Striker creator Pete Nash has bounced back from changes at The Sun newspaper which saw the hugely-popular strip transferred out of the print edition to a new (and for some, impossible to find) spot on its online site, presumably in a bid to boost its visitor numbers.
Fans were outraged by the decision, many commenting on our news story, with many threatening to stop buying the paper in protest.
“As Eric often likes to say, there are three types of people in this world – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what just happened,” notes Pete over on the Strikerworld forum, having had chance to take stock of The Sun‘s unexpected decision.
“For a few days last week I was well and truly in that third category after The Sun announced they were ending the print edition of Striker in mid-story. Not any more. Thanks to the reaction from Striker‘s wonderful army of fans, I’m now full of optimism about Striker‘s future and making plans for an exciting new era.
“Firstly, let me say a big thank you to all the members of Strikerworld, including the 200 or so new members who have joined just this week. When you consider that Striker isn’t on social media and that most people who join this forum only do so after trawling the internet, it’s extraordinary that so many have signed up. As always, a huge thank you to Mick [Wall] in particular plus all the mods who help to run the forum and the members who post messages. It’s a friendly place; a home from home. I try to read all of your messages and take everything on board.
Striker’s Future Not Just in Newspapers
“I am in discussions with two newspaper groups about Striker“, Pete reveals, “but whatever the outcome of these talks, the events of last week have driven home to me the fact that I can never again put all my eggs in a newspaper basket.
“If Striker is going to thrive rather than survive, it has to diversify,” he feels. “I know there are so many of you who miss seeing Striker in a newspaper (hopefully it will be back in another paper before long) but the time is overdue for Striker to have an online platform driven by social media and supported by all aspects of gaming. When this happens and the audience grows beyond its current fan base, many other things will follow on from that, like the printing of the long-awaited books and manufacturing of merchandise.
“Why would that happen then and not now? For the simple reason that Striker needs an even bigger audience; an audience that will be able to follow it in its own home rather than someone else’s. The revenue generated from advertising and gaming would then be ploughed into animation, books and merchandise.
“I’m aware that there are people on this forum who are great advocates of social media but also people who want nothing to do with it, who just want to follow Striker in one easy place – and preferably in print,” Pete acknowledges. “The latter is unlikely in a weekly comic format again (a monthly could be a possibility) but we can certainly give it an online home that will be much better then the old striker3d.net.
“It’s almost uncanny that The Sun‘s decision to end its print edition of Striker coincides with the approaching finale of the current storyline, which will hopefully herald a new era of Striker – and by that I don’t just mean social media, animation and gaming, but a new beginning for Striker itself,” he teases. “We have seen these new beginnings before, like when Nick owned Thamesford, his switch to Warbury and the shark attack that ended his playing career.
“The only way for Striker to remain fresh is for it to occasionally reinvent itself.
“As much as I would like to tell you more about these plans, to do so would spoil the story. But I can tell you that while the conclusion to these current events will wrap up all the story threads, it will end on a cliffhanger that will by necessity involve a break before the new era of Striker begins. This was going to happen even if Striker had stayed in The Sun.
“Hopefully the new era of Striker will launch in a newspaper but it will certainly launch online. There won’t be a big bang of animation and gaming, rather a soft launch along an evolutionary curve. I can tell you something else: if everything goes to plan (and I’ve become accustomed to plans going awry by now!) then Striker will gradually start to go global. For well over a year now I have been working with partners with the expertise to make these things happen.
“As I’ve already said, none of those things will materialise overnight but that’s the beauty of it. Striker has been at its best when it has these new beginnings, when there’s a big, almost impossible challenge in the storyline. Remember the start of the Warbury era when Eric told Nick he had to take the Warriors from non-league to Premier League? Something like this is going to happen again, but probably not in the way you might be thinking.
“Thanks once again for your magnificent and reassuring support. We’ve had 30 incredible years of Striker. Now for the next 30…”
Pete also says he wants Striker‘s new online home to be much more than just the current story.
“I’m thinking archive strips and – wait for it – Psycops!” he enthuses, referring to his other popular strip for The Sun, also written and drawn by Pete himself.
• If you’d like to comment on the future of Striker, join the StrikerWorld forum here