I recently picked up this Mike Higgs-created “Moonbird” strip on eBay, one of several three-tier strips he created for the German market, which was published in colour.
The colour for the strip created on a separate overlay…
“Moonbird” first appeared as daily strips in the UK various Associated Newspaper titles. In the early 1980s, creator Mike Higgs regenerated the flighty fellow into a children’s picture book character, first as a series of stories, followed by a “Learn with Moonbird” series in the mid-1980s.
His assistant on some was none other than Beano artist Lew Stringer, who inked four of the strips, and penciled, inked and coloured about 16 of the Learn With Moonbird books, with Mike pencilling/inking Moonbird himself. (Inker Mark Farmer also worked with Mike, colouring some the books, too).
Mike lettered this strip in English, and there’s a logo in English, too, under the German variant, but all the strip’s original lettering has been whited out before the German text was added.
Moonbird lived on the moon in a colony of similar moonchicks and moonhens, protected by the all-seeing Moonhawk. No two moonbirds were the same, each having their own unique colour and pattern, but even in Germany, star Moonbird was just plain old white.
As part of the strip’s premise, Moonbird regularly travelled to Earth (on a moonbeam, of course!), to experience all the quirks and quandaries of modern existence…
It’s intriguing to see an independent comic creator gaining an interest in his character from overseas, to the extent that new strips were created and translated into German.
Now retired, Mike Higgs is also known, of course, as the creator of the super-spy The Cloak for Pow! in the 1960s, and his subsequent work on strips such as “Space School” for Whizzer and Chips, an experience that led him to move into creating newspaper strips, including “Moonbird” and “Baz & Co.”, before returning to comics later in his working life on strips such as “Thundercap” for Buster in the 1990s.
He also produced books for Patrick Hawkey’s company, Hawk Books, editing and designing the books himself, and usually coming up with the concept as well. As Lew Stringer has detailed on his Blimey! blog, these included his Giant Holiday Comic Albums, and more.
With thanks to Lew Stringer
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.