Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Summer of '76

1976, age 17, Trafalgar Square, hair and flares.
People say "time flies", but this really does feel like all of its 42 years ago. This was the day I first visited a comic shop (Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, which was then in Berwick Street), and bought a load of comics fanzines which re-ignited my childhood ambitions to work in comics!

It'd take several years before I sold my first cartoon (in 1983, to Marvel UK) but all that time gave me valuable experience, producing fanzine strips, getting feedback and advice, quitting my old job, making new friends in comics, both fans and pros, etc. Happy days from long, long ago!
Summer of '76. Reading Jack Kirby's 2001: A Space Odyssey adaptation.


Monday, 23 April 2018

I'm a Scary Monster!

The latest issue of the American magazine Scary Monsters features a plug for me and my Blimey! blog. I'd given the mag a review several weeks ago and they were kind enough to reciprocate. A nice surprise, and a privilege to be featured in their magazine. 
If you haven't heard of Scary Monsters, it's a quarterly magazine devoted to classic monsters of film and TV. The current issue (No.108) looks back at The Outer Limits TV series of the 1960s, along with stacks of other articles in its 180 pages. If you liked classic horror mags such as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Monsters of the Movies, and suchlike you'll enjoy this! 



Available from Forbidden Planet and all good comic shops, or by mail order from eBay sellers and Hemlock Books:
http://www.hemlockbooks.co.uk/Shop/category/38

More about Scary Monsters Magazine at their website:
http://www.mymoviemonsters.com/store.php/mymoviemonsters/pg14663/scary_monsters_magazine

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Wythenshawe Comic Con

I've been invited to quite a few conventions up North this year, including the first Wythenshawe Comic Con on 9th June. Looking forward to it! You can find out more info from the details on the poster above or visit their Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/wythenshawecomiccon/


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

It's Beano and Epic week!

On sale Wednesday 18th April is Epic No.145 featuring a new Hygiene High two pager written by Niall Murray and drawn by me. This time, the pongy pupils go to the school disco! Chaos is certain. 

The same day, Beano No.3931 will also be published, and the Bash Street Pups are back! Only as guest stars though! I always enjoyed drawing Pup Parade for the comic so this week I thought I'd put them into the Big Eggo strip. Never Be Without A Beano to find out what happens!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Thank you, Stoke-Con-Trent!

It faced competition from several other popular comics events taking place around the UK this weekend but Stoke-Con-Trent was a well attended show and good fun. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table for a sketch or a comic, and thanks of course to organiser Adrian Tooth and his team for their hospitality and hard work running the show. Great to see comics pals Mike Collins, Lee Sullivan, and David Leach again, and to meet new people too such as Ben Krefta and Red Queen Art.


More confusion over who's who between Lee Sullivan and me. Not just because of a passing similarity in looks and choice of clothes, but other spooky coincidences. This time the hotel got our rooms mixed up. To simplify matters here's a photo for easy identification. I'm the one on the left... er, right.... I think.


Friday, 13 April 2018

Destination: Stoke-Con-Trent

Last reminder that I'll be one of the guests at Stoke-Con-Trent this Sunday (15th April) which takes place at Staffordshire University at (you guessed it) Stoke-On-Trent. Lots of artists will be there, including newcomers who could be the superstars of tomorrow! Come along and meet everyone!

STOKE-CON-TRENT
Staffordshire University
Sunday 15th April 2018
http://stokecontrent.co.uk

Here's the rest of the comics shows I'll be at this year....


OLDHAM COMIC CON
Saturday 12th May 2018
https://en-gb.facebook.com/oldhamcomiccon/


WIGAN COMIC CON
Saturday 26th May 2018
https://www.facebook.com/WigancomicconNWCCEvents/


STC25
Fab Cafe, Manchester
Sunday 3rd June 2018
https://www.facebook.com/stconline/


WYTHENSHAWE COMIC CON,
South Manchester
9th June 2018
https://www.facebook.com/wythenshawecomiccon/


MACC-POW! No.3
Saturday 23rd June 2018
Macclesfield.
http://maccpow.co.uk


To be announced:
27th - 29th July 2018
More info soon.


To be announced:
18th, 19th August 2018.
More info soon.


To Be Announced
1st/2nd September 2018
More info soon.


ICE 2018
Saturday 15th September
Birmingham.
https://internationlcomicexpo.wordpress.com





Wednesday, 11 April 2018

New event for June!

Now that it's been announced on the convention's website I can reveal that I'll be a guest at STC25 on Sunday 3rd June, at the FAB Cafe in Manchester. The event celebrates the 25th anniversary of Sonic the Comic, a title I was a writer on during the 1990s. 

This will be the first Sonic event I've attended so I'm looking forward to catching up with friends from those days, as well as meeting readers who read it back then! Find out more details at the event's Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/stconline/





Preview of TOXIC 304... and a few thoughts

There's a new issue of Toxic in the shops today, and that means a brand new Team Toxic adventure; Day of the Giant Bottoms!

Butt-Face is back with a new Ro-Butt... but Doc Shock creates a cheeky monster of his own to stop it! Find out what happens in Toxic No.304! Here's the polybag it's in to look out for...
Unfortunately, I've noticed there's an element of comics fandom (and even some pros) who have a sniffy attitude towards magazines like Toxic, rubbishing them as "bagged tat" and a blight on publishing. Most comics reviewers tend to ignore them, as though comic strips in these magazines somehow don't count. Perhaps they should bear in mind that Toxic and similar magazines often have more readers in the UK than most highly praised American comics do in the whole of the USA. 
Not that I'm advocating that DC and Marvel should bag their comics with water pistols and football stickers of course. Perish the thought! However, a less dismissive attitude towards modern British comics/magazines would be welcome. Toxic is aimed at children. No one is expecting adults to get the same kick out of it as a 7 year old would, but just to acknowledge that if its target audience is enjoying it (and that the mag has survived for 16 years so far) then it must be doing something right. 

Here endeth the sermon!


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

See you at STOKE-CON-TRENT!

This Sunday, 15th April, will see Stoke-Con-Trent 8 take place at Staffordshire University. There's a lot of guests appearing from the worlds of comics and entertainment and I'm pleased to say I'm one of them.

So... if you're interested in an exclusive sketch drawn to your request, or buying my comics, or just want to stop and chat, come along on Sunday! 

For more info and the full guest list, see the convention website:
https://www.facebook.com/StokeCONTrent/ 



Monday, 9 April 2018

Don't give up!

Here's just a few of the stack of rejection letters I accumulated in the years when I was breaking onto the business. I'm posting a photo of some of them here as an encouragement to those of you with ambitions and passions to keep following your dreams. I know how discouraging it can be to have knockbacks or, worse, if they don't reply at all, but perseverance and practice deliver results in the end! Keep developing, keep trying. Stick at it and good luck!


Sunday, 8 April 2018

New gallery

I've added a new gallery to my website to show a few samples of my more recently published work. Take a look:
http://lewstringer.com/page8.htm



Saturday, 7 April 2018

Preview: In print next week

Here's an advance look at a couple of my strips for the coming week. Wednesday 11th April sees Toxic No.304 hit the stands, and it'll include a new Team Toxic two pager by me featuring a rampaging Ro-Butt! Can Team Toxic save the day? 

Beano No.3930 will also be on  sale that day, which will include another Big Eggo strip I did. Terry Tuff is still chasing our affable ostrich, trying to capture him and bring him back to Beanotown Zoo. What happens next? Find out on April 11th.


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Derek update

As mentioned a while back, I've now sold out of Derek the Troll but a 2nd print will be coming soon. I've just sent the files to the printers this morning. It'll be the same as the first printing, except for a few small tweaks such as adding my 'Lew Stringer Comics' logo to the cover and updating the ads for my other comics. The content remains the same, reprinting all the Derek the Troll strips plus the complete Rock Solid, Space Hero serial from the 1980s. Some of my earliest work!

If you missed out on the first printing, don't worry; I'll be announcing when the second print is available to order as soon as it's ready.

Also... there'll be a brand new Derek the Troll series this summer in a new digital comic! More news soon!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

In print this week...

The Beano No.3929 will be out this Wednesday (4th April) and if they print the Big Eggo strips in the order I drew them the image above gives you a glimpse of this week's episode. One of the best things about working for the Beano is that all the characters live in Beanotown and can interact with each other. Fun for the readers and it also gives artists the opportunity to draw characters they wouldn't usually draw. Therefore I had Roger the Dodger and Danny and Toots of the Bash Street Kids cameo in this week's story.

On sale Thursday 5th April is the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine. We can't really use the 13th Doctor in the strips until Jodie Whittaker's series starts in the Autumn, so it gives me a good reason to focus on some of the other Doctors, such as the First Doctor in this month's Daft Dimension strip!

Both Doctor Who Magazine and Beano are on sale at all good newsagents and supermarkets.


Monday, 2 April 2018

Thoughts and updates...

If you have a smartphone with Location Services switched on you'll know that Google tracks you everywhere you go. Here's a map of everywhere Google tracked me in 2017 as I was out and about at various conventions and suchlike. You have no privacy when you carry a phone.

There's the thinking that "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear", so my conscience is clear but it's still an odd feeling to be monitored like this for advertising purposes or more sinister motives. 

Anyway, I'll be out and about even more this year, possibly with location services switched off. :) 

I'll be posting updates about my convention appearances soon, as there's a few more dates to add! I have a very busy summer ahead, and juggling shows with work means that I'll be making some changes. The most drastic that you'll notice is that I'll be updating my Blimey! blog far less than in previous years. I'll still post a couple of items every week, to keep it going, and I'm sure some weeks will be busier than others, but after 11 years of blogging about old comics I hope you'll appreciate that I've "done my bit" as it were. 

This blog will continue to be updated more often though, with news of my latest work, reflections on past strips, and thoughts about the comics industry. I hope you'll stick around! 

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Easter 1990, Tom Thug style!

With the 14th April 1990 issue, Buster comic underwent a significant revamp, gaining a new masthead and gaining 'all colour' throughout its 32 pages. (It had previously featured a large amount of black and white pages.) Truth be told, some of the 'all colour' pages were only done with basic primary spot colour rather than hand inked/painted full colour. However, I was fortunate in that Tom Thug had proved popular enough to be one of the pages to switch to proper full colour.

Above is the Tom Thug's Skooldayz page I did for that issue. The first in full colour for the new-look Buster. I created a new logo for it because the previous blackboard style one would have looked too drab for a colour page. I thought a tatty, stained exercise book style would be more suitable and still 'Thuggish'.


As the strip has an Easter theme I thought I'd resurrect it for this weekend. Some of you may remember the page from 28 years ago! Happy Easter!


Friday, 30 March 2018

Easter Beano - out now!

The Easter issue of the Beano is in the shops now. It includes loads of Easter-themed strips, although admittedly my Big Eggo strip doesn't fit that category. (I didn't know this would be the Easter issue when I wrote the script.) Even so, he's still hunting his egg, - and being hunted by Terry Tuff! 

The Beano is very rarely bagged with gifts these days, but this week is an exception for the holiday period. Here's what to look out for in your local shops...

You can find out more about this issue at the Beano website:
https://www.beano.com/posts/inside-beano-no-3928


Thursday, 29 March 2018

ZAP!

I've been working late hours again this week but I've met my deadlines now so I'm taking a few days off. I know that many of us who are freelancers work long hours, often into the night, and ultimately it's not healthy. Let's be good to ourselves, folks. 

On a lighter note, here's a screen grab of a panel from the latest Team Toxic strip that I've just emailed to the editor. It'll be in print on 2nd May in Toxic No.305.


(Below: Same panel prior to colouring.)



Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Your thoughts on comic cons

I've said it before, but I really enjoy attending comic cons. I enjoy travelling to places I might not otherwise visit, meeting the readers, and the cameraderie of fellow comics creators. I have ten events on my calendar for this year (including three still to be announced) and I'm looking forward to them all, particularly the summer ones.

I know some people think that "comic cons" should focus solely on comics and not film and TV. There's no question that a comics-only event will attract people who are comics fans, but I've found it can work to a comics guest's advantage to have actors on the bill at some shows. I've met a lot of people who wouldn't think of attending a comics-only show, but are attracted by the film/TV aspect and are then pleasantly surprised to find guests from the Beano and Marvel comics there too. The recent Bath Comic-Con for example only had four comics guests but we were very busy most of the day! Same for last year's London Film and Comic Con, which had 50 comics guests and maybe twice as many actors but was the busiest show I've ever done. Sometimes it doesn't work like that, and some film fans aren't interested in comics at all of course, but all shows are worth trying to find out. 

That's from my perspective as a guest anyway, but what of you, the readers? Are you happy with the conventions you've attended, or are there things you'd change or add to the day? Perhaps you haven't attended any cons for some reasons? Any constructive thoughts? Please post a comment below and let's see what happens...


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

DTT reviews Combat Colin No.2

"...slip back to more innocent times, when a machine gun wielding nutter was a perfectly acceptable as a humour strip character."

My thanks to John Freeman at the Down the Tubes website for his review of Combat Colin No.2. (See it here: https://downthetubes.net/?p=43175&fb) He raises a fair point about Colin's use of firearms; something that's bothered me somewhat in modern times, as it was more acceptable in comics of 1988 when those strips first appeared. In my defence, as the series progresses, Colin's weapons become ever-more surreal. (Look out next issue for the Tarby Gun whose bullets drive people mad by telling mother-in-law jokes, or the Saucepan-Shooter, that fires saucepans.)

As John points out, a strip like Combat Colin just wouldn't be commissioned today for a kids' comic. In truth, it wouldn't have been commissioned by IPC or D.C. Thomson back then either due to the gun aspect, but Marvel UK were sensible enough to regard it as a spoof of gun nuts, and I think the readers understood that. 

Anyway, thanks again to John for his positive review! Remember, if you're interested in a copy of Combat Colin for yourselves, you can buy them directly from me here:
http://lewstringer.com/page7.htm


Monday, 26 March 2018

Big Eggo in pencil

On my drawing board this morning is another Big Eggo strip for the Beano. Here's a photo of part of it at the rough pencil stage. The finished strip will be in print in early May.



Updated convention list

Updated convention list:
15th April:
Stoke-Con-Trent
http://stokecontrent.co.uk



1st/2nd June:
To be confirmed.

9th June:
Wythenshawe Comic Con
https://www.facebook.com/wythenshawecomiccon/

23rd June:
Macc-Pow! (Macclesfield)
http://maccpow.co.uk

1st/2nd September:
to be announced.

15th September:
ICE 2018 Birmingham
https://internationlcomicexpo.wordpress.com


Saturday, 24 March 2018

All aboard for EPIC No.144

There's a new issue of D.C. Thomson's Epic magazine out on Wednesday, and it'll contain another Hygiene High two-pager written by Niall Murray and drawn by me. This time, the stinky kids cause chaos on a train! See the results in Epic No.144, on sale 28th March.

As a bonus, I thought you might like to see the comparison between my original black and white artwork and the published version after I'd coloured it and cleaned up any mistakes in Photoshop...


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Frankendrac on the rampage!

It's outrageous! Frankendrac is being anti-social in Spud City, scaring old ladies, burping in the library, and showing his bum to newlyweds! Why can't Team Toxic stop him? Find out in the latest issue of Toxic (No.303), out today!





It's Wednesday so it must be Beano day!

Catch Big Eggo again in the latest Beano (No.3927), on sale today. He's quite a spry ostrich for an 80 year old! 

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Photos from Bath Comic-Con

Conventions are always a gamble and no one can predict how well they'll go, but Bath Comic-Con yesterday was a resounding success. Far busier than anyone expected, and a very enjoyable day. My thanks to Paul Waidley and his Creed Conventions team for organizing the event and looking after the guests. 

Great to catch up with Graham Bleathman, who I've known for 40 years now (but rarely see at events) since the days when we started out doing our fanzines way back in the late 1970s! I think we both turned pro around the same time too. You'll know Graham's famous cutaways of course, of various Gerry Anderson craft and more that he did for Thunderbirds the Comic and more, and he's also illustrated many covers for The People's Friend. See his website here:
http://www.grahambleathman.co.uk/
I also enjoyed catching up with Lee Townsend, Simon Wyatt, Sam Denham, Jonathan Green, Andy Richmond, John Anderson, and more. Many thanks to all those who stopped by my table for a sketch or to buy a comic.

Here's a few more photos of the day. Some taken by me, some are screengrabs from Twitter... 
Young Theo in the photo above gave me this smashing picture of Combat Colin that he'd drawn. He's a better artist than I was at his age! Keep drawing, Theo!