm quite busy at the moment although getting back into a creative routine hasn't been easy. Feeling frustrated the other day I took myself a short walk... that ended up as a two hour trek into the local countryside. I felt guilty to be away from the drawing board but the fresh air did help recharge me. I've since written a bunch of scripts for the annuals etc and will be cracking on with drawing them this week and catching up with other drawing jobs too.

Being self-employed it's easy to fall into the trap of spending all day working, but it becomes counter-productive if not balanced out with exercise and other stimulation. Like many of us in creative professions I feel guilty if I'm having a break, but we need to get away to recharge. I won't be having a holiday again this year unfortunately (who can afford to, after earning less during lockdown?) but there are some nice green areas nearby I can take myself off to for a walk. I thought I'd share a few photos with you of my recent walk and I hope they help and inspire you too. Stay safe!

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
All photos in this post ©Copyright 2021 Lew Stringer. 

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Grab a special before summer ends!

Do you have your Dandy Summer Special yet? 68 pages including classic reprints plus a new story. There are also five new half page illustrations drawn by various artists including myself. 

You'll find The Dandy Summer Special in WH Smith amongst the children's comics... although one reader reported that their shop claims it's an adult comic and has put it on the top shelf next to Viz. Fear not, The Dandy has always been suitable for all ages! 

If you have difficulty finding it, you can always order it by post from DC Thomson themselves. Here's the link...

https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/dandy-summer-special-2021 

Cover art by Steve Bright.