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...

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...



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...


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...


Cover art by Steve Bright.

Thursday 19 August 2021

Comics for sale!

Just to diverge from my usual posts, I thought some of you might be interested to hear that I'm selling off some of my comics collection. They're all titles from recent years (American comics) and I'm selling them as "Mystery Parcels" of 12 randomly selected comics for just £10. 

All nice condition, read carefully once and stored away. Here's what some buyers have left as feedback...

"A+++++++++Very Happy with Selection!! Many thanks"

"Blooming great service, and well packaged"

"A+++++++++Speedy delivery and outstanding customer service. Highly Recommended!! Thanks again."

"Top goods - great service - well recommended!"

I'm also still selling back issues of Combat Colin, unread and brand new. 

I'll be adding other items soon. To see my listings, here's a link to my eBay page..



Monday 16 August 2021

The Daft Dimension, - Preview of my next strip

Can it really be four weeks since the previous issue of Doctor Who Magazine? Hmm? Yes indeed my boy, yes indeed. (Sorry, went into First Doctor mode there. But is he the first Doctor? Time will tell, hmm, Chesterton?) 

Above is a snippet from my next Daft Dimension strip. You can see the full version in Doctor Who Magazine No.568 when it goes on sale on Thursday 19th August. 

Here's the cover to look out for, which gives you an idea of the rest of the contents...

Saturday 14 August 2021

Sent to Coventry

Only a few weeks to go until Meanwhile in Coventry takes place in the 2021 City of Culture. This is (so far) the only comic con I'm attending this year, and the first one I've done in two years so I'm looking forward to catching up with my comics friends and meeting the readers! 

It's a two day event but I'll only be there for the one day, Saturday 18th September. You'll find me in the marquee in the ruins of the old Cathedral.

There are new comics guest being added all the time and currently they include Laura Howell, Sonia Leong, Micke Collins, Rachael Smith, Marc Jackson, John McCrea, and many more! 

To find out more, visit their website at this link...


See you there? 


Thursday 12 August 2021

Comics Trail Art - early stage

I thought you might like to see what my artwork for the Shrewsbury Comics Trail looked like during the pencil stage. The brief was to illustrate a composition of various things that take place in The Dingle. My original art is A3 size, but it was englarged to billboard size for the finished product.

Here's how it looks after I'd inked and coloured it, for it to be printed and displayed at The Dingle. Photo by Sarah Prince...

You can find out more about this open air exhibition by visiting the Comics Salopia website here:


...and at their Facebook page here...



Saturday 7 August 2021

The77 No.6 is out now!

My copies of The77 No.6 arrived yesterday and once again the comic looks great! Nicely designed, with 64 pages of all-new material. Contributors include John McCrea, Charlie Gillespie, Noel K Hannan, Andrw Sawyers, Paul Goodenough, Bambos Georgiou and many more, including me.

My strip, Sgt.Shouty of the Moon Force, reaches the end of its first story arc this issue but I'll be doing two pages for The77 Annual, out later this year! 

...and coming soon, there'll be Sgt.Shouty badges to buy from The77 webshop!

You can buy the latest issue of The77 and all the back issues from their website at this link...


Cover by Ian Stopforth beside by original art for Sgt.Shouty.

Support independent UK comics! The77 goes from strength to strength so I hope you'll all stick with it!  



Friday 6 August 2021

80 pages of comedy adventure!

Issues 2 and 3 of Combat Colin are still available from my eBay listings. Each has 40 pages in U.S. comic format on quality paper and collects stories I did for Marvel UK 30 years ago. You can buy them separately or as a double pack, giving you a total of 80 pages of fun for all ages.

I'm planning to reprint issue 4 this year, for those of you who missed it the first time around, and hope to publish issue 5 at some point as a giant size comic to complete the collection.

For now though, issues 2 and 3 are available at this link...






Thursday 5 August 2021

Grab a Statue!

The Statues of Liverpool comic is still available! Brand new pages telling the story behind some of Liverpool's famous statues, written by Tim Quinn with artwork by Russ Leach, Nigel Parkinson, and others including me! (Clippings here show some of my art for the comic.)

It's a collectors' item and not available in the shops so head over to the following website to order your copies!



Sunday 1 August 2021

The Dandy Annual 2022 is here!

I've just received my order of The Dandy Annual 2022 from Amazon. 112 pages of all new material including five Keyhole Kate pages by me. This is the 11th year I've contributed to The Dandy Annual, and I'm currently working on the next one which will be out this time next year! 

The 2022 book is available now from online sellers including the publisher DC Thomson. Cover art by Steve Bright. 


Cover by Steve Bright.