Sunday, October 14, 2012

The day Tom Thug met Thundercap


Crossovers in British comics aren't that common so, back in 1989, I thought I'd have a go at one. Buster editor Allen Cummings was always open to new ideas (as well as being a good bloke and one of the best editors that Fleetway/IPC/Egmont ever had) so I pitched to him the possibility of my Tom Thug strip crossing over with Mike Higgs' Thundercap within the pages of the same issue.

I'd known Mike Higgs for several years, having worked for a short time as his assistant on numerous children's books in 1983/84. Mike was also a hero of mine when I was a kid reading his fantastic Cloak strip in Pow! in the 1960s so I always considered it a privilege to work with him. Although we'd "jammed" on various Moonbird books I thought it'd be really good to combine our styles in a comic, and as we were both freelancing for Buster in 1989 this seemed the perfect time to do it.

Allen Cummings liked the idea and I set to work on the script. I always wrote my own Tom Thug scripts, but Thundercap was usually written by another Buster contributor (Roy Davis I think). Allen graciously allowed me to write both strips for the crossover. The scripts were approved (with a change to the punchline), and Mike and I set to work. I roughed out the pages in pencil, lightly indicating where Mike's characters might be, and inked in my characters (Tom Thug, teacher, classmates). If memory serves me correctly I then delivered the pages to Mike's studio in Birmingham where he added and inked his contributions. After posting off the pages to Fleetway, lettering was added by Mike Peters. 



We were quite pleased with the results. Having been Mike Higgs' assistant in the past, "ghosting" his work, our styles had a certain similarity in places so the jam session turned out very smoothly. If you're interested in who did what, basically Mike drew all the Thundercap page but I drew the figures of Tom Thug and the bike, and I drew all of the Tom Thug's Skooldayz page with Mike adding Thundercap, the mouse, and the TV crew.

If you ever want to seek out a copy of the comic it appears in, it's the issue of Buster dated 15th July 1989. 

Cover by Tom Paterson

8 comments:

1000MB said...

Thanks for this Lew comic crossovers are one of the reasons I love comics. Cracking collaboration!

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks. It was fun to do so it's good to know the readers like it as well.

Peter Gray said...

I enjoyed that...I like it when you come up with these creative ideas in your comic strip and writing..
its like a breath of fresh air..

Lew Stringer said...

I hope I'm creative every week Peter. :-) Often it's down to how accommodating the comic is to such experimentation.

ROOKSBY said...

Hi Lew, I've just discovered your site & just wanted to express my admiration - terrific stuff throughout, & obviously a massive labour of love - thanks for bothering.

Cheers also for uploading those old copies of '70s comics like Countdown & TV Action - darn near brought a tear to my jaded old eye they did! :)

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Rooksby. It's always good to hear that the time spent on this blog is worthwhile. I hope you enjoy what's to come as well.

Coimicí Gael/Aidan Courtney said...

Man, I loved that. Reminded me of me childhood reading Buster. One of my favourite comics when I was young. Love the Tom Paterson cover too. I used to love his Adam's Apple pointing necks (that was him wasn't it I could be wrong), the toadstools, socks and fluids that seemed to pepper his work. Memories ah memories.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, those adam's apples seemed to have a life of their own, drawn by Tom. Thanks for commenting.

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