Striker creator Pete Nash has announced the grim news that his football strip, a long time staple of The Sun, is to finally end – and despite two successful crowdfunding campaigns, the Striker comic will not be returning, apart from one final “wrap up” Special. There is, however, some good news – another of Pete’s creations, the SF adventure strip, “Psycops“, is to be collected at last.
Here is Pete’s statement in full, published earlier today on the Planet Striker web site. It’s a statement that’s already prompted dismay from fans but includes some good news within it.
Rather than pick parts out, I decided to run it in full, wishing all the Striker team well at this time. Pete’s dedication and determination to keep Striker alive has always been quite remarkable and inspiring.
Striker comic and strips to end
By Striker creator PETE NASH
It’s with sadness but also optimism that I have to announce the end of Striker as a comic and newspaper strip after 34 memorable years. I made the decision after The Sun told me that while they were happy to keep Striker, they were unwilling to increase their fee to a level that would have made continued production worthwhile.
There was an offer from another newspaper group but it fell short of what was needed.
Despite two successful crowdfunding campaigns to re-launch Striker as a weekly comic, retail sales failed to reach our required target, mainly due to a lack of capital but also because many fans were unwilling to buy the comic when they were getting Striker free in a newspaper.
Potential investors were waiting in the wings – but they were more excited by the animation possibilities of Striker rather than a comic.
For a while, things looked promising when we partnered with a gaming company to show the football in Striker as animated weekly highlights. But the animation wasn’t well received – and the partnership has now ended after the gaming company sold its assets.
While a few people may feel Striker should have ended before now, I know most of you will be wondering if there is some other way to keep Striker going. But given the circumstances, I believe the time is right to finally bring the curtain down on the comic and newspaper strip.
I’ve done my best to make it work, but when the writing is on the wall after so many stops and starts, it’s important to read the signs. In the absence of sufficient funding, it’s far better to go out on a high than try to manage an inevitable decline.
And go out on a high we will. I’ve decided to give the 34-year saga a fitting end by publishing a 52-page commemorative issue next month called Striker: The Final Whistle. More on this very soon.
There’s another silver lining in the cloud. Now that I’ll have some time on my hands, I’ll finally be able to publish a complete compilation of my Psycops comic strips that were featured in The Sun between 1994 and 1999 and have never been seen since. There are 18 adventures from start to finish that will easily fill a 300-page book.
I mentioned in my intro that I was optimistic despite the decision to end Striker. That’s because I have no intention of putting my feet up. Striker will have run its course as a comic strip but I will be writing a screenplay in the hope of turning it into a TV series that would start with Nick’s move to Warbury in 1994.
The comedian Jim Davidson hired a couple of writers to try and bring Striker to the small screen back in 2003, but I didn’t feel the script was right. This time I’ll have a crack at it myself and hopefully find a production company to push it.
There is no guarantee the script will be commissioned, but it’s the first thing I will be working on after the publication of Psycops and the last Striker comic next month.
Thank you to the fans
Before signing off, I’d like to make another appeal to the VIP Kickstarter backers who didn’t respond to our emails asking for their reward preferences. Your generosity is much appreciated but I would feel a lot better if I could do something in return before Striker ends, so please get in touch.
I seem to recall a VIP backer saying on Facebook that he did respond, but unfortunately we didn’t receive his email. I think he wanted an ad for his business, so please get in touch so I can fulfil that request for the final issue.
So a final word for Striker’s loyal and patient fans: you haven’t just followed Striker, you’ve been a part of it and done everything you can to support it and keep it going, for which I’ll always be grateful.
I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you better news, but I promise to keep you updated on any developments with the screenplay. Thanks again for all your support.
• Striker collections and more are available from the Planet Striker web site: www.planetstriker.com