The Sun has unexpectedly dropped the print version of its popular football comic, Striker, moving the strip online – much to the disappointment of its many fans – and the surprise of its creator, Pete Nash.
“I was told on Wednesday that this Saturday’s episode of Striker will be the very last in the printed edition of The Sun,” Pete informed fans online (site registration required). The strip will now continue exclusively online on its website until at least the end of the current storyline – which is scheduled to end in April.
“The Sun has made an offer for Striker to continue beyond the current story,” he adds. “I am considering this but it may not be the right thing to do given other planned developments.
“… It would not be wise at this moment to give my views on this unexpected turn of events but I would like to reassure disappointed readers of the newspaper that I hope to be in a position to make a very positive announcement on the future of Striker in the next few days or weeks.”
Despite its stronger daily print sales than rival newspapers, The Sun is battling for online readers after much of its content was put behind a paywall in August 2013. The paper ended this last year but meanwhile newspapers such as the Mail and the Mirror have raced ahead in terms of digital readership, and with the news that the Independent is to go online in March, newspaper executives must be looking at ways to offer unique content on their web sites as the move toward digital news reporting accelerates. With its loyal following, perhaps Striker offers that kind of content as far as the paper’s editor is concerned.
This latest development in the history of the long-running strip has met with mixed reaction from the strips fierecely-loyal fans, who, as we’ve reported down the years have seen the strip published down the years in The Sun, in its own weekly comic, online, and in Nuts magazine. Like the strip itself, the team behind Striker have successfully adapted to circumstance, making it one of the longest-running strips to feature in British newspapers.
Let’s hope Striker continues beyond April – and The Sun‘s web site team pull their finger out and get the page organised in a way fans can follow it.
• Read fan reaction to the latest move for Striker on Strikerworld (registration required)
Striker is © Pete Nash