Striker – one of Britain’s longest running newspaper strips, mainly published in The Sun – returns to the paper on Monday, thanks to its fans and some hard-won negotiations behind the scenes by creator Pete Nash.
The paper acknowledged the strip is “Back by Popular Demand” in a feature yesterday, the strip’s return accompanied by an all-new web site and a Planet Striker YouTube channel that will soon offer daily motions comics based on the series.
Collections of the strip – which has been published for 30 years – are now in the works, as we previously reported.
As we reported in February, fans were infuriated when the strip was dropped from The Sun‘s print edition and went online only, but when the digital edition also ended, The Sun‘s editorial team soon realised they’d made a huge mistake. Hundreds of Striker supporters publicly announced they were stopping reading the paper in protest.
“I can confirm the good news at last – Striker‘s back and it kicks off again this Monday in The Sun,” Pete has told fans.
“It’s a very different deal to what we’ve had before,” he explained. “As many of you will recall, when The Sun ended the strip in March, I said I didn’t want to put all my eggs in their basket again. So many fans complained to The Sun that they asked me to bring Striker back after 10 days. Long and exasperating negotiations followed, but the result is that I now have a deal which gives me the freedom to exploit Striker outside of The Sun on a UK and worldwide basis (except other UK national dailies).
“The price for that non-exclusivity is a big drop in income from The Sun, but I will have the freedom to exploit the commercial opportunities that will go with it. It will be like the comic days again, only with the added benefit of exposure in The Sun.
“That means we can officially interact with our fans again and involve them in everything that we do. We can arrange sponsorship. We can do Striker season tickets. And we can get the merchandise bandwagon rolling again!”
While Pete’s victory is welcome – and we can think of several other comic creators, such as the team behind Horace, dropped from The Mirror last year, who must surely be wishing their fans were as vociferous – he knows there is much hard work ahead to ensure the ongoing success of this new incarnation of the Warbury Warriors – and that includes collections of the comic strip.
“We need to start generating income from Day One,” he continues. “As you already know, there are advanced plans to animate the football matches in Striker that people can watch for fun or bet on. I noticed that someone asked how could people bet on games when I and maybe others know what the score will be. The amazing answer to that is that the matches will be streamed live and no one – including me – will know what the result will be! I know that will raise all sorts of questions so let me save this for a later thread [on the Striker fan forum, Strikerworld].
“It is my hope that the gaming opportunities will generate revenue that can be invested in Striker, but in my view the most immediate prospect of raising money is to start publishing the Striker archive in a box set of books. That is now definite – and I’m seriously considering publishing a special limited edition of the first volume for Strikerworld members.”
As for The Sun, Monday will see the start of a two-week “previously on Striker” catch-up to bring people up to speed on the story – particularly those who will have missed the end-of-season finale online. The new era of Striker episodes will start on Monday 29th August.
“A daily motion comic version of these episodes will be shown on The Sun‘s website and also on our Youtube channel, Planet Striker, and our new website, planetstriker.com (hopefully live from next week),” Pete says. “All supported by an ongoing social media campaign that will eventually include tweets and messages from myself and the Striker characters.
“… The main thing is – Striker‘s back (again!) and there’s no doubt that this new era is going to be the most incredible period for Striker since its launch 31 years ago.
“I want you all to know that without your fantastic and much-appreciated support, I wouldn’t have fought so hard to bring Striker back.
“You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet, so stand by for more big developments…”
Our congratulations to Pete for bringing Striker back and all the strip’s fans – especially Mick Wall – for their incredible campaign to get the strip back in The Sun.
• Planet Striker is on YouTube here. If you’re a fan of the strip, don’t forget to subscribe!
• Strikerworld is here: strikerworld.co.uk
Striker © 2016 Pete Nash