Wednesday, June 20, 2018

James Hansen

I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of the artist James Hansen (often known as Jimmy Hansen) who died on Tuesday 19th June 2018. Although I never met him, I had communicated with him several times on Facebook and of course I was well aware of his work for comics such as Whizzer and Chips, Buster, Beano, Dandy, Wallace and Gromit, and many more.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Jimmy Hansen drew thousands of pages for British comics, working on strips such as The Bumpkin Billionaires, Ricky Rainbow, P5, a stint on Dennis the Menace, and Buster amongst others. He was the cover artist on Buster for the last several years of the comic, bringing a great sense of energy and fun to the strip, as he did with all his pages. 

In more recent times, he contributed the sci-fi strip Slash Moron to Aces Weekly, which he worked on with Bambos Georgiou and John Burns.


Tributes are starting to come in from people who knew and worked with him, remarking on his professionalism and friendliness. He was one of the top humour artists in the business whose work entertained countless readers over the decades. 

My condolences to James' family and friends on their loss. 

Here's a small selection of pages by the artist...














Preview: BEANO No.3940

There's a new issue of the Beano out today, and Bananaman takes the cover position. You can find out more about this issue at Beano.com:

https://www.beano.com/posts/inside-beano-no-3940-a-superhero-without-his-powers

There's also a new Big Eggo strip from me. Who has made Eggo so angry? Find out by buying the Beano this week!




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Comic Cruelty


The phrase "You couldn't get away with that in a comic now" is often overused, but you definitely couldn't get away with this story today. In fact, some comics wouldn't have published it back then either!

This episode of Percy's Pets is from Smash! Annual 1968, writer unknown (possibly Les Lilley?), and drawn by Stan McMurtry. The opening panel is vicious enough, with poor Percy being clouted so hard by his dad that his chewing gum flies out of his mouth, but the child cruelty continues throughout the story.

Smacking a naughty child is bad enough, but Percy doesn't do anything to deserve such violent treatment. The whole story revolves around how funny it apparently is for good-natured Percy to be beaten by his bad-tempered dad. 

Much as I love the Odhams comics of the 1960s, they could often be irresponsible in their comedy-violence. It can be argued that they were so over the top that the violence is on the level of a Punch and Judy Show and not to be taken seriously. I'd usually agree with that, and the way that Ken Reid handled such material, for example, was genuinely funny. This one, I'm not so sure about.

As a child, I'd find stories like this amusing, and surely that's the important thing? After all, the story is aimed at kids. To put it in context, 50 years ago, shamefully enough, it was commonplace for parents to smack their kids, so scenes like this wouldn't seem unusual then. As an adult, I find it somewhat disturbing and I'm glad comics don't feature parents belting their kids now. (Although Biffa Bacon spoofs this perfectly in adult comic Viz.) What's your opinion? Post a comment below...




The Power Pack of Ken Reid reaches 100% funding!

The popularity of the work of the late Ken Reid has been confirmed in that the crowdfunding campaign to reprint his 1960s Odhams work has reached 100% in just 18 days! 

The two-volume hardback set will reprint Ken's Frankie Stein, Jasper the Grasper, Queen of the Seas, Dare-A-Day-Davy and The Nervs from the pages of Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! 

On his Kazoop!! blog, the books' publisher Irmantas Povilaika said: "I am happy to announce that the campaign has now reached 100 per cent of its goal! The most recent supporter was the 17 year-old British Artist/Satirist Zoom Rockman, and this demonstrates that the appreciation of Ken’s work goes way beyond nostalgia!"

Raising an important point, Irmantas continued "There are still nearly three weeks to go, and the fact that the goal has now been reached does not mean that further contributions aren’t accepted! The Etherington brothers achieved 24 000 per cent with their recent Kickstarter project! :)"

He concluded, "Remember that backers of the campaign will be the only ones who will be proud owners of the slipcase edition and the prints of original artwork – these perks won’t be available to the general public when the campaign ends and the books are printed!"

To back the project and pre-order the books, visit the crowdfunding page here:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-power-pack-of-ken-reid-books#/

A few weeks ago I interviewed Irmantas about the project and you can read that here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-power-pack-of-ken-reid-ready-for.html


Monday, June 18, 2018

35 years in comics!


It's been 35 years since I sold my first professional cartoon; "What If Iron Man lived up to his name?" It appeared in Marvel UK's The Daredevils No.7, back in June 1983 (cover dated July), under the editorship of Bernie Jaye. Up to that point I'd received rejections from IPC, D.C. Thomson, and even my local paper, but Alan Moore (who was very supportive of new creators) encouraged me to submit stuff to Marvel. I still remember the feeling of excitement upon hearing that they had accepted my work. 

I'd submitted several cartoons on the "What If..?" theme and they used one a month, paying just £5 each, but it was a start! It soon led to work for other Marvel comics, and for other publishers too. I'll always be grateful to Alan Moore for the encouragement and to Bernie Jaye for publishing my first material. 

You never reach "superstar" status in humour comics, like some superhero / sci-fi artists do, but it's been a busy and varied career and I've made a lot of good friends along the way so that's reward enough for me. Although some diverge outside of comics into computer games, storyboarding, advertising, etc, I've managed to make a living exclusively in comics for 35 years, so I count myself very fortunate for that. Thanks to those of you who have bought and supported my work over the years!

If you want to see what I'm up to these days, check out Big Eggo in The Beano, Team Toxic in Toxic, Hygiene High in Epic, and The Daft Dimension in Doctor Who Magazine. PLUS catch up with reprints of my old work in comics such as Combat Colin, available directly from me:

...and 35 years in comics is a good time to start a brand new series of Derek the Troll stories, coming your way this Saturday, 23rd June, in the new online comic Goof! Check it out:

Goof! will be launching at Macc-Pow! on Saturday, so see you there!



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