Previously on Neighbours: Two pre-teen film nerds (Dan Palmer and myself) ripped off a comic strip and made a movie about zombie teddy bears. 23 years later, one of the nerds is drawing comics for a living and brings the film to life once again in one of his comic strips: Tiny’s Temper…
A few months after Tiny’s Temper ended, The Dandy were looking for Halloween ‘madverts’, I pitched a few (including a Transylvanian Families toy ad like the previous year’s My Little Zombie) and I included a Zombears film ad as filler in with the pitches, doubting they’d let me recycle the idea (more on my approach to pitching another time).
To my surprise The Dandy ordered a full page Zombear ad, and the art even ended up on the cover! This is my absolute favourite issue of The Dandy, as it features the ad and the debut of my Astronut strip (you can see him in the top right of the cover too).
Astronut was partially inspired by a series of puppet films fellow Dandy artist Andy Fanton and I made when we were both 16 and at school together. Fanton & I made 5 Space Man Jim films, part 3 of which (Space Man Jim 3: The Time Toilet) was bizarrely also mentioned in the same Tiny’s Temper strip as the Zombears!
So the cover of the Halloween Dandy featured two drawings inspired by my childhood and my closest friends, as well as a little zombie by the aforementioned Mr Fanton, some awesome cover art by Jamie Smart, (whose Bear comics inspired me to put ink to paper and fill it with swear-laden speech bubbles for the first time) and my favourite Dandy character, Nuke Noodle – who himself returns this very Halloween, drawn by myself….
Andy Fanton & I remained friends and worked on loads more projects, most recently The Punslinger – a strip written and drawn together for The Dandy.
Dan Palmer remains my cousin, and still makes horror comedies on the cheap. His latest, the blood-splattered Stalled, (Warning: not for kids!) is in US cinemas now and is still touring the international film festival circuit where it has won several awards. Fanton & I both provided artwork for it.
So kids, there you have it, all you really need to succeed in your career aspirations, as Fanton, Dan & I proved, is a really dumb idea you sort of stole, a bunch of slacker friends and nothing better to do for 20 years. Oh, and don’t ever throw away an idea – you never know when you’ll be using it again.
The Zombears will return…