Launching on Wednesday, the Kickstarter-funded Striker comic magazine arrives in selected high street newsagents and on subscription – and downthetubes has a sneak peek for fans of the long-running newspaper football strip created by Pete Nash.
The crowdfunder raised £43,719 to bring Striker, which also appears in The Sun, back into print as a regular comic – smashing the £30,000 target to deliver the first 12 weekly issues.
Publisher and creator Pete Nash‘s hope is that he can publish 50 weekly issues of Striker a year, and he says he’s confident of achieving that – although coming back to print publishing has proved pretty daunting for him and his team, to say the least.
“I’m still excited about the project but the relentless volume of work that’s involved on such stretched resources stops it being enjoyable,” he admits. “At the moment, I’m working 90 hours a week, which is unsustainable. It’s also tough on my two full-time staff, 3D artist Simon Ravenhill and editor Steve McKenlay.
“It’s too early to say if we can continue beyond 12 weeks because the longer-term viability of this is dependent on retail sales as well as subscriptions,” Pete continues. “We’ll get an indication of those early retail sales in a couple of weeks, but it will be a month before we can build a meaningful picture”.
If the project does continue beyond the crowdfunded 12 issues, future editions will be funded by the renewal of subscriptions and continued retail sales, combined with further Kickstarter projects.
“Getting it into the shops hasn’t been difficult but it’s the terms of getting it into the larger retail chains that’s prohibitive,” Pete reveals.
“WHSmith and the supermarkets all take commission from sales that are comparable to the smaller newsagents – the difference is that the big chains want money from publishers over and above that to stock their titles. For instance, it doesn’t cost a lot more to print 10,000 extra copies, but getting them into the bigger shops means forking out even more money.
“We’ve paid extra to be in WHS Travel and High Street for 16 weeks but couldn’t afford the supermarkets.
“The other problem is that there’s no guarantee newsagents will stock your title even if they’re meant to. Distributors do internal PR, but there’s still the risk that a newsagent will look at a new publication, won’t recognise it, and send it back.”
Every 32-page issue – available on order from newsagents if you can’t find it on their shelves, as well as on subscription – will offer both drama and laughs, just like the serialised strip in The Sun.
Regular features include the main serialised comic strip plus other unmissable features like “Wannabe Warriors” – a comic strip by written by Joe McCardle, Steve Duffy and Pete Nash, with art by Luis Guaragna centred on Warbury’s football academy for young players.
Luis’ past credits include work for international companies across the globe, including Mortal Kombat for MayDay Comics,GoreGoyles for 13 Publications, Super Scrap Squad for Pluspoint Press and John Carpenter’s HalloweeNight Volume 3 for StormKing Comics.
“Eric and Vanessa: The Way They Were” is an illustrated serialised story, also by Pete, with art from Richard Ortiz, charting the early years of the colourful Warbury manager Eric Openshaw and his long-suffering wife Vanessa, back in the 1990s.
Richard’s other credits include Lady Death: The Wicked and Lady Death: Lost Souls for Avatar Press, as well as cover art for a number of their titles, and more recently, art for French publisher Editions Claire de Lune on Le Capitain Nemo and Editions Paquet as a freelance illustrator.
Pete’s plan to reprint classic British football strips in the new title have been dropped, however, which may disappoint some who remember the return of “Billy’s Boots” in the original Striker comic.
“I’m less keen on the idea now,” he explains. “I’ve moved Striker on so that Warbury Warriors have broken away from FIFA and the FA to join a breakaway World League. That in turn creates the scenario where you have created fictitious teams and players from around the world – and all of them interacting in a global scenario that involves power-grabbing and money-laundering. Striker is becoming a virtual universe where the only thing holding us back from expanding it is a lack of resources.
“There’s no room for vintage strips because the growth potential for Striker is so huge.,” he emphasises. “Whether we can realise that potential is dependent on the popularity of the comic. But there is every reason to be optimistic if we can ride out the storm.”
With those global ambitions in mind, each issue will offer a guide to all the World League club owners, coaches and players – plus gossip, features and interviews with the larger-than-life characters in Striker.
Also included will be details in every issue showing how to see Warbury play their weekly matches online in stunning 3D animation that you can watch for fun or, if you’re over 18, perhaps have a flutter on.
Everyone here at downthetubes is hoping the new Striker project is a success and we wish the team behind it the very best of luck.
• Striker Issue One is on sale this Wednesday in UK newsagents.• Even if Striker isn’t on sale in your local shop, as with any comic or magazine you can still order it from that newsagent
• For more details about Striker or to subscribe visit www.planetstriker.com. Do note that if you subscribe now, the deadline for getting Issue One to you by Wednesday has passed but the comic will be sent out at the next available opportunity
• For those of you waiting for the next Striker collection, work on Volume Six has taken a back seat in the run up to launching the new comic – but Pete’s hoping the next omnibus hardback will be available sometime in October. Copies of the first five collections are available from the Planet Striker web shop