Thursday, 1 June 2023

40 Years in Comics!

Like most comics people I know I'm my harshest critic but I hope you'll forgive me today for feeling somewhat proud on achieving 40 years in the comics business. 

Back this time in 1983 I was feeling despondent after various rejections from publishers when Alan Moore, who'd become a good friend from meeting him at various events, suggested I try Marvel UK. I must admit it hadn't occured to me to try Marvel, as (at the time) they were mainly reprinting American material and, apart from a couple of things, didn't seem to favour humour strips. However, their Daredevils monthly did feature some brand new material (such as Alan Moore and Alan Davis' Captain Britain) so Alan introduced me to his editor Bernie Jaye at one of the Westminster Comic Marts we all often frequented. 

"Yes, send me something" said Bernie, "But if we do publish it you won't be able to use it anywhere else or you'll get sued". "Well that's a good start to my career" I joked, not knowing that moment was indeed the start of a long career.

Upon returning home I thought up a short series of 'What If' cartoons and sent them to Bernie. I didn't hear back, so assumed she hadn't liked them. Several weeks later, at the next Westminster Mart I tentavely asked if she'd received them. "Yes, I really liked them" Bernie replied, "We're starting to use them from the next issue." (The first one appeared in The Daredevils No.7, dated July 1983, but published in June.)

I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day, happily telling my friends in comics my good news. After the mart I excitedly rushed to the nearest phone box to call my mum, who'd always been so suppprtive of my work. 

That first commission led to more work for Marvel UK including Robo-Capers, Captain Wally, and of course Combat Colin.  As I became more experienced, other publishers started showing an interest too, leading to me creating Tom Thug, Pete and His Pimple and others for IPC, and many other strips over the years for numerous comics. I've also had the opportunity to take over classic characters such as Pup Parade, Rasher, Big Eggo and others for DC Thomson, and The Pathetic Sharks and others for Viz. I've manily written my own material but I have at times drawn strips written by others (as with UT comic for example), and also provided scripts for others to draw (such as on Sonic the Comic). 

A few months after selling my first cartoons I was fortunate to work as an art assistant to Mike Higgs, who'd been a comics hero of mine when I was a kid. Those few months working with Mike on various children's books taught me a lot and Mike became a firm friend (and still is).

I'll be forever grateful to Alan Moore, Bernie Jaye, and Mike Higgs for opening the door for me 40 years ago, and also to all the editors I've worked for since. I'm particularly grateful to all the readers who have enjoyed my strips over the past four decades and meeting them at conventions always means a lot to me.

I'm not sure what the future holds right now for one reason or another but I can look back on those 40 years and be happy with the variety of comics and magazines that I've worked for. Here's a list, as best I can remember, of the various things I've done. I'm sure there are some I've forgotten about but this is mostly complete...


The Daredevils (What If cartoons)

The Mighty World of Marvel (What If cartoons)

Spider-Man Comic (Captain Wally, Snailman)

Learn With Moonbird (children books, ghosting Mike Higgs' art)

Swiftsure (Rock Solid, Brickman)

Brickman (Harrier Comics one-shot, 1986)

Transformers (Robo-Capers, Combat Colin)

Action Force (Combat Colin)

The Real Ghostbusters (Early episodes of Blimey! It’s Slimer)

Secret Wars (Macho Man)

Thundercats (Early episodes of One Cat and His Cod)

Jackpot Annual 1986 (Scooper)

Whoopee Annual 1987 (Bookworm)

2000AD Annual 1985 (article on old comic heroes)

Warlock (Derek the Troll)

White Dwarf (Derek the Troll)

Oink! (Tom Thug, Pete and his Pimple, Pigswilla, lots of others)

Buster (Tom Thug, Pete and his Pimple, Vampire Brats, Specky Hector)

Viz (Pathetic Sharks, Felix and his Amazing Underpants, Norman the Doorman, various others)

UT (various)

Sweet FA (various)

C’Mon Ref! (Whitley Baywatch)

Sunday Sport (Norma Snockers)

Daily Star (short run of Whitley Baywatch Wanderers)

Speakeasy (Pedantic Stan the Comics Fan)

Triffik! (Tough Guy)

2000AD Action Special (article on old UK comics)

Sonic the Comic (scripts on Sonic, Amy and Tekno, Tails, etc)

CiTV Tellytots (Scripts on Sooty, Mopatop’s Shop, Dog and Duck, etc)

Lego Adventures (Scripts)

The Seven Deadly Sins graphic novel (art on The Glut, written by Dave Gibbons)

Toxic magazine (Team Toxic)

Rampage (Mini-Marvels)

Marvel Heroes (Mini-Marvels)

Spectacular Spider-Man (Mini-Marvels)

Lucky Bag Comic (Horror Bags, Cheeky Monkeys)

Geek (Norway) (Suburban Satanists)

Herman Hedning (Sweden/Norway) (Suburban Satanists)

Beano (Super School, Rasher, Pup Parade, Big Eggo, various others)

Dandy (Postman Prat, Kid Cops, Keyhole Kate, a few others)

Beano Max (Super School)

Know How! (Various artwork)

Forstads Satanistine (Norway, 2003. Collection of Suburban Satanists strips)

Fun-Tastic Comic (Cover only) 

Jokes and Magic (various strips)

Brickman Begins! (USA) (book reprinting Brickman strips)

Epic (Hygiene High, Eric Fail, Zombie Sports)

Aces Weekly (digital) (Combat Colin)

Doctor Who Magazine (The Daft Dimension)

Elephantmen (USA) (Brickman Returns)

Grindhouse (USA) (Li’l House of Grind) 

Comic Heroes magazine (articles on old comics) 

Comic Scene magazine (articles on old comics)

You Are The Hero (book. New Derek the Troll page)

Stikkums (art for digital app)

TV21 (Network edition for Gerry Anderson boxset. Zoony the Lagoon)

The77 (Sgt.Shouty)

Liverpool Heartbeat magazines (various)

Cor!! Buster Specials 2019/2020 (Buster)

Battle Special 2020 (Specky Hector the Comics Collector)

Monster Fun Halloween Special 2021 (Wiz War)

Animal Planet (Bad Pets)

The Kirknewton Story (Close Encounters)

Stingray Comic Special (Network edition for Stingray box set) (Oink the Seal)

This Comic Is Haunted (Short Sharp Shocks)


Extra: Before I turned professional I also contributed to a lot of fanzines. I can't remember all of them but here's a short list...

BEM (article on Power Comics)

The Owl's Effort (Fandumb At Large illustrations) 

Chain Reaction (Fandumb at Large comic strip)

Camera Obscura (Prisoner fanzine for which I did Rogue Rover and Alistair Sadgitt)


Self published comics:

After Image (1979, various strips and articles)

Metamorph/Fantasy Express (1981 articles and strips)

Blimey! It's Brickman (1983)

Brickman on Toast

The Early Brickman

Combat Colin Summer Special 1967 (in reality published in the 1990s)

Combat Colin Special (c.2000)

Yampy Tales (Combat Colin and Brickman)

Rogue Rover (collecting the strips from Camera Obscura)

The Microlife of Alistair Sadgitt (collecting the strips from Camera Obscura)

Brickman Returns! (collecting the Brickman strips from Elephantmen)

Combat Colin (reprinting strips from Action Force and Transformers)

Derek the Troll (reprinting Derek strips from Warlock and White Dwarf plus Rock Solid strips from Swiftsure)

Pedantic Stan the Comics Fan (collecting all the strips from Speakeasy)

Barmy Comix (digital, reprinting selected Brickman, Combat Colin, Derek the Troll, Pedantic Stan  strips)

Tough Guy and Scruffy (Digital. Collecting the strips from Triffik!)


Obviously some strips I've worked on lasted ran for longer than others. 16 years on Team Toxic, 10 years on Tom Thug, 4 years on Combat Colin, and so on but all in all it's a lot of ink and a lot of typing! Thanks to everyone for being there for part of the journey if not all of it. 



Peter Gray said...

glad the dream came true...look forward to what you do publishers..etc..think that is what has been your strength doing different magazines has well has comics...I wish Super School would come back has that was such a good idea...also loved rasher..Pup the Doctor Who comic strip...(hopefully a book of them one day? who knows) glad your conventions are going well this year... good health to you and it is always good to do something we love!

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Peter. Uncertain times at present for work and health but whatever happens I'm pleased with the 40 years I accomplished.

BenGMan said...

Nice of you to achieve that goal Lew!, Congratulations!

Hugo said...

Some great memories for me there, especially Pup Parade.

Michael Cook said...

Congratulations! I bought a copy of Brickman #1 at a Westminster Mart a million years ago. Incredible journey!

PhilEdBoyce said...

I know I've said this on FB already but I just have to leave it here too (our blogs need more comments lol!). If I picked up a comic as a child and you weren't in there I'd think there was something wrong lol! Thanks so much for everything you've produced Lew, you really have brought so much joy to so many people, and thank you for being a friend and for all your help with the OiNK Blog.

McSCOTTY said...

Yeah, well done Lew not many folk take the plunge to follow their dreams especially in such a volatile business so you had the talent as well- hard word.. I'm sure your mum and dad would be / were proud of you. To work with Mr Higgs one of your heroes as well, amazing stuff. Hope work improves and more importantly your health issues are sorted out. Take care

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for the nice words folks. Much appreciated.

Health wise... Ive been diagnosed with a chronic condition but it doesn't need treatment yet. Feel OK. It'll affect me one day but for now it's a case of 6 monthly check ups and blood tests so they can monitor it.

Anonymous said...

Is it contagious???

Lew Stringer said...

Not at all contagious. It's not an infection.