I’ve been pestering The Beano to let me have a go at scripting comics for a while. I usually write my own stuff, but I really enjoy the freedom that comes with writing for another artist. Any cartoonist who writes their own comics will tell you that they’re always thinking “do I really want to have to draw that?”. Knowing another artist will be tackling it really lets the creativity flow!
Late last year The Beano Ed finally relented and offered me the chance of scripting ‘Man Vs Wood’, a mini-strip by Nick Brennan (of Crazy For Daisy and Blinky) and I really enjoyed seeing Nick’s interpretation of my daft pun-laden script.
I did more script work for the Christmas issue and was then offered the chance to bring back a classic character as part of a revamp in the new year: The Nibblers.
The Nibblers originally ran from 1970 to 1974. In 1977 it was revived, and continued in the comic until 1984. The initial run was drawn by Ron Spencer, and the second by John Sherwood. It’s John Sherwood’s run that I remember as a kid, so when The Nibblers have a Pizza delivered in the first strip I paid tribute to him by having them live at 77 Sherwood Crescent.
The strip is drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist (no pun intended. Mice? Underground? Oh please yourselves) Hunt Emerson, meaning that I am – *ahem* – probably as good a writer as Alan Moore (who wrote Emerson’s take on Leviticus). I couldn’t believe it when I saw who was drawing the strip, it really is an honour to write it. Hunt is also back drawing Little Plum after a 7 year hiatus, in which he drew Ratz.
I’m really enjoying writing The Nibblers, the characters are so much fun to write and so far I’ve managed to Caerphilly avoid cheese puns.
Amazingly, I’ve also been given the job of scripting a true Beano icon… Dennis’ faithful Abyssinian wire-haired tripe hound: Gnasher! Here’s a panel from this week’s chaotic tail… I mean TALE!
Originally drawn by Bash Street Kids legend Dave Sutherland from the 70 – 90s, then Numbskulls artist Barry Glennard, Gnasher is now drawn by Beano Hall-Of-Famer and firm fan favourite Barrie Appleby. Barrie’s other work includes (among many many other things) ten years on Roger The Dodger as well as drawing Bananaman and Cuddles & Dimples for The Dandy.
His artwork on Gnasher is far superior to anything I could imagine and writing for it has easily been the highlight of my career so far. As the weeks go on readers will see more of Gnasher‘s son Gnipper and *spoiler alert* this week’s strip features a cameo from The Beano‘s other cartoon canines, Pup Parade.
This week’s Beano also see’s the return of old favourites Les Pretend and Rasher by laura Howell and Lew stringer respectively, as well as Number 13, Karate Sid, Tricky Dicky, Calamity James, Bananaman and the usual Dennis The Menace, Minnie The Minx, Bash Street Kids, Billy Whizz and Roger The Dodger. It is on sale now in all good newsagents, priced £2 – more power to your pocket money!