Dropped from The Sun‘s print edition earlier this year, popular football strip Striker, created by Pete Nash, looks on course to make a come back – both in the paper and online, via YouTube.
Collections of the strip, first published in The Sun back in 1985, are also finally in the works.
“I was hoping I’d be able to make a firm announcement on Striker‘s future by now but I still haven’t got the signatures that will enable me to confirm my plans. Having said that, everything is still on track,” Pete told fans via the Strikerworld forum yesterday
“As things stand, Striker will be launching on Youtube sometime next month and, subject to contract, in The Sun as well.
“Having a Striker channel on Youtube and supported by social media will enable Striker to be independent of The Sun,” he explains, “while at the same time giving fans the option to follow Striker in a print or digital format.
“The gaming and animation plans are also close to contracts being signed but we may not be able to get the animated games shown until autumn or winter.”
Collections of the Striker strip – which, pre-its current digitally created format was drawn by Pete himself and, later, John Cooper – are now in the planning stages, to the delight of long term readers.
“One thing that is firmly in my control is the publication of the first Striker book of what I hope will ultimately become a box set of the complete collection,” Pete reveals.
“Volume One will be a bumper hardback book of around 300 pages containing all the stories from Striker‘s start in 1985 to approximately 1990. As an added bonus, I will also be telling the behind-the-scenes story of Striker from its creation to the present day, with each book featuring the relevant chapters from that period.
“As a best guess at this stage, I have calculated it would take around 15 books to bring the collection up to the present day. Publication of the entire set will depend on me breaking even and hopefully making a profit, but I’m hopeful there will be sufficient demand to achieve that. If it is profitable, I would be looking to release a new volume every three to four months.
“…Timewise, I’d be looking to release the first Striker book in time for this Christmas.”
There’s good news for fans of Pete’s other published strip, Psycops, which ran ran in The Sun in the 1990s and centred on the adventures of Charity, a female private detective and her partner Gabriel (actually a telepathic alien in disguise).
“Again, as long as the venture is profitable, I’d be up for releasing a bumper book of the entire Psycops collection that was featured in The Sun from 1994 to roughly the end of 1997,” says Peter. “It would also feature a behind-the-scenes story of the strip as well, including how I came to create it and why it came to an end.”
So – some Strikerless days ahead but all being well it will be back with a vengeance next month.
Pete cautions that when Striker does return, readers can expect the kind of drama that has ensured its popularity, a far cry from the comedy of the Haiti story first published in 2003, recently republished online with Pete’s permission on Strikerworld.
“Striker has always had its dark and dramatic periods where humour has been absent,” notes Pete. “These periods have usually focussed on Nick, and they are the events that have made Nick into the character he is today.
“I think the Haiti story, which in my view is the funniest Striker story ever, has perhaps made people think there was an era when Striker generally had more humour. But don’t forget that ‘Haiti’ came on the back of what at that time was the most dramatic and shocking story ever – the shark attack. Aside from a memorable one-liner from Eric, there was nothing funny about that story!
“Tragedy has also been a feature of Striker since the beginning – without wanting to spoil the story, who remembers the episode featuring Tanya, the runaway girl from Australia?
“Long-time Striker followers will know that the most light-hearted stories have usually come during the summer months between the football seasons,” Pete explains. “And I would suggest that while we all love to laugh, if Striker had only ever been about comedy, it would have never have stood the test of time.
“As for the future, the comedy will be back eventually but Striker’s return will continue with the drama with Nick before the laughter can start again. And there are other unresolved issues as well… remember Todd and the attic?
• If you’re a Striker fan, then sign up for Strikerworld here – they’re currently running a charity auction for some rare Striker goodies, including a signed copy of the 1988 annual, in aid of Macmillan and Diabetes UK
With thanks to Mick Wall