The latest issue of Toxic, in the shops today, comes with a free gift of a wind-up Giant Bug, - and it ties in with the Team Toxic strip inside.
When I was a kid I always liked the idea of the free gift being featured in a story in the comic itself. Usually it'd be on the cover, with Korky the Cat on The Dandy using a Thunder-Bang to scare someone, or a Bad Penny on the cover of Smash! with her free cardboard fighter plane.
The idea of such tie-ins tended to die out over the years but in recent times Nigel Parkinson has drawn a few stories for The Beano connecting a free gift or two with the Dennis the Menace story. So when Andy Davidson, editor of Toxic, asked me to come up with a Team Toxic story to promote the free Giant Bug I was only to happy to oblige. (We'd tried it once before, with some free clockwork teeth, but there was a problem with the gift that delayed it a few issues so it didn't quite work out.)
For the Giant Bug story I decided that just featuring a clockwork toy wouldn't be in keeping with the type of city-endangering threats that Team Toxic usually dealt with. So in the comic strip the bug becomes a mutated giant creature rampaging through a school. However it still resembles the free gift so hopefully once the kids have read the issue they'll be acting out the story with their wind-up bug smashing through their Lego models or something. At least that's the sort of thing I would have played out with it when I was a child.
Toxic No.156 is out now from newsagents and supermarkets.