Sunday, 25 June 2017

Next stop: Macclesfield!

Thanks to all those who attended the Birmingham Comic Art Show yesterday, (part of the Birmingham Comics Festival) and who dropped by my table. The next comics event I'll be at will be Macc-Pow! next Saturday (1st July) at Macclesfield Town Hall. 

Other guests will include Laura Howell, Emma Chinnery, David Leach, Paul Grist, Joe Matthews, the Missed Deadline team and more. 

I'll be posting more about it soon, hopefully with a special announcement, but for now, check out more info at their website:
http://maccpow.co.uk

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Why self-publish?

Self-publishing is now an accepted form of direct communication with the readers, with both long-time pros and newbies having hands-on control of their product. (Even the mighty Pat Mills is publishing his own books.) Nevertheless, I still occasionally hear criticism of self-publishing. Accusations of "vanity press" and things like "things must be bad if they need to generate extra income by self-publishing". Such mean-spirited comments should easily be ignored of course, but sometimes that only leads to others accepting such unwarranted criticisms as fact if they go unchallenged.

Truth is, a lot of us enjoy self-publishing simply because of creative control. As enjoyable as mainstream comics work is, it often involves working on characters created by others, following an editorial remit, scripts that can be altered editorially, and (most likely) characters that are owned by the publisher. Self-publishing gives the creator(s) complete freedom to do things their way, in their own style, in their own time, and to design the comic exactly as they wish. We're artists. We're all hippies at heart, and we like our freedom, man.

("Hang on a minute", some of you might be thinking. "Wasn't Combat Colin done to Marvel's remit in the 1980s before you regained the rights?" Kind of, yes, but my editors gave me so much freedom on the strip that it always felt I had near-complete creative control anyway.)

As for the accusation that self-publishing is a desperate attempt to increase one's income, well, amusingly that's kind of flattering and insulting at the same time. Print runs for self publishing are often small, so profit is minimal unless a character really takes off. The point of doing it is not one of financial gain, but I understand how that might be a hard concept to grasp for some coldly commercially-minded people. It's all about the enjoyment of creating a comic that's 100% by yourself, from the cover to the last page, including layout, logo design, and all. If it breaks even, great. If it makes a small profit, even better, but if you're doing it solely for greed then you'll be disappointed. It's for the love of the art, mate, innit.

I must admit there are some practical reasons why I'm self-publishing again. There are a number of characters that are my intellectual property that were just languishing in limbo. It seemed silly to devote all my time on strips I didn't have the rights to and let my own creations fall into obscurity. So, in 2015 I brought back Brickman, last year I revived Derek the Troll (with Rock Solid as back up) and this year Combat Colin finally gets his own comic (with Suburban Satanists No.1 to follow either later this year or in 2018). I know that each of those properties has a following, and hopefully their individual comics will generate new readers too. Apart from a few contemporary references, I've always tried to make my humour feel timeless, so my 1980s material should work for modern readers too.

Most of my working time has to be spent on mainstream comics work though, as that's what pays the bills. That doesn't make it less enjoyable of course. Toxic, Epic, Doctor Who Magazine, and Beano each have their own identities and are great to create strips for. It's a privilege to work on the top comics titles in the UK and long may it continue. 

In my spare time I'll continue to develop my self-published titles, and although I may only have time to do two (or three at a push) per year, the plan is for them to continue. I hope you'll enjoy what's to come, including Combat Colin No.1, out next month!
(If you're interested in my comics, and I guess you must be if you're reading my blog, you can buy them directly from me here:
http://lewstringer.com/page7.htm )

Getting back to my initial point, ignore the critics. Some people just want to nitpick and sabotage what others create, to drag everyone down to their own level of misery and hopelessness. Other people will support such projects, financially if they like them, or even just by spreading the word on comics that don't appeal to them personally. The comics industry has evolved from where it was 50 years ago, and self-publishing is as legitimate and slick as mainstream publishing these days. Check out the tables at the many comics conventions around the country and you'll find comics that appeal to all tastes. 

Come to Brum this Saturday!


My apologies for any delays with replies or e-mail recently. As Combat Colin No.1 has gone to press, and I'd completed my deadlines on mainstream work, I thought I'd take a few days off to enjoy the weather in sunny Blackpool! 

I'm back now, and cracking on with drawing Team Toxic for the next Toxic, then it's Hygiene High for the next Epic, and there's another Daft Dimension that needs writing too! 

Then on Saturday, it's off to Birmingham for the Birmingham Comic Art Show at the Birmingham Comics Festival at Birmingham City University. Other guests include David Lloyd, David Leach, Al Davison, Ron Tiner, Hunt Emerson, Mike Collins, and more! Come along and join us!
https://birminghamcomicsfestival.com/guests-bcf-2017/

Sunday, 18 June 2017

New EPIC this Wednesday

The stinkiest school kids in comics, the class of Hygiene High, are on the school bus in the latest strip in Epic No.133. Script by Niall Murray, art by me. See what mayhem they cause when the issue goes on sale this Wednesday, 21st June. Available from WH Smith, supermarkets, and newsagents. Bagged with a bunch of gifts.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Almost Combat ready

I've put the finishing touches to Combat Colin No.1, the first of a series of self-published comics that will reprint my Marvel UK strip of 30 years ago. The comic has now been sent to the printers, so should be out in July. I'll post more info about it soon.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A great summer for comic cons!

I really enjoyed the ICE International Comic Expo Summer Special at Brighton last Saturday, and you can read my report about it on my other blog here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/bright-and-breezy-brighton-for-ice.html

The next events I've been invited to are the Birmingham Comic Art Show on Saturday 24th June (part of the Birmingham Comics Festival)...
https://birminghamcomicsfestival.com

...then it'll be Macc-Pow! in Macclesfield on Saturday 1st July...
http://www.maccpow.co.uk

...and the London Film and Comic Con across the weekend of 23rd to 25th July.
http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com

After that, it's conventions in Aylesbury, Birmingham, Preston, and more as we enter the Autumn! Hope to see you at some of the events!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bog to the rescue?

It's the second part of the Team Toxic two-parter this week as Bog attempts to save the city from the clutches of Butt-Face by recruiting the help of old enemy Techno Troll! What happens next? Find out in Toxic No.290, on sale Wednesday 14th June! 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Combat Colin logo

Here's a sneak peek at the finalised logo for the Combat Colin comic. I'll be putting the finishing touches to the first issue next week and No.1 should be out in July! I'm not taking orders until the comic is printed and ready to go, so stay tuned! More news as it happens!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

SHEDZILLA! (1979)


Here's a really old comic strip of mine from back in 1979. Shedzilla appeared as a one-off story in the first issue of a fanzine called The Alternative Headmaster's Bulletin, published by Gerald Midgley.

Shedzilla was one of the first strips I had published and, yes, it's very crudely drawn and I had a lot to learn back then. (I was 19 at the time.) Fanzines like TAHB were ideal for people starting out, to learn the ropes and get feedback before a lot more practise led to professional comics. 

Anyway, here it is in all its scrawly glory. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

London event announcement

I'm pleased to add another event to my convention appearances this year. I'll be one of the guests at the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia across the weekend of 28th to 30th July. Combat Colin No.1 should be finished by then too so stop me and buy one!
More details of the event:
http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com

Here's an updated list of the conventions I'll be at this year...


INTERNATIONAL COMIC EXPO (ICE) - BRIGHTON
10th June 2017
Hilton Metropole,
Brighton




BIRMINGHAM COMICS SHOW
(part of the BIRMINGHAM COMICS FESTIVAL)
24th June 2017
Birmingham City University




MACC-POW!
1st July 2017
Town Hall,
Macclesfield,
Cheshire
SK10 1EA
http://www.maccpow.co.uk


LONDON FILM AND COMIC CON
28th to 30th July 2017
Olympia,
Hammersmith Road,
London
W14 8UX
http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com


T.B.A.:
5th/6th August 2017
More info soon.




INTERNATIONAL COMIC EXPO (ICE) - BIRMINGHAM
9th September 2017
Holiday Inn,
Birmingham




T.B.A.
23rd September 2017
More info soon.




COVENTRY COMIC CON
1st October 2017
Sports Connexion,
Leamington Road,
Ryton On Dunsmore,
Coventry
CV8 3FL.




LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL
13th to 15th October 2017
Kendal,
Cumbria




LOUGHBOROUGH COMIC-CON
22nd October 2017
Venue to be announced soon.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/loughboroughcomiccon2017/


T.B.A.
10th to 12th November 2017
More info soon.


READING COMIC CON
25th/26th November 2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Desperate Dan meets Postman Prat!

This year's Dandy Annual gave me the opportunity to draw iconic comics hero Desperate Dan as he guest stars in a Postman Prat page. The script is by Nigel Auchterlounie, tying in with a special extra-long 80th anniversary story drawn by various artists. I drew the pages featuring Postman Prat and Keyhole Kate

It was great to have a crack at drawing Desperate Dan. I followed the traditional look but did it in my style. You can see the full story in The Dandy Annual 2018 when it goes on sale in August! 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

See you at the seaside on Saturday!

Here's the floor plan for the International Comic Expo next Saturday, 10th June, in Brighton. Although this plan is subject to change, you should find me where I've indicated. Come along to purchase comics and sketches or just for a chat.

The venue is the Hilton Metropole, right on the Brighton seafront, and, as you can see from the list above, there's going to be a wealth of comics creators present including Pat Mills, Dave Gibbons, Dylan Teague, David Hine, Hannah Berry, Jessica Martin, David Leach and many more!  

Comics beside the seaside! What could be better? Come along and join us on June 10th! 

For more info and tickets, see the official website:
https://brightoncomicexpo.wordpress.com

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Work in progress: Combat Colin

Here's a sneak peek at a section of the cover to Combat Colin No.1. As you can see, it's far from finished so the comic will be ready when it's ready, hopefully to launch at Macc-Pow! on 1st July. 

Most of my time is taken up with mainstream comics work but I'm fitting in work on the Combat Colin comic when I can. As previously mentioned, issue one will have 40 pages, containing all the Combat Colin strips from Action Force from 30 years ago. (Issue No.2 onwards will then reprint the Combat Colin strips from The Transformers.)

I'll keep you all notified of the first issue's progress so make sure to bookmark this blog for all the latest news.  

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

It's Daft Dimension week!

My complimentary copy of the latest Doctor Who Magazine arrived today! It's another great issue packed with previews of episodes 8 to 11 of the current series, interviews, features, and of course comic strips including another Daft Dimension from me.

Doctor Who Magazine No.513 arrives in shops this Thursday, 1st June, and you'll have a choice of two covers. Which one will you go for?

Now I need to crack on with ideas for the next Daft Dimension. Back to the drawing board!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Farewell to Ivy and the Pups

Here's a preview of my strips coming up in next week's Beano. Unfortunately these will be my last contributions to the comic for the time being as Pup Parade and Ivy the Terrible are both being dropped to make way for new strips, new artists. Such is the life of a freelancer and nothing lasts forever. 
I still have work on Toxic, Epic, and Doctor Who Magazine though, and hopefully perhaps I'll be back in the Beano later in the year. It also gives me more time to focus on my own projects and private commissions. My thanks to those of you who followed and supported my Beano strips. Don't miss the last episodes this coming Wednesday, 31st May!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Working on the classics

I've just sent off my first page for The Dandy Annual 2019, which features Keyhole Kate. (Yes, we work way in advance.) It's always a privilege to script and draw such a long-established character that dates right back to The Dandy No.1 in 1937. It's kind of a strange feeling too, illustrating a strip with such a legacy that millions of kids from over the past 80 years have been aware of.

On a personal level, I get a kick out of it because Keyhole Kate was my maternal grandmother's favourite comic strip. I never knew my grandma, who died years before I was born, but my mum often mentioned it. I don't know how grandma would have been aware of Keyhole Kate, but she was a regular reader of Thomson's text-story weekly Red Letter so perhaps she bought a Dandy occasionally too. 

Anyway, back to the present. I won't show you anything of the 2019 annual for a long time yet, but at the top of this post is a panel from one of the Keyhole Kate pages I did for The Dandy Annual 2018, to be published this July/August. 80 years on and still peeking through keyholes! Other strips I've done for this annual are Postman Prat and Kid Cops. You can pre-order the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dandy-Annual-2018-Annuals/dp/1845356446

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Ivy the Terrible - superhero!

No, that doesn't mean Ivy's a terrible superhero. It means Ivy the Terrible becomes a superhero in the latest Beano! Then again, maybe she's not really cut out for it after all. See what happens in Beano No.3886, on sale Wednesday 24th May!

That issue also features another Pup Parade by me too. What's gotten into Sniffy? The only way to find out is to buy the Beano! 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Who would vote for Butt-Face?

Sometimes comic strips work out with strange synchronicity. Before Theresa May announced her snap election, I'd already written a two-part Team Toxic story where the people inexplicably vote for Butt-Face as their leader. Part one will appear in Toxic No.289 this coming Wednesday, 24th May, with part two out on June 14th. As the general election is on June 8th I couldn't have timed it better if I'd tried!

Friday, 19 May 2017

These characters stink!

The Bin Twins are two of the stinkiest, filthiest characters of Hygiene High, one of the strips I draw for D.C. Thomson's Epic every month. Imagine the Swots and Blots without the Swots and you'll get an idea of what the series is like. Written by Niall Murray and drawn by me, the latest episode of Hygiene High can be seen in Epic No.132, on sale this coming Wednesday, 24th May! 

Convention Listings (Updated)


It's been great meeting readers (and fellow guests) at the comics events I've attended this year. I'm doing quite a few up and down the country so here's an updated list. Hope to see you at some of these shows!


Here's an updated list of the comics conventions I'll be at this year. Hopefully there's one near where you live, or that you'll feel like travelling to. Come along and meet the guests!

ROBOT: ILLUSTRATION AND CREATIVE ARTS CONVENTION
25th March 2017
The Millenium Gallery,
Sheffield




STOKE-CON-TRENT
9th April 2017
Staffordshire University,
Leek Road,
Stoke On Trent,
Staffordshire



ENNISKILLEN COMIC FEST
5th and 6th May 2017
Enniskillen,
N. Ireland




INTERNATIONAL COMIC EXPO (ICE) - BRIGHTON
10th June 2017
Hilton Metropole,
Brighton




BIRMINGHAM COMICS SHOW
(part of the BIRMINGHAM COMICS FESTIVAL)
24th June 2017
Birmingham City University




MACC-POW!
1st July 2017
Town Hall,
Macclesfield,
Cheshire
SK10 1EA
http://www.maccpow.co.uk


T.B.A.
28th to 30th July 2017
More info soon.


T.B.A.:
5th/6th August 2017
More info soon.




INTERNATIONAL COMIC EXPO (ICE) - BIRMINGHAM
9th September 2017
Holiday Inn,
Birmingham




T.B.A.
23rd September 2017
More info soon.




COVENTRY COMIC CON
1st October 2017
Sports Connexion,
Leamington Road,
Ryton On Dunsmore,
Coventry
CV8 3FL.




LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL
13th to 15th October 2017
Kendal,
Cumbria




LOUGHBOROUGH COMIC-CON
22nd October 2017
Venue to be announced soon.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/loughboroughcomiccon2017/


T.B.A.
10th to 12th November 2017
More info soon.


READING COMIC CON
25th/26th November 2017

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The OTHER Rock Solid

Scanned from my original art.
As most of you know, one of my first published comic strip series was Rock Solid, Space Hero that appeared in the first five issues of Swiftsure, published by Harrier Comics in 1985. What you may not know is that a few years later in 1992 I revived the character for an unpublished comics newspaper supplement called Stars that Joe Matthews was hoping to get into regional newspapers. 

For this version of Rock Solid (see above) I completely redesigned the character in looks and personality. The original Rock was a callous narcissist, but the revised version was just a bumbling fool, more akin to Combat Colin in personality.

Anyway, some projects never take off and this was one of them but I thought you might like to see the one strip I did of the redesigned Rock Solid.

As for the original Rock Solid, you can read his complete 15 page adventure as a back up in Derek the Troll No.1, available by post from me at my online shop:
http://lewstringer.com/page7.htm


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A couple of preview panels...

...from this week's Beano strips Pup Parade and Ivy the Terrible that I did. At least I think these are the episodes that'll be in this week's issue. I won't have chance to go into town to buy a copy for myself until tomorrow. Too busy drawing my pages for an upcoming issue of Epic

Never Be Without A Beano! Issue No.3885 is in the shops now! Only £2.50.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Combat Report

This is just a progress update on the Combat Colin comic I'll be publishing. Well, actually there hasn't been much progress since the last update as I'm currently busy on mainstream work for Toxic, Epic, Doctor Who Magazine, and Dandy Annual 2019

What I can tell you is that issue 1 will have 40 pages (full cover covers and 36 black and white interior pages) and will reprint all of the Combat Colin strips from Action Force from 1987/88. I still have the cover to draw, the editorial page to write/design, and the introductory strip page to write/draw, so that'll be a few days work when I can fit it in. 

I'm still hoping to launch issue 1 at the Brighton International Comic Expo on 10th June but that might not be possible now. If I miss that date, it'll be launched at the Birmingham Comic Show (part of the Birmingham Comic Festival) on June 24th. 

I'll keep you all posted, so readers of this blog will the first to know! Thanks to everyone for your patience so far.

(Oh, and as for the spiteful type who claimed that people self-publish because of shortfalls of work in the mainstream comics industry; that's just faulty reasoning as usual. Self-publishing is all about having complete creative control of one's intellectual property, and having fun doing it!)

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

This week in BEANO No.3884...

Quick previews of panels from my strips in this week's Beano. The Bash Street Dogs of Pup Parade enjoy lazing in the summer sun...

...whilst Ivy the Terrible asks her mum for a favour. (That won't end well!)

Plus lots of other strips from top Beano creatives such as Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell, Jamie Smart, Barrie Appleby, Hunt Emerson, and more! 
Beano No.3884, out now, with 36 full colour pages for only £2.50. 
https://www.beano.com

All the fun of the Fest

Me, Phil Boyce, Ian Richardson, Yanick Paquette.
The Enniskillen Comic Fest was a very enjoyable weekend. You can read my report of it on my other blog here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/enniskillen-comic-fest-its-all-about.html 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

See you at the Comic Fest!

Today I'm getting stuff ready for the Enniskilen Comic Fest this weekend. I'm afraid that Combat Colin No.1 isn't even close to being finished yet, but I'll be bringing along my other comics Derek the Troll, Brickman Begins!, and Brickman Returns! plus various prints.



Brickman Begins! is in short supply now so get your copy while you can! It won't be reprinted in this format as that book was produced by Active Images, so if I ever do reprint it it'll be different and without the guest pages. 
I'll also be doing sketches of my characters on request, or of any character that I'll draw in my style.

The Comic Fest have released the programme of the events now so here's where you'll find us...


For more info, check out the Enniskillen Comic Fest Facebook page:

Monday, 1 May 2017

Coming up this week...

Here's a few preview panels from the strips I have in print this week. First off, Team Toxic explore the underground caverns of the alien planet they're stranded on. What will they find? See Pits of Peril in Toxic No.288, on sale Wednesday 3rd May. 

Also on sale Wednesday is Beano No.3883, in which Pup Parade are inspired by the cinema...

...and Ivy the Terrible's dad finds where Ivy's left her Lego bricks...

Then, on Thursday 4th May, Doctor Who Magazine No.512 hits the shops and my Daft Dimension strip is inspired by a recent episode of the TV series...


You'll find all of these publications in WH Smith, Asda, newsagents, etc.

Thanks to all of you who follow this blog, and support my work. It's very much appreciated. If there's any of my old strips you'd like to see a sample of, let me know and I'll see if I can scan a couple of examples to show here.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Meanwhile, on Christmas Day 2017...

Who's up for a bit of time travel? You're looking into the future with this panel from a Kid Cops story I've done for The Dandy Annual 2018. It'll be published around August but most readers will traditionally have the book as a present on Christmas Day. 

We work well in advance in the world of comic annuals. I wrote a script for the 2019 annual the other day!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Thank you, Leo!

The work of Leo Baxendale had a huge influence on the UK comics industry, and on me too. Seeing his work in Wham! in 1965 inspired me to create my own comics. Years later, when I was drawing Tom Thug for Buster, I added a cameo appearance by Grimly Feendish (one of Leo's best characters) into a story I did for the 1990 Buster / Monster Fun Holiday Special (see above). 

Sadly, Leo passed away last Sunday, age 86. There have been an incredible number of tributes to him online today, showing how much the artist and his creations were respected. Here's a tribute that I posted on my Blimey! blog this morning:

https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/leo-baxendale-1930-2017.html

Rest In Peace, Leo, greatest humourist of British comics, and thank you for all the laughs and inspiration your pages gave to me.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Kid Cops, back on the beat

When The Dandy had its revamp in 2010, one of the strips I was commissioned to do was Kid Cops. Basically, as the title suggests, it was about two lads who police their local area dealing with bullies and suchlike. 

The initial concept was created at Dandy H.Q. so I was required to supply scripts based on that premise, design/name the characters, and draw the strip. (Their names are Officer Bobby and Sergeant Nick in case you didn't know.) The weekly Dandy ended in 2012 but since then they've popped up in The Dandy Annual and appeared in five mini-strips there last year.

This year, for The Dandy Annual 2018, Kid Cops return in two full page stories. I'll be showing some preview panels in the months to come, but I just wanted to give you that info for now. 

The Dandy Annual 2018 will be on sale late summer / early autumn. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Early days...

 As most of you know, my first published work was in comics fanzines in the 1970s. (Quite a few of us had our start that way and it was a great way to get experience.) This photo is from late 1979 at the launch of the third issue of my fanzine, After Image. Well, I say "the launch". It was actually me taking a few copies to the local social club to show my mates. 

Yes, that's me in the lumberjack shirt. Well, it was 1979! I didn't have a weird afro by the way; it's a shadow from the flash. 
Cover art by Paul Ward.
If you'd like to see the fanzine for yourself, completely free, head over to this brilliant repository of long-forgotten fanzines:
https://davidprice5.wixsite.com/classicukcomicszines/after-image-metamorph-fantasy-expre

And check out many more 'zines that have been uploaded (with permission of course):
https://davidprice5.wixsite.com/classicukcomicszines