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