Monday, April 07, 2014

Strips 78 booklet

Art by DAVE GIBBONS
In the days before Internet social networking, the Society of Strip Illustration (SSI) was an ideal organization for bringing comic creators together to socialize and promote the comics industry. I was a member myself in the 1980s, but a few years earlier, in 1978, the SSI held their first event, Strips 78, in London. Here are a few pages from the accompanying A5 booklet, with artwork rarely seen before outside of the SSI membership. 

Firstly, an introduction from Dennis Hooper, who was the Chairman in 1978 and, as no doubt you'll know, previously the editor of Countdown and art editor of TV21. This is of particular interest as it explains the origins of the SSI and how it grew from the Comics 101 event that Denis Gifford had organized in 1976. (Click to see it larger.)


Now here are some of the pages drawn by SSI members exclusively for the 52 page Strips 78 booklet...

BRIAN LEWIS


BILL TITCOMBE

MARTIN ASBURY

GEOFF CAMPION

DENIS GIFFORD

JOHN M. BURNS

JOHN RICHARDSON

KEVIN O'NEILL

LEO BAXENDALE and BRIAN BOLLAND

MICK McMAHON and DICK MILLINGTON

Finally, the centrespread, showing the names of the editors on the IPC weeklies at the time...

10 comments:

Harry Payne said...

Ah, the SSI. To this day I can't quite understand why they let me edit their magazine; and I think it was mutual. Still, nobody drowned and that was a good thing.

I think I've still got one of your original change of address cards for the SSI mag in a box somewhere. Want it back if I can find it?

Lew Stringer said...

Nah, I've still got a bunch of those myself somewhere. Shred it. :)

Richard Williams said...

Terrific post Lew, always great to see things like this and that artwork is truly brilliant!

Lew Stringer said...

It certainly is. So much talent in one booklet. I thought there'd be more interest in this post as it covers various favourite artists but apparently not so far.

BristleKRS said...

Very nice stuff - and is that Powerman on the cover too?

Particularly like the John Richardson sheet. A very distinctive style which I've only just recently noticed on different things. I think the first time I became aware of his work was on The Mean Arena, early 1980s 2000AD strip about 'street football' which I rather enjoyed but seemingly few others did. Lately rereading Scream, and his artwork shines through.

Looking at the Strips 78 spread, it looks like a lot of his work was for girls' comics, is that right?

Lew Stringer said...

That's Powerman but it's an interior page. The cover is the image after it with the logo. I just used Dave's page to lead off the post as it's more dynamic.

Yes, John Richardson did a lot of work for Tammy, including a long run on covers. I'll show some on here at some point.

Hibernia Comics said...

That is brilliant Lew, thanks for sharing, I love the McMahon iece, and the Brian Lewis one stands out too. Great stuff.

Simon said...

That's an amazing bit of booklet - so much great art!! thanks for posting. Were there any more meetings/ booklets like this one?

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, the SSI used to produce a regular (ish) A5 mag for members. I'll dig them out and show some pages here at some point.

I don't know if they had any more events like the Strips 78 one, but they had regular monthly meetings. When I was a member we used to meet in the Sketch Club in London's Dilke Street. A place founded by Tom Browne, the grandfather of British humour comics!

I only attended a couple of meetings myself though, as I didn't always have time to go down to London. I first met Neil Gaiman at one of those get togethers, back when he was just breaking into comics. He certainly did well for himself!

Phil Rushton said...

I love the Campion piece. He rarely gets the sort of praise he deserves, yet to my mind he was Fleetway's equivalent to Jack Kirby at Marvel! When it came to action/adventure series there was quite simply nothing he couldn't draw. What's more, his long run as cover artist for Lion showed that he had an uncanny knack for producing definitive images of all their major characters, whether he worked on the weekly continuity or not. Just like Kirby in his heyday there were very few of his illustrations that weren't suitable for framing as a pin-up!

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