Lancaster-based Team Sputnik’s brand new comic strip Skid Avenue is now free to read online, telling the story of John and Jo, a pair of ordinary folk who suddenly find themselves becoming part of the ‘squeezed middle’.
Taking a wry and humorous look at the problems of just-getting-by in austerity-hit times, the strip is the latest brainchild of the comics partnership of writer Antonella Caputo and artist Nick Miller (Graphic Classics, Comic Football, The RHG). Inspired by real-life events, it stars John and jo, former stars of the long-running strip The Really Heavy Greatcoat I created with Nick back in 1987.
Updated every week, the first three episodes of Skid Avenue are available at www.skidavenue.com, or on the web comics platform Tapastic at http://tapastic.com/series/SKID-AVENUE and there’s even a blog – www.skidavenue.blogspot.com – with lots of extra goodies for hardcore Caputo and Miller fans!
Described by one critic as “the pan-European comics creative team”, Team Sputnik has a proven track record when it comes to producing well-written, well-drawn, popular comics. Their adaptations of classic short stories for US publication Graphic Classics have drawn critical praise internationally. Chris Allen of Movie Poop Shoot said: “Nick Miller’s and Antonella Caputo’s take on The Carnival of Crime in Connecticut conveys the power of Twain’s sharply satirical jabs at morality and hypocrisy”, and Zack Davisson said: “Nick Miller draws a clever adaptation”.
Skid Avenue protagonists John and Jo first appeared in the long-running strip The Really Heavy Greatcoat, co-created by myself and first published in the Lancaster-based titles On the Beat (later Off the Beat) in 1987 and published for mobile by ROK Comics and in the international comics magazine Comics International. It has also been selected for publication in various titles, including The Norm, published by syndicated US cartoonist Michael Jantze.
Nick and Antonella tell us they first came up with the idea for Skid Avenue during lunch. “I hadn’t drawn John and Jo for years and we got to thinking: ‘What would they be doing now?’,” Nick reveals. “When they bowed out of the original strip, John was working in a local government department and Jo ran a shop.
“We thought that, fifteen years on, they’d probably be doing exactly the same thing, but now they’d be coping with ten years of austerity and economic recession. We thought there’d be plenty of opportunities for ironic humour, especially if you’re part of that age group, as we are ourselves”.
Episode 1 opens with JO leaving her homeware shop, Artyfacts, which is going out of business after a collapse in the market for annoyingly off-key windchimes.
At the same time, husband JOHN finds out the local government department where he works will soon be downsized. How will they pay the bills? Will they have to cancel their subscription to Aspirational Home Decorator magazine? Will they have to eat the cat?
As you can imagine, given our long term working relationship, I’m more than happy to give Antonella and Nicks’ latest project a plug. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.
SKID AVENUE LINKS:
- SKID AVENUE website: http://www.skidavenue.com
- SKID AVENUE (Tapastic): http://www.skidavenue.com
- SKID AVENUE blog: http://skidavenue.blogspot.co.uk
- The RHG: http://tapastic.com/series/the-rhg
- The REALLY HEAVY GREATCOAT (Archive): http://tapastic.com/series/The-Really-Heavy-Greatcoat
TEAM SPUTNIK LINKS:
- NICK’S WEBSITE: http://nicksputnikmiller.weebly.com
- NICK’S PORTFOLIO: http://teamsputnik.carbonmade.com
- NICK’S FLIKR STREAM: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129956271@N07
- NICK’S TUMBLR: http://spottynick.tumblr.com
- ANTONELLA’S WEBSITE: http://antonellacaputo.weebly.com
- TEAM SPUTNIK BLOG: http://teamsputnikblog.blogspot.co.uk
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.