Striker creator Pete Nash has told fans of the popular strip – sadly dropped from The Sun’s print edition – that news on the strip’s future should be announced soon.
Strikerworld, the official fan site for the strip, have been enjoying the re-presenattion of the Striker strips that featured in Nuts magazine in 2010 for the last month, which will soon be followed by the 2003 story “Dead Man Walking”, set in Haiti, which site runner Mick Wall describes as “the best ever story.
“It is definitely the funniest!” he enthuses.
Pete told fans he was glad to see the Nuts strips had given people a laugh in recent weeks but he can’t promise a quick return to the humour when Striker returns, referring to the strip’s most recent story, published by The Sun “as there will still be some hard drama to get through.”
He hopes that by the end of “Dead Man Walking”, which will run for about two months, he’ll be able to confirm the plans for Striker’s return and its future for a new era.
As we previously reported, The Sun dropped both Striker and Hagar from the newspaper in February this year. The last new strip appeared on The Sun‘s website on 5th April. Two weeks later, they asked to take Striker back following a protest from readers – but they only offered space for three panels a day, which Pete rejected. Pete has since been told they will make more space available and discussions are ongoing.
When Gillette were sponsors, their research showed that 40 per cent of The Sun‘s six million readership (readership, not sales) followed Striker every day.
Although Striker‘s return to a newspaper might still be on the cards, Pete feels that the story has gone as far as it can as a newspaper strip.
“It’s now clearer than ever that it’s time for Striker to have a home of its own rather than be part of the furniture in someone else’s house,” he feels. “I don’t want to depend solely on a newspaper again, so if Striker does return in that format (the most likely possibilities are The Sun or Mirror) it must be as an extra option and not the only place to see it.”
Pete has many ideas and discussions on the future of Striker are ongoing, including online subscription and YouTube and social media promotion (some of which he was contractually unable to do while the strip appeared in The Sun), and he’s been asked if a return of the Striker comic which he published previously in on the cards.
“I lost a lot of money last time round and so did readers who bought shares, ” he says. “Having said that, Striker‘s production costs are lower now so a return need not be ruled out. However, if such a decision is made, frequency may need to be monthly or fortnightly to start with. The possibility is being considered.”
Distribution – one of the main problems that affected the first weekly Striker comic – is a major issue.
“A distributor is paid to do this and in theory it should be in all the shops. In practice it seldom happens due to all sorts of problems,” Pete explains. “Major publishers employ their own circulation teams to run this side of the business but we couldn’t afford to do that, at least initially.
“Nowadays there are outside agencies who will help publishers to do this for a fee, so that’s a possibility. However, the big newsagents like WHSmith and the supermarkets won’t even stock your product now unless you pay them a fee over and above their usual commission.”
While new Striker strips are still, for now, some way off, Pete has agreed a deal with a company that owns a virtual football betting game to form a joint venture that will result in Striker‘s football action being shown as animated highlights that people can watch for fun or bet on.
“This could happen as early as August,” says Pete, “and could pave the way for even more exciting opportunities that are in the pipeline.”
We look forward to some good news soon!