Here’s another in a series of “Meet the Creator” interviews conducted by Morgan Spiceman with the writers and artists involved in The77 comics anthology.
This time out, it’s a chat with artist and writer Lew Stringer, who’s bringing an all-new character to the new quarterly British anthology…
Please introduce yourself…
Lew Stringer: I’m Lew Stringer. I’ve been working as an artist and writer professionally in British comics since 1983.
What is The77?
Lew: I guess it is what it is. I’ve only seen a few pages so far but it’s all looking good and it’s coming from a good place with its intention to bring back the impact and hyper-drama of bygone UK comics.
How did you get involved?
Lew: Ben K Sy asked me and I jumped at the chance. It’s always nice to be in at the start of a new comics venture.
Normally, I wouldn’t get involved unless it was for a mainstream publisher (gotta pay my bills!) but sometimes projects like this come along that sound too good to pass up on.
What is your story about?
Lew: It’s a single page humour strip… “Sgt. SHOUTY of The Moon Force“. Yes, his name should always be in upper case, ‘cos he’s VERY LOUD.
It’s kind of a parody of Valiant’s “Captain Hurricane” in a way, in that Sgt.SHOUTY flips out at the slightest provocation.
Who are the characters?
Lew: Sgt. SHOUTY is the lead character, with some cooler heads as supporting characters… if they survive when SHOUTY is around!
Where did you get the idea for the story?
Lew: I always liked the early issues of 2000AD where dialogue was manic and LOUD and everyone was hyperactive, so I wanted to bring that kind of thing back… and of course I can’t take it seriously, so it has to be a humour strip.
What are your hopes for The77?
Lew: I hope it’s a great success! The Kickstarter campaign did really well so that’s promising. Comics are generally quite sophisticated and slow paced these days so I think there’s a place for something that runs full throttle like it’s just downed ten cups of coffee.
I hope fans pick it up and that the comic can grow and reach even more people.
How long have you been writing and drawing?
Lew: Professionally, since 1983 when I sold my first work to Marvel UK, but I was being published in fanzines as far back as 1978.
Since then I’ve freelanced for IPC, Fleetway, DC Thomson, VIZ, Rebellion, Dark Horse, Image, and many others.
Who are your favourite writers and artists?
Lew: Of all time? I would say Mike Noble was my favourite UK adventure artist. He drew “Fireball XL5” for TV21, “Follyfoot” for Look-In, and lots of other strips.
Humour-wise, Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid.
What are your favourite comics?
Lew: Of all time… TV21 and Smash! Present day: Immortal Hulk, VIZ, Beano… but it changes every year.
What or who are your influences?
Lew: Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, Mike Higgs, Kevin O’Neill, Jack Kirby, Roy Wilson… too many to mention really, but they’re the main ones I think.
What characters would you love to write or draw?
Lew: I prefer to create my own and don’t have any particular urges to draw other people’s characters but I’ll rise to the occasion if commissioned to do so.
For example, in recent years I’ve become the new artist on various strips for Beano and Dandy such as “Pup Parade”, “Keyhole Kate”, “Big Eggo”, etc. and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve also drawn a new “Buster” strip for this year’s Cor!! Buster Easter Special that includes loads of old UK characters… some dating back 80 years that no one will remember… and that was very enjoyable.
Who would you like to work with?
Lew: I’ve never given it any thought as most of the time I write, draw, colour my own work. I recently enjoyed working with John Freeman on the Buster special though, and I’m currently drawing another strip for that issue, written by Lizzie Boyle, which is fun to do.
What advice would you have for upcoming writers and artists?
Lew: Diversify and don’t just focus on comics. I’ve managed to make a career only working in comics but it’s a very volatile business and doesn’t pay a lot compared to other medium.
You’ll be financially better off to diversify into advertising, storyboarding, games, etc. as well as comics…. If your style suits it.
The77 gained full funding and more through Kickstarter and the first issue will be launched at the Lawless convention in May and will be available worldwide in June
• Check out Lew’s official web site at www.lewstringer.com
Interview cross posted with thanks to Morgan Spiceman