Over on Twitter, Nick Xylas asked:
How did you make the leap from humour titles like The Beano to Doctor Who and Star Trek?
Thanks for the question, Nick. It actually happened the other way round. I’d been working on Doctor Who since 2001, writing audios, prose and comic strips. Then, after I went freelance, I was fortunate enough to be asked to write a behind-the-scenes book about the Beano, with histories for most of the main characters from the 1930s to the present say, plus key moments from the comic’s development. I was flown up to the Beano‘s headquarters in Dundee and given access to the DC Thomson archives, which was a massive treat for this UK comic nerd. Imagine a warehouse bursting with artwork going all the way back to the early days of the Beano and Dandy. I was in seventh heaven. In fact, I wrote about my visit here…
While I was up there, I think I impressed editor-in-chief Mike Sterling with my knowledge of DC Thomson’s characters, and I was asked if I fancied pitching some ideas for Minnie the Minx. Did I ever? I duly sent off a batch of gags, one of which ultimately became ‘Chester the Menace‘, my first strip for the Beano, back in 2014.
Unfortunately, the book itself never saw the light of day. It was written and designed, complete with new Dennis the Menace comics strips illustrated by Nigel Parkinson. Everyone loved it, but for one reason or another, it was never published. It exists though, ready to go to print if the word is given. In fact, I have the PDFs right here on my computer. These kind of things happen all the time in publishing, and they’re always heartbreaking, especially after so much work has gone into them. But, I can’t be too sad in this case as it led to writing so many strips for the Beano over the years, as well as other Beano books such as The Golden Catapult.
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