Thursday, 24 June 2021

Happy Birthday to Sonic the Hedgehog!

Apparently it's the 30th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog! A character that helped pay my mortgage when I was a writer on the official Sonic the Comic during the 1990s. It was a break from my usual stuff to write action-adventure strips and I really enjoyed those years. 

Pictured here with writer Nigel Kitching, artists Richard Elson and the late Nigel Dobbyn, and in the other photo with my editor Deborah Tate. Thanks also to the comic's original editor Richard Burton for bringing me on board back then. 

Also shown is one of my scripts and a panel from a story I wrote drawn by Nigel Dobbyn. Happy 30th Sonic!

Art by Nigel Dobbyn.


Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Summertime Sea Devils!

Here's an advance look at a panel from my next Daft Dimension comic strip. Yes, it's the Sea Devils on holiday! You can see the full version in Doctor Who Magazine No.566 when it arrives in shops on Thursday 24th June. 

My strip is but a small part of the magazine of course. The rest of it will be packed with news, interviews, and exclusive features pertaining to the world of Doctor Who past, present, and future. 

Having launched in 1979 (when it was Doctor Who Weekly for its first 43 issues), DWM is the world's longest running magazine based on a television series. 

Website:

https://doctorwhomagazine.com/

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Busy times!


I've sent off my first two strips for the 2023 annuals, with lots more ahead to do over the coming weeks. I can't show anything properly for a long time yet but there's a glimpse of a couple of Biffo the Bear strips above. 

I also have two other big commissions to draw over the coming days, then there'll be the next Sgt.Shouty to do for The77, and The Daft Dimension for Doctor Who Magazine, so it's suddenly a very busy time!

Such is the nature of freelancing. It's always a roller coaster but you just hope it'll never get stuck at the bottom. Being self-employed is always highly risky, and the effects of the pandemic really had a knock on effect, but you just hope for the best. 

If I'm not blogging much over the next few weeks you'll know why. I'll either be chained to my drawing board or, if time allows, having an hours break in the sunshine. Stay safe, and please keep following my blog for more updates whenever I can post them.

Rewriting Extinction

I'm pleased to announce that I'm one of 300 creators who have contributed to the Rewriting Extinction cause, along with scientists, activists, and experts. I've illustrated a page written by John Freeman and I'll reveal more about that soon. 

Rewriting Extinction is a campaign to raise money and awareness for 7 projects to tackle BOTH the climate and the biodiversity crisis. 

You can see which other comics people are involved by visiting this page and clicking on the 'Creators' tab:

https://www.rewritingextinction.com/contributors/?fbclid=IwAR3x3fBF_hSM3zk8iy9lk7VVPxZZzwhWzlgSlsTOn1kZ8KxWqksNGijqo6U 

To find out more, check out their website with all the info and details how to donate:

https://www.rewritingextinction.com/the-plan/

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Kickstarter now live for The77 issue 6


If you want to see what Sgt.Shouty of The Moon Force gets up to next you'll be interested to hear that the Kickstarter for The77 issue 6 is now up and running. 

With over 60 pages in every issue, The77 is a lively anthology of all-new strips from talented newcomers to seasoned professionals. You can find out more about the comic (and how to pledge to support it) at this link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/the77comic/the77-comic-issue-6 

One of the pledge options includes a chance to have an original Sgt.Shouty sketch by me. Only four are available, so be quick if you're interested in that!

...and if you missed any of the previous issues you can buy them from the GetMyComics web shop at this link:

https://getmycomics.com/The77

 


Friday, 11 June 2021

New video interview on YouTube

I enjoyed being interviewed by cartoonist / convention organiser Marc Jackson this afternoon for his Macc-Pow! channel and the full video is now on You Tube. See this link to view it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD816Dnej1c 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Live interview! Tune into MACC-POW this Friday!

This Friday (11th June) I'll be a guest on Marc Jackson's MACC-POW! You Tube channel for a *live interview* at 1.30pm Friday afternoon. Tune in if you can at this link:

 
It'll be archived after transmission so you can watch it later if you miss it live! 
 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Are you a reader of The77?

These days there's more to comics than the few you see in newsagents. If you're looking for an independent comic that features work by established professionals as well as relative newcomers, check out The77. Over 60 pages in each issue of all-new material, including my Sgt.SHOUTY page in every issue. 
 
The first five issues are available from GetMyComics at this link:
 
Are you a reader of The77? If not, any reason why you haven't tried it yet? If you are a reader, what are your thoughts on it, and of my Sgt.Shouty series? Post your comments below!  


 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Back in action!

Image ©2021 Lew Stringer.

After a lousy 15 months I think things are moving forward again. After two doses of the vaccine and the restrictions being eased I've been able to see a small number of friends again. Work has also picked up recently and I have a busy few weeks ahead! 

I won't go into detail yet about the work I have to do as I don't want to jinx anything and I'm still waiting for a contract on one job. Some of the things you already know about (work for the 2023 Annuals) but others I'll keep quiet about for now. I still have nothing long term unfortunately apart from The Daft Dimension in Doctor Who Magazine but all the other bits and bobs should help me survive another couple of months hopefully! We could all do with publishers taking risks on new titles but Covid looms large and the market is too volatile at present.

All of us have gone through "extraordinary times" as the media keeps calling it, and we're still a long way from the end point yet! More restrictions and maybe another lockdown will be inevitable but let's hope we can all get through this. Stay safe and enjoy each day as best you can.  

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Carnival time! (2002)

Click on image to see it larger.

Several years ago I showed you some of the double page spreads I drew for Know How! magazine, and now here's another. This Funny Find-It was done for Know How! No.2 back in 2002. The idea being that the reader has to find the people shown in the sidebar. 

This is the image I submitted so obviously there would be text added in the blank areas when it was published. 

If you want to see more of these illustrations they're in this old blog post at this link:

https://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2013/03/know-how.html

 

Friday, 4 June 2021

Troll en route

My thanks to those of you who bought a copy of Derek the Troll this week. All orders have been dispatched now so if you haven't received yours already it'll be with you soon!

UPDATE:

The 20 issues I put on eBay this week have now sold out so I've relisted it with another ten:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203483690217

 
 

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

DEREK THE TROLL comic available again!

Gradually restarting the self-publishing side of my business, I'm listing one of my comics for sale again. This is the second printing (2018) of Derek the Troll /Rock Solid, a 32 page comic collecting some of the earliest work I did for professional publishers. 

Contents:

All of the Derek the Troll strips that I originally did for Warlock and White Dwarf magazines that were published by Games Workshop in the mid-1980s. 

The complete five-part series of Rock Solid, Space Hero that originally appeared in Swiftsure comic published by Harrier in 1985. 


As a bonus I'm including two mini-prints featuring Derek the Troll and Combat Colin!

The comic is signed inside by me, and will be bagged and boarded, and posted in a card-backed envelope for protection.

Format is the American size, which tends to be standard for independent comics now. I only have a limited number left, and have listed them on eBay from today at a Buy It Now price of just £6 including postage and packing. Visit this link to see the listing:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203479753334  

If this proves successful I'll be selling other items in the months to come. If you don't already have this Derek the Troll comic I hope you'll be interested enough to give it a try! Thanks for your support!



Monday, 31 May 2021

There's still time to go Barmy!

Just a reminder that BARMY COMIX No.1, a 32 page PDF digital comic, is still available for download. Packed with a selection of various strips I've done over the years such as Combat Colin, Brickman, Derek the Troll, and Pedantic Stan the Comics Fan. Fun for all ages! It's free to download but if you like the comic I'd appreciate a £2 gratuity sent via PayPal to lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com

The download link is here:
 
 
Barmy Comix was initially intended as a one-off until I started up my comics in print again. However, as this pandemic has dragged on, and with the absence of conventions to promote them at, I am considering doing Barmy Comix No.2 soon. Another digital collection, but this time with a slightly different line up of characters. Watch this space!


Saturday, 29 May 2021

Fully Vaccinated!

It's Jab 2 - The Sequel! I had my second vaccine today so hopefully that's another step forward. Get your vaccines when you can, folks! It's the only way we'll get through this situation.

Friday, 28 May 2021

MACC-POW! at Home!

What's the next best thing to going to a comic con? Letting the show come to you! The much-missed Macc-Pow! event will be online again this year so you can see us yakking about comics in the comfort of your own home. As ever it'll be hosted by Marc Jackson who as well as being a brilliant cartoonist is an enthusiastic champion of the comics industry. Tune in to see us at the dates and times shown above!

https://www.facebook.com/maccpow

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Go Daft this Thursday!


Here's a tiny preview of part of a panel from my next Daft Dimension strip. You can see the full mini-strip in Doctor Who Magazine on Thursday 27th May when it arrives in the shops. 

Here's the cover to look out for...

 

I'm currently scripting the next strip, and deadline for the finished art will be any day now so I'd better get cracking! 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Monday, 24 May 2021

Freddy of The Bash Street Kids

Artwork I did for the Beano a few years ago.

According to The Sunday Post the Beano is changing the name of Fatty (from the Bash Street Kids) to Freddy. It's no big deal, and doesn't affect the stories at all, but hopefully it will avoid readers from considering "fatty" as a justified insult to use against their classmates.


However... the news has caused an uproar on some comics groups and forums. Middle aged men complaining that it's "another nail in the coffin of our childhood" and "our childhood stuff is being destroyed by the snowflake generation". (Actual quotes.) The Daily Express website blamed "Woke Britain" as though being considerate was a crime. These angry guys usually reveal that they stopped reading the Beano decades ago, but somehow they're now personally offended by changes to a children's comic as if it's any of their business.


Of course, the changes haven't destroyed their childhoods. The present can't alter the past. Their old Beano collections haven't been rewritten, and they can still collect back issues they've never seen to experience stories the way they like them.


It comes down to fear of change, and I suppose they feel lost in a changing world, but society has never remained static. There are certainly more important things for adults to get angry about than a name change to a character in a kids comic. Meanwhile, thousands of children still enjoy the Beano every week and long may they do so.

Link to the Sunday Post article:

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/bash-street-kids-fatty-freddy/ 

Article on Down the Tubes:

https://downthetubes.net/?p=127346

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Saturday, 22 May 2021

The77 No.5 is here!

The villainous DOCTOR PLANK has a visit from the Moon Police.

The77 No.5 is out now so I thought I'd give it another plug! It's always good to see the print copy of this comic as the paper stock is really nice. They use a matt stock for the interior pages which I prefer far more than glossy stock that reflects the light. 

As mentioned before, this issue contains another Sgt.SHOUTY page by me, along with loads of other strips by Mike Collins, Paul Goodenough, Steve Bull, Ade Hughes, Bambos Georgiou, Andrew Sayers, Jo Heeley, Rupert Lewis-Jones and many more. It's a nice package of talents from newcomers to established professionals. 

You can order issue No.5 and any back issues from GetMyComics at this link:

https://getmycomics.com/The77 

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Thursday, 20 May 2021

Bad Pets!

A while back I drew a mini-strip called Bad Pets (written by the Beano's brilliant Nigel Auchterlounie) for the new ANIMAL PLANET magazine, and it's in print today in issue No.4.

Our contribution is just a one off so far but I really hope there'll be more in the future as it was fun to do. Animal Planet is a great kids' mag, themed around (you guessed it) animals and the environment. In shops now. A bargain at 64 pages for £3.99.


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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Sgt.SHOUTY Shouts Again!

The fifth issue of the anthology comic The77 is out this week where you'll find the next exclusive chapter of Sgt.SHOUTY of The Moon Force!

Will evil Dr.Plank's scheme to manipulate Shouty succeed? Find out inside!

My strip takes up one page but there are tons of other stories packing out this 64 page issue. Two of the highlights are Extinction 2040 by Paul Goodenough and Ian Stopforth and "I know the Secret of the Alien" by Mike Powell and Mike Collins. 

The front cover always features a name at the top as a nod to the days when newsagents would write the customer's names on comics they had reserved. This time it's a tribute to the well known and well respected collector Colin Noble, who sadly passed away recently.

The77 is one of the best indie comics around. A quality looking publication featuring emerging new talent alongside some of us who have been in the business for decades, so it's a nice mixture! All creator-owned material too! There's nothing quite like it out there so please give it your support. 

You can order The77 No.5 from their Big Cartel page here:

https://the77comic.bigcartel.com/

Brilliant cover art by Neil Sims.


 

Monday, 17 May 2021

We all need to start somewhere...

Like most of us who followed our passion, I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. Just random drawings at first, but then in late 1966 I felt inspired to fold the paper in half to make a four page comic. The first one was simply called 'The News' and I threw that away long ago but then I started doing a comic called WUFF! in early 1967.

Initially it featured short strips about family pets, neighbours pets, or my grandad (who was my hero), then later I'd create my own characters. Over the years it grew from 4 to 12 pages as I worked my way through dozens of Silvine drawing pads. VERY crudely drawn as you can see, because it was stream of consciousness stuff rather than having any forethought or study behind it. I had a *lot* to learn!

I did 111 issues of Wuff! and a few other comics from 1967 to 1974 then gave up for a few years, discouraged by thinking it was an impossible goal to ever become a real cartoonist. Then, discovering fanzines in 1976 reignited my ambitions and it was a long slog before selling my first cartoon in 1983 but it turned out OK I suppose. Follow your dreams, folks!

When I was doing my comics as a kid I only showed them to my parents (mostly to my mum) but here's a sampling of some covers from 1967 to 1973 done between the ages of 7 to 14. Yep, I know many others did far better and more accomplished drawings when they were that age but here we go anyway...

WUFF! No.1 Early 1967.


WUFF! No.40 (1969).

WUFF! No.71 (late 1970).

WUFF! No.82 (1971).

WUFF! No.93 (1972).


Back page of WUFF! No.93. Yes, Rockman was based on Darkseid!

SUPER-HERO ACTION No.3 (1973). Such hyperbole! :D

For more of my scribbles, er, early work, see this post:

https://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2013/08/rarities-my-very-early-work.html

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Annual News

I had some good news on Friday in that I've been commissioned to be one of the contributors to the Dandy and Beano Annuals cover dated 2023! Those books will be out in August 2022 but we'll be drawing them this summer.

Usually, on weekly comics, we work about eight weeks ahead, but on annuals we work a year ahead! The reason? I'm not entirely sure but I think it's down to print schedules needing to be further ahead for books. 

The first script begins!
 

I'll tell you what I'm doing for the 2023 Annuals at a later date but in the meantime, there's The Dandy Annual 2022 to look forward to, which will be out this August. I wrote/drew four Keyhole Kate pages for that, plus a puzzle page, and you can pre-order it directly from the publisher at the DC Thomson Shop here:

https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/the-dandy-annual-2022


Thursday, 13 May 2021

The Dandy Summer Special is here!

Everyone knows that summer really begins when the comic Summer Specials arrive! Well, although summer isn't scheduled until 21st June, this year's Dandy Summer Special just landed on my doormat so get the suncream and deckchairs out and soak up those rays! (Ah, it's just started to rain.) 

I'm very pleased to have been involved with this, drawing a new half page illustration for the comic. There are four other half page illos by other artists, Laura Howell, Nigel Parkinson, Nic Brennan, and Wayne Thompson. The rest of the 68 page package is comprised of classic seaside Dandy reprints plus a very funny new 6 pager by Nigel Auchterlounie and Steve Bright. (Steve Bright also drew the covers.) Bearing in mind that the staff were all working remotely due to the pandemic they've done a great job. It should be in the shops soon, or you can order it directly from the publisher at this link:
https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/dandy-summer-special-2021

It was a joy to be commissioned to put classic characters such as Bully Beef and Dirty Dick into the drawing. (Being ancient, I remember the day Bully Beef and Chips started in The Dandy back in 1967!) I hope I've done them justice. 

Here's how my artwork looked at the pencil stage. Note the pile of 1960s Dandys used for reference...

...and here's how it looked at the inking stage...

After inking was completed, I scanned it into my iMac, cleaned it up and coloured it in Photoshop. 

Although The Dandy weekly ended back in 2012 it's good to know the title still lives on as a Summer Special and all-new annual. Always keep a Dandy handy! 

Covers by Steve Bright.

It'd be remiss of me not to mention that there's the Beano Summer Activity Special available too, with all new content and free stickers! I'm not in that one but there's a ton of new pages by Nigel Parkinson and others so check that out.

 



Wednesday, 12 May 2021

I-Spy spreads (Toxic, 2012)

Click to enlarge.

When I was working for Toxic magazine I was often called on to draw activity pages in addition to my regular two page Team Toxic strip. These could range from spot illustrations to more complex spreads, the latter being the "I-Spy" features. 

(Yep, this isn't the Sparky's I-Spy, although I did draw his final adventure as featured here:

https://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2014/09/fun-size-fun.html  )

The I-Spy features for Toxic were double page spreads where the readers had to find certain characters within a crowd scene. The one shown above featured a street party for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. I was given a brief by the editor which mentioned some things I had to include but it also included stuff I'd come up with too.

The image above is my finished art but I thought you might be interested in seeing my rough sketch for it as well...

In case you're wondering about the empty areas at the left of the images, that is where the logos and suchlike would go. These spreads usually had to be turned around fairly quickly considering the work involved so I developed a simplified version of my usual style.

Here's another one I drew, which is also from 2012...

Click to enlarge.

These were enjoyable to draw and I miss them. Over time, budget cuts on Toxic meant that such fun features were dropped. Then more budget cuts led to all my work for Toxic being dropped, initially temporary in theory, but since the pandemic affected sales of magazines that became permanent. (Toxic now uses licenced strips such as Tiny Titans, presumably at far less cost than originating UK material.)

I had 16 years on Toxic which is the longest I've ever freelanced for one title. (Although my years on Viz must come close.) Still, onwards and upwards to whatever comes next!