Friday, February 15, 2008
Derek the Sheep = Norbert le Mouton
Gary Northfield's popular Beano strip Derek the Sheep has been collected into a 64 page softback book for the French market. Published by Actes-Sud-l'An 2 the full colour Norbert le Mouton album collects the early Derek material.
"The stories are pretty much a 'Year One' of Derek's strips from The Beano, give or take a couple of months" says Gary. "All the artwork has been remastered; re-scanned at a much higher resolution, re-tweaked and re-coloured with some extra panels to keep the story lengths uniform. I even had to redraw the last story as I'd lost the original artwork!"
Norbert le Mouton was launched at the Angouleme comics festival a few weeks ago, with impressive results. "We sold out of the 40 copies the publishers had taken along by Saturday lunchtime," said Gary, "and had to pinch the editor's personal stash of 12 copies for Sunday, which we sold before I sped off for my train".
Derek the Sheep is an unusual Beano strip in that the creator retains the copyright. It's also unusual in that its style is nothing like the Beano "house style" (if such a thing still exists), - a factor that made the strip stand out. Gary's style is basic but genuinely funny and that, along with its great comedy timing, made it a hit with the readers.
Fans of the strip in the UK will be pleased to hear that Bloomsbury will be publishing a Derek the Sheep hardback this September. "It will comprise the same stories (as Norbert le Mouton)" says Gary, "but with Beano-esque speech bubbles as opposed to handwritten, and with a totally different cover".
Pages from Norbert le Mouton can be seen at the publisher's website here: