New Striker comic distribution stymied by WHSmith, but the publishers have a cunning plan…

Striker Issue 2 - CoverThe new Striker football comic – its launch the result of a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year – has been hit by distribution problems that mean Issue 3 will now not go on sale until next week in newsagents.

Melding its photostrip-style lead story with features on the Striker World League, a traditional line art “Wannabe Warriors” strip and a text story that’s a hilarious telling of Warbury Warriors hapless Eric Openshaw and future wife Vanessa, the new title seems to be going down well with fans, who will soon be able to enjoy seeing unpredictable animated Striker matches on the official web site that over 18s can also bet on.

Striker Issue 2 -World Football Promo
“It’s been really tough producing and distributing the weekly comic with a team of just three people on production and one handling admin,” says Striker creator Pete Nash, “and just as we were hoping for a break, we were hit with a real body blow as we were going to press at this weekend.

“Our distributor informed us on Friday evening that WHSmith had failed to allocate their copies of Issue 2 to their 260-odd branches that were due to stock it, with the bundles being dispersed to independent newsagents who hadn’t ordered it and weren’t expecting them – so what they’ll do with them is anyone’s guess.”

Subscribers of course weren’t affected by the distribution cock up and were none the wiser to the problems the Striker team were having getting their football magazine onto British news stands, an issue that saw a shadowy cabal of crime lords reveal more of their plans for Warbury Warriors bosses Li Ming and Nick Jarvis, and trumpeted the arrival of Striker’s animated football games.

“We went into damage limitation mode and decided to reprint 1,000 copies of Issue 2 and send them to WHS as soon as possible” Pete reveals. “Those Issue 2 copies should be in their branches on Tuesday 25th September, and will stay on sale until Wednesday 3rd October – as will all copies of Issue 2 elsewhere.”

Striker Issue 3 - CoverThe knock-on effect of this is that Issue 3 of the football comic – which went to press yesterday, and is available to Kickstarter backers digitally – will now go on sale on Wednesday 3rd October. Weekly publication will resume from then on.

Subscribers may find that they will receive their copies of Issue 3 on time as usual – if so, please note that there will be a one-week delay in receiving Issue 4.

As you can imagine, this really isn’t good news for a small independent publisher just after launch, particularly when the costs of getting into WHSmith and onto their shelves aren’t exactly cheap.

“We don’t yet know what impact Smith’s error will have on us,” says Pete, “but all we can do for now is to try and make the best of a very bad situation… I am hopeful we can survive and eventually thrive.”

On the plus side, Planet Striker were finally able to bring fans the animated highlights of Warbury’s opening World League game against Mombasa Mambas. Unfortunately there were some flaws in this as well (are you getting the impression last week wasn’t a great week for Pet and his team?) but at least the animation up and running, and hopefully fans can see the potential for the future.

“All being well, we’ll eventually be able to show you highlights from all the World League games, along with commentary and a weekly show with a studio presenter,” Pete enthuses.

“Our small team has done a superhuman job on severely limited resources, so please bear with us on any shortcomings. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will this new era of Striker be – but I hope you’ll all stay with us for the ride!”

• You can subscribe to Striker over on the official web site, and there are also collections of previous series on sale: www.planetstriker.com } Follow Striker on Twitter for the latest news on the comic @striker_planet

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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