Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Meet SPUD, an unpublished strip from long ago

Click to enlarge.

In the early part of my career in the 1980s I was submitting comic strips on spec to numerous publications in the hope of them being used. Not just comics; I tried everywhere from Smash Hits to Celebrity magazine, from my local paper to video magazines. None of my submissions were successful but I didn't give up. (In the end I stuck with comics, which did appreciate my work.)

One area I tried was gardening magazines. I created a strip called Spud about an average gardener in suburbia, hoping editors of Gardeners World and the like would go for it. Not a chance. One editor refused it because he didn't like "silly bugger characters" as he called them. Apparently gardening was too serious a subject for levity. 

I'd forgotten all about the strip until I found my samples the other day. Here they are, published here for the very first time. As you can see, I'd started colouring one of them as I was noticing more mags were using full colour, but then decided not to bother submitting it again. It's not a great strip by any means. I was still developing my style, and I can appreciate they weren't what they were looking for back then. I hope you get some amusement out of them anyway.



Manic Man said...

Its not that bad. I do remember (vaguly) when various magazines didn't mind doing the odd mixture of things.. White Dwarf had Thrud the Barbarian and The Travellers (not a fan of that but fair enough) and, of course, Derek the Troll for a while, A local senior citizen magazine (as they call it) had a strip about a grumpy old person, I'm sure i can remember some others but.. they are kinda slipping my mind right now.. I know a programme from a Band concert (I think it was Hawkwind) had a little comic strip in it. But more and more (and even at times, back then) it was "Comics and stuff are for Kids!" completely forgetting that in the history of the medium, them being for kids is pretty modern (and if anyone wants more detail, i got a copy of Scott McClouds 'Understanding Comics', a great book for long term fans and new people (and creators) alike). though it's.... debatable, i find even comics which are trying to be more 'mature' these days (and kinda since the 80s) get away with thinking adding blood, sex and swearing is 'mature'..

Lew Stringer said...

There's a long history of short strips featuring in magazines, just as there used to be a tradition of newspaper strips, but some editors simply don't like comic strips unfortunately. I was taking a gamble submitting strips to magazines that never ran strips but it was worth a go even though it didn't pan out. Fortunately a career in comics did work.

Yes, in Britain there is still a bad attitude amongst the majority of people that comics are stupid, childish, or simply unnecessary. I don't think it'll ever change now.