By Lew Stringer
The Story: Lew Stringer’s seriously-stupid superhero Brickman is back after an equally stupidly-long absence from comics – and his creator has finally realised a long-held ambition to bring the character’s many fans a new comic packed with his wacky adventures.
Brickman Returns!, a new colour collection of wonderfully bonkers strip is available now direct from dedicated comics creator Lew Stringer, whose credits include VIZ, The Beano, Doctor Who Magazine, TOXIC and many other titles over the past 35-plus years, as both writer and artist.
The Review: What? You’ve never heard of Brickman? Surely, surely, you must know about zillionaire Loose Brayne, who was stuck for something to do one night when suddenly a brick was lobbed through his window! Naturally, as it’s a comic strip it instantly inspired him to become… the Brickman!
Ah, you’ve heard of another comic character with a similar origin story? Well, yes, Brickman is a Batman parody, but since his first appearance in Lew’s own fanzine, After Image Issue Three, way back in November 1979, he’s developed quite a following. Admittedly, not as big a following as a certain pointy-eared Gothamite, but enough to see the character’s continued – if infrequent – publication down the years, most regularly in Image Comics’ Elephantmen (Issues 2 – 24). It’s those stories that form the bulk of this wonderful new collection, featuring a slew of daft villains and fellow heroes such as Tina Trowel, (his partner in crimefighting, who’d rather be out shopping or clubbing) The Poker, The Ostrich, the Mad Cobbler, Super-Bloke and, of course, Lew’s other great creation, Combat Colin.
So what’s the appeal of Brickman? Well, quite apart from the nutty concept, Lew – whose pro credits include Doctor Who Magazine, Aces Weekly, VIZ and TOXIC – delivers some great art on the strip as Brickman hurtles blindly from one (often self-inflicted) crisis to another, utilising his considerable skills both as a humorist and comics aficianado to subvert and satirise superheroes and their ilk.
It’s all great, affectionately-realized fun and, as an added bonus, we also get a classic Combat Colin story from 1989, and some of Lew’s scurrilous Suburban Satanists, an absolutely hilarious strip never before seen in English, presenting a selection of their exploits from the 1997 Norwegian comic GEEK.
Bizarrely, the inclusion of this strip prompted some online criticism of Lew, concerned he was encouraging devil workship. I have to say I am pretty sure I have never seen Lew carry a pitchfork or sport horns at any comic event I’ve seen him at, but if he weants to wear them to Lancaster Comics Day in June next year, he’s more than welcome, although I should warn him the city doesn’t have a good track record when it come to tolerance of dabblers in the supernatural.
(By the way, the first Bomb Scares horror anthology – available now from Time Bomb Comics – features three pages of The Suburban Satanists by Lew, a different set of strips to those that appear in Brickman Returns comic).
Brickman Returns is, hopefully, just the first of several new independently-published comics from Lew, who also created (and owns) Combat Colin, a staple feature of many an issue of Marvel UK’s Action Force and, later, Transformers comic in the 1980s and ’90s. Until I read Brickman Returns, I hadn’t realised that all his characters existed in the same “Lewniverse”, but now I do I’m even more hopeful he’ll bring back “Pedantic Stan, Comics Fan”, which I co-created with him back in the 1980s for Speakeasy, and I’m delighted to hear that he’s planning a full-length Suburban Satanists comic, which he hopes to release next year.
Brickman Returns is a fun, no holds barred humour comic, featuring great art, silly stories and deserves your support. Follow the links below and go buy a copy!
• Brickman Returns! 32 pages, full colour, US comic format, quality paper. Suitable for teens and older is available from Lew at conventions (his convention appearances are listed here on his Blimey! blog) and direct from him, along with Brickman Begins! if you don’t have it, here on his official web site.
• Fellow cartoonist Nigel Parkinsonis also selling Brickman Returns at events he goes to that Lew’s not at
• Brickman Returns is also on sale at Nostalgia and Comics, 14-16 Smallbrook, Queensway, Birmingham B5 4EN | Find them on Facebook
• More about Lew Stinger’s current work and career here: www.lewstringer.com; read his comics blog, Blimey! It’s Another Blog About Comics at http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk | Checkout his art blog here | Find him on Facebook | Follow him on Twitter with a (virtual) sketch pad @lewstringer