Category Archives: Puzzle Pages

Great News Inside!

Remember how whenever a comic would end it would always have ‘Great News Inside’ splashed across the cover, only to tell you the comic was ending that week? Well, sadly today marks my last day as a full time cartoonist. I’ll still be drawing and writing in my spare time, but just not as a career.

This last ten months has been a blast and I’ve been given the opportunity to do some amazing things and work with some amazing artists. A childhood dream came true when I was allowed to draw Minnie The Minx in the mini strips How To Train Your Parents and Breaking Dad, as well as writing for Nigel Parkinson’s Minnie in The Beano Summer Special.

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I was apprehensive when first asked to write both Little Plum and The Nibblers, as I wasn’t that familiar with the characters, but the inimitable Hunt Emerson (who draws both strips) is an amazing artist whose ability to take my stories to another level with his fantastic artwork has been both a jaw-dropping joy and a privilege to see. The talented swine!

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When I was offered the chance to write the iconic Gnasher & Gnipper I very nearly gnashed the Editor’s hand off, I’ve been writing most of the Gnasher strips for the past seven months for Beano legend Barrie Appleby. Seeing Barrie draw my scripts is like hearing The Beatles perform a song you’ve written.

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Other highlights include writing Bash Street Kids for the legendary Dave Sutherland, Bea for Nigel Parkinson, a Grinch parody for the infuriatingly talented Laura Howell, as well as drawing puzzles featuring my all time favourite characters: Calamity James, Billy Whizz, Les Pretend, and Pup Parade.

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I also got to bring back Gnasher’s kids, Dennis’ pet spider Dasher, Walter’s pet poodle Foo Foo, make more obscure references to films than you could possibly imagine, draw Alex Matthews’ Nuke Noodle clothes-lining zombies, kill Jedward and – amazingly – bring The Dandy back from the dead…

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Next year you’ll read some of my writing in both The Beano & The Dandy Annual, which is easily the career highlight of any Beano artist or writer, but If I had to pick a current highlight, this would be it: Hunt Emerson’s Little Plum in my script of ‘The Guffalo’.

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© DC THOMSON 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

So, as I return to a ‘real job’, I just want to say thank you to Craig, Mich, John & Mark at The Beano for all the work and help they’ve given me, to Steve Beckett, Wayne Thompson, Hunt Emerson and Lew Stringer for all their advice and support and to all the readers who’ve read my work over the past ten months.

And finally, to Sarah Trinder & Andy Fanton, without whom none of this would have happened.

See you in the funny pages and remember – everyone we know loves The Beano!

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Filed under Andy Fanton, Barrie Appleby, Bea, Billy Whizz, Calamity James, Comic Strips, Dave Sutherland, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Gnasher & Gnipper, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Lew Stringer, Little Plum, Madverts, Minnie the Minx, Pup Parade, Puzzle Pages, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The BeanoMax, The Dandy, The Gruffalo, The Nibblers, Zombies

Intergalactic Idiocy In The Beano.

This week’s Beano is the most Munro-packed issue yet! Joe Jupiter crash-lands on planet trampoline on the puzzle page, plus there’s Gnasher & Gnipper, Little Plum and Bea (which I wrote) and more boyband bad jokes in Pun Direction – but it all starts with Joe Jupiter on the cover!

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Joe Jupiter started life as a reincarnation of Spaceman Jim from The Dandy when I noticed The Beano was short of a science fiction character. The idea is to have a recurring character in the puzzles and the cosmic clot is due to run for ten non-consecutive weeks.

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Jawsome: Joe Jupiter flees from a Shark-Infested Fireball From Another Dimension!

Elsewhere Dad is reading Bea a bedtime story and she’s kicking up a stink, Harry faces the chop in Pun Direction, the Butcher has hired a crack security team from The Beano vaults in Gnasher & Gnipper and Little Plum is having a rotten time, as this week’s strip is all in rhyme.

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This Little Plum strip – a parody of The Gruffalo – started life in 2010 as a pitch for a 2 page story in The Dandy and I’m glad I finally got to see it in print. Hunt Emerson has done an amazing job bringing it to life and this is definitely my favourite Little Plum strip so far.

The Beano is available in Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Asda and all good newsagents now, priced two quid.

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Filed under Bea, Gnasher & Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Joe Jupiter, Little Plum, One Direction, Puzzle Pages, The Beano, The Gruffalo

The Beano is bursting with Goodies!

Sometimes drawing puzzles can be a little repetitive, so I like to throw in something that will be fun for me to draw. For this week’s Beano I drew a puzzle about a group of hunters tracking down a Yeti in the woods.

I didn’t fancy drawing them in a car, so I thought I’d put them on bikes. It wasn’t much of a leap to deciding to draw them on a trandem and making these three chaps resemble my favourite comedy troupe…

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Funky Gibbon: The Goodies make a break for it in this week’s Beano.

For those not in the know, The Goodies were a trio of British comedians: Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. They wrote and performed in their top-rated eponymous comedy TV show on the BBC during the 1970s and for ITV in the early 1980s. The show combined surreal sketches and situation comedy.

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On Their Bike: Bill, Graeme & Tim.

The Goodies also had a string of hit albums and singles, most notably The Funky Gibbon. The most famous episode, Kitten Kong, features The Goodies chasing a giant white kitten on the rampage through the landmarks of London!

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Cat-astrophe: Kitten Kong destroys Telecom Tower.

In 1981, during the last series, Bill, Tim & Graeme go in search of Big Foot. It was that episode that inspired their inclusion in the puzzle. But this wouldn’t be the first time The Goodies have appeared in a comic, so I thought I’d pay tribute to that too…

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Blimey: The Goodies make their debut appearance in COR!!

You can read more on The Goodies cartoon capers in COR!! on legendary Lew Stringer’s comics blog HERE

Despite being COR!!‘s cover stars, The Goodies also turned up in cartoon form on the cover of this 1975 issue of Sparky.

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Covered In It: The Goodies make the cover of Sparky.

Despite all these comic cover capers it’s The Beano that can claim the most impressive link to The Goodies, as the trio provided all the voices for the 1980s Bananaman cartoon show!

The Goodies, in all their various formats, were a huge inspiration to me and remain so to this day. Together or in their separate careers, on TV, radio – or anywhere else – The Goodies are the funniest and most consistently inventive comedy team ever to grace the airwaves, screens and pages of a comic. With that in mind, as my tribute to Bill, Tim & Graeme, I hope they don’t mind me recycling that famous cycle one more comic outing!

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Elsewhere in this week’s somewhat water-logged Beano, after the trouble Gnasher caused on their last museum visit you’d think Dennis would steer clear of them, but no! This week Dennis & Gnasher are Norsing about with Vikings.

Billy Whizz is giving his pals a sporting chance, control freak Minnie The Minx is switched on for mischief, there’s machinated managerial mayhem in Ball Boy, Wallace & Gromit are wet behind the stairs, something’s scrummy when Fatty and the gang tackle Rugby in The Bash Street Kids and Little Plum is namin’ and shamin’ when he visits Damon the Shaman!

Bananaman has a few squid flying about the place, control freak Tricky Dicky is switched on for… oh, I’ve already done that one. Roger The Dodger strikes it unlucky, Blinky is heading straight for the bottom in The Numskulls and you can teach an old Tripe Hound new tricks in Gnasher & Gnipper!

There’s also funsize fun with Les Pretend, Rasher, Karate Sid, Grandpa, Pansy Potter, Biffo The Bear and Animals Crossing.

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Sadly there’s no Number 13 or Calamity James this week, but we do get a brand new strip by new-to-the-Beano artist Stephen Waller, who Dandy fans will remember from Star T-Rex, St Evils and the fantastic Growlph.

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Teen Wolf Too: The Dandy’s Growlph by Stephen Waller.

Stephen’s debut Beano strip Gwyneth’s Book Of Records gets off to a hair-raising start this week and runs for six weeks.

The Beano is available in all good Newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s, the Co-Op and Winter Road News, Winter Road, Portsmouth.

 

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Filed under Billy Whizz, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Gnipper, Growlph, Gwyneth's Book Of Records, Lew Stringer, Puzzle Pages, Roger the Dodger, Stephen Waller, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The Goodies, The Nibblers

Bog Standard.

Anyone familiar with my work will already be well aware of my penchant for toilet humour, so be wary – this blog post includes some whiffy humour, foul-stinking jokes and a few crap puns. Oh… and zombies. You have been warned!

It will be no surprise to regular Beano readers to see I’ve been scraping the unmentionable bowl for a few dried on nuggets of laughter yet again for the putrid wipe-clean puzzle page in this week’s Beano. I’ve set quite a few puzzles and Madverts in the littlest room in the house. For instance, I’ve already sent loony Les Pretend round the u-bend…

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Potty: Les Pretend pretends to be a… erm… well…

I’ve gone to war on good taste with the bum-grenade lobbing Call Of Tooty

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Modern Warfart: Rank smells in Call Of Tooty.

And I dumped this filthy load all over the pages of The Dandy

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Toilet Paper: Six of my stinkiest pages from The Dandy.

You get the idea there (and yes, I did do two Call of Duty parodies – the third in the trilogy, Call Of Dookie, is still on the to do-do list).

Another of my favourite subjects is the undead, here’s a few shambling wrecks reanimated from the Beano & Dandy archive.

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ZomBeano: Pages dug up from the DC Thomson graveyard.

So, at last my love of toilet humour and the walking dead finally meet in this week’s Beano for my latest lavatorial masterpiece: Toilet Of Terror!

The puzzle is based around the premise that mild-mannered W.C Boggs has just popped off for a plop when Armageddon suddenly arrives, bringing the undead with it. The Wiping Dead surround him and you have to escape through a network of stinky sewers avoiding bum biscuits, fearsome floaters and the ever-present nightmare of a bog-paper pilfering sewer-surfing Zombie.

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Flushed With Success: Toilet Of Terror, from this week’s Beano.

The eagle-eyed reader will spot a few nods to movies here. Firstly, Carry On At Your Convenience – in which Kennth Kope’s Union leader Vic Spanner is constantly at odds with Kenneth Williams as factory boss W.C Boggs. I’m a huge Carry On fan, and although this particular Carry On is – fittingly – crap, I couldn’t resist curling out a trouserless Kenneth Williams center stage in the bog-based puzzle page.

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Round The Benders: Kenneth Williams and the gang land right in it in Carry On At Your Convenience.

Next up we have something a little less kid-friendly, recent zombies-in-the-toilet comedy horror movie Stalled.

In Stalled, down on his luck every-knob W.C is stuck cleaning toilets on Christmas Eve while the whole office parties around him. Things couldn’t get much worse, until the zombie apocalypse arrives and W.C is left trapped in the crapper and in deep crap!

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Diarrhea Of The Dead: W.C has the crap scared out of him.

Stalled is the bonkers brainchild of madcap movie making Brit duo Dan Palmer and Christian James, and as well as a zombie outbreak it also features artwork by myself and fellow Beano doodler Andy Fanton.

Stalled is available on DVD now from HERE and HERE as well as a host of online streaming sites such as Netflix and BlinkBox.

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Stalled: Plopping out now on DVD & Bluray.

Ignoring my involvement, I loved Stalled, it’s everything a Zombie movie should be and really is a claustrophobic  triumph. You can read a more in-depth review of Stalled on FlickeringMyth.com or watch the trailer HERE (it’s not for kids, obviously!)

Back to the puzzle and, in tribute to Stalled, if you look closely you can see a zombified version of W.C on the left of the page, peeping over the instructions and the background of the page (and this page’s header) is made up of a repeated image used in Stalled‘s online marketing (I asked writer and star Dan Palmer if I could use it).

My next puzzle doesn’t feature any zombies, fart gags, toilets or in-jokes. It’s just a plain old straight up tale of scientists hunting for a yeti. Here’s a sneaky peeky at part of it…

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COR!!: My next puzzle is packed with goodies.

The Beano is out now in all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s and the Co-Op priced £2. It’s packed with comics, puzzles, pranks and competitions as well as appearances from all your favourite comic characters from Dennis The Menace, Billy Whizz, The Bash Street Kids, Bananaman and Roger the Dodger to Biffo the Bear, Pansy Potter and Little Plum.

Finally, I couldn’t flush this blog away without sharing this, my take on Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith from The Dandy.

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Fart Wars: Forcing one out.

 

All artwork on this blog remains property of DC Thomson & Co LTD. All rights, including Digital and Reproduction, are reserved by DC Thomson. No unauthorised reproduction or copying of any of the artwork in this blog is permitted.

All artwork is used by permission for the purpose of review.

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Filed under Carry On, Dan Palmer, Films, Parodies, Puzzle Pages, Stalled, The Beano, The Dandy, Toilet Humour, Zombies

Puzzles, panels and perilous tasks.

PHEW! It’s been a busy few months for me and The Beano! There’s a lot to get through here, so I’ll try and keep it brief!

Firstly, I’ve had 2 new mini strips start:

The latest is Animals Crossing, a daft strip revolving around the traditional “Knock, knock” joke.

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Clucking Hilarious: Animals Crossing runs for 6 weeks in The Beano.

Next up is How To Train Your Parents, which follows on from my Minnie The Minx strip ‘Breaking Dad’. This time the strip features Minnie showing you how to get your parents to do what you want and get your own way!

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Theme Park Larks: How To Train Your Parents runs for 6 weeks in The Beano.

There’s one more mini strip due soon, based around some pop-star punnery…

The last of my established-character based puzzles was printed a couple of weeks ago, featuring Jonah – the unluckiest sailor on the seven seas! In it, Jonah – oh no! It’s ‘im! – won a one way trip to an exotic tropical isle!

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A Whale Of A Time: Jonah sinks my puzzle pages with a tropical island tale.

Next up, the top brass at The Beano asked me to do a nice little puzzle page featuring lovely fluffy bunnies for Easter!

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Funny Bunnys: The header for my Radioactive Rabbit Rampage puzzle page.

There’s more daft puzzles on the way featuring yetis, Frankenstein, intergalactic imbeciles and a plethora of creatures from beyond the stars all coming soon!

Aside from all the doodling, I’ve also been busy writing Gnasher & Gnipper for artist Barrie Appleby, The Nibblers and Little Plum for Hunt Emerson and soon you’ll hopefully be seeing Dennis The Menace‘s fart-machine baby sister return to her own strip, Bea-ginnings! (I’m not sure who the artist is for that one).

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Gnoisless Gnasher: Gnasher lost his Gnash in Barrie Appleby’s Gnasher & Gnipper.

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Starstruck: Porky’s seeing stars in Hunt Emerson’s The Nibblers.

Still with me? Good. This year sees the return of The Beano Summer Special and we’ve all been busy beavering away to bring you a fun-packed, sun-packed treat. I was unexpectedly asked to write a couple of two page Minnie The Minx strips, which are to be drawn by the legendary Nigel Parkinson. Which is a bit like being asked to write a song for George Harrison, then having it recorded by all the Beatles. More on this another time.

I’m also unbelievably pleased to say I’ve been writing a couple of characters for both The Beano Annual and The Dandy Annual 2016. Yes, 2016! (The 2015 Annual hits the shops in a couple of months).

When I got the email asking if I would do it, I genuinely wrote back asking if they were joking! Writing for the Annuals really is a privilege and something I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life. It has to be the highlight of my career so far, even topping my full page strips in The Dandy, drawing Beryl The Peril for ‘Pass the Peril’ and drawing Calamity James and Minnie The Minx for The Beano. To be honest I still can’t believe it!

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Pass Out: The final part of the second Pass the Peril in 2011 on The Dandy’s Facebook page. Apologies for the shambolic shoddy lettering, I was just starting out and had yet to learn to write. Or draw!

I’m not sure why, but it’s traditional not to let on which characters you’re writing for, so I’ll keep schtum for now. All I will say is The Dandy character is easily my favourite DC Thomson character of all time…

Finally, back to The Beano weekly. I’ve just had my first four Little Plum scripts approved, which I really enjoyed writing. I’ll write a blog on them when they appear, but for now I’ll tease a bit more by saying one of the stories features my SECOND favourite DC Thomson character of all time, who, despite being a Beezer character, was regularly shoe-horned (or should that be horse shoe-horned?) into my Dandy strips…

The Beano is available every Wednesday priced £2 from all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s, The Co-Op and Winter Road News, Winter Road, Portsmouth.

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Filed under Barrie Appleby, Comic Strips, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Minnie the Minx, Puzzle Pages, The Beano, The Dandy

The Only Way is Beano,

This week’s Beano sees a brief return of a patented Stu Munro Multi-Puzzle (©SMunro 2014), with ‘The Only Way Is Bash Street, in which Joey Essex off The Only Way Is Essex is sent back to school for being daft and there’s only one school daft enough to take him.

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All artwork and characters are © DC Thomson

As usual I wrote Gnasher’s Bite, in which Dad has a fight on his hands when it’s time for Gnasher’s annual visit to the vet care of Barrie Appleby.

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All artwork and characters are © DC Thomson

Hunt Emerson’s take on The Nibblers sees Whiskers’ latest plan backfire when he accidentally floods the house – WATER disaster, eh readers?

Sorry.

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All artwork and characters are © DC Thomson

On the pages not ruined by my inclusion, Smudge is back by the hand of Alan Ryan, as is Number 13. The Dave Grohl Of Comics™ – Steve Beckett – sends Grandpa on a golfing crash course, Karate Sid‘s kung foolery leaves artist Paul Palmer reeling, Laura Howell’s Les Pretend is one card short of a full deck and her Tricky Dicky suffers a Dicky tum.

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Steve Beckett’s Grandpa tees up for fun.

Lew Stringer’s Rasher is a pig that likes to dig and his Doctor Flu has a money-making scheme that’s snot what it seems. Nigel Parkinson’s Minnie The Minx is minding her manners and Dennis The Menace is taking a page out his own book. There’s rhyme and reason in Alex Matthews’ double page Ball Boy, Wilbur Dawbarn’s Billy Whizz gives his teacher the run-around and Nigel Auchterlounie’s nutty Numbskulls solve the case of what’s going on in Sherlock Holmes’ noggin.

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Lew stringer’s Doctor Flu.

Dave Sutherland’s Bash Street Kids take a chill pill, Wayne Thompson sends help for heroes via helpless hero Bananaman, there’s featherbrained larks with Hunt Emerson’s redskin chum Little Plum and Jamie Smart has been watching too much Game Of Thrones in this week’s deranged Roger The Dodger.

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The Beano issue 3720 – OUT NOW!

The Beano is available in all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Co-Op and there’s only one copy left in the little newsagent up the road from me, so hurry up.

Also out today, the new issue of Dennis The Menace & Gnasher Megazine, which features an ace 32 page pull-out comic of me old chum Andy Fanton’s George Vs Dragon strips! Cor!

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My next puzzle won’t appear for a while – as I haven’t drawn it yet, but it will feature a beloved Beano sea-faring sailor from yesteryear…

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Filed under Alexander Matthews, Andy Fanton, Barrie Appleby, Billy Whizz, Comic Strips, Dave Sutherland, Dennis the Menace, George Vs Dragon, Gnasher, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Jamie Smart, Lew Stringer, Minnie the Minx, Puzzle Pages, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The Nibblers

Stop. Hammer time.

Working for The Beano (and previously The Dandy) has and always will be such a privilege. There’s nothing like the feeling you get from telling people that’s what you do for a living (after you explain the fact that people CAN draw comics for a living). It’s a childhood dream realised and something that I’ll always be proud of.

This week, however, I am especially proud – because my artwork made the cover! Connect Thor, a daft puzzle page in which the almighty God of Thunder turns into the almighty God of blunder, is featured in the lower left of the cover.

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There’s nothing as amazing as seeing your own art in printed form glaring out at you from the newsagent’s shelf. I managed it a couple of times with The Dandy (and bought multiple copies to prove it!) but hitting the front cover of The Beano is like getting a number one hit single. I just hope it’s not a one hit wonder!

Funnily enough, Connect Thor is actually a redo of my first ever puzzle for The Dandy, which I pitched on the off-chance when it was proving harder to get strips accepted. It was my first ever puzzle page – and it shows. Printed in late 2011, the art is broad and clunky, there is no shadowing, no layers, it’s made up of one solid drawing and the puzzle is remarkably easy! The ‘new’ version is made up of about 15 layers of art. Here’s the original.

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I pitched a second go at it to tie-in with the new film. in the newer version the puzzle is quite tough, the art is far better and I’ve fleshed out the premise a bit. If you want to see how far my ‘art’ has come since the early days this is a fine example. Here’s a snippet:

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I’m also pleased to say there is a second puzzle in there by me: Boy Band In Space. I’m uncharacteristically pleased with the final result on this one (though I think the contrast on my monitor might need adjusting, as it came out much darker than I thought). It’s a dumb puzzle with a silly premise, which always makes for the best puzzle pages.

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Finally, The Beano have let me loose with one of their oldest characters (and my personal favourite) Minnie the Minx. She’s the star of my new mini-strip (a Minnie mini!) Breaking Dad! Each week there’s a different pun on the title (last week was Shaking Dad, this week it’s Raking Dad) and the strip sees Minnie inflicting all manner of injuries on her long suffering Dad. Don’t worry, It bears no resemblance to the TV show which gave it it’s pun title.

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The strip runs for another 4 weeks and eagle-eyed Mum & Dad Breaking Bad fans (don’t watch it kids, there’s no cartoons or songs or anything!) will hopefully get a kick out of the forthcoming ‘Mistaking Dad’ episode…

If you’re not a fan of me, it also feature’s Andy Fanton‘s Ninja Nuns, Jamie Smart’s Roger The Dodger and a brilliantly weird Billy Whizz by Wilbur Dawbarn. The Beano is available in all good newsagents, WH Smith’s, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-Op and the little corner shop up the road from me priced £2.

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Filed under Comic Strips, Puzzle Pages, The Beano, The Dandy, Uncategorized