"Okay, I’ll start with a short but nevertheless
Very Short but Nevertheless Uninteresting Biography
spent a year at art school before deciding to try for a short
service commission in the army (Having seen and inspected
totally nude woman in the life drawing class everything else
seemed tame!). The objective was simple: to win the VC and
live to tell the tale. Preferably with all my limbs and mental
faculties intact. Alas, it was not to be. After telling me
got “Foxtrot” in Leadership I reminded them I was applying
to join the army, not the Mecca Ballroom.
be an idiot!" they said. "Foxtrot means you’ve been graded
“F” in Leadership."
"Is that bad?"
"Bad? It means you have the leadership qualities
of a Lemming."
deciding I wasn’t officer material they remembered they
were short of cannon fodder. So they persuaded me to join
and try again. They didn’t have to twist my arm. I fact,
to prove how pliable I was, they had me juggling live hand
grenades behind a pile of sandbags. So ended up where all
failed officer candidates end up, in the Intelligence Corps.
Having saved Democracy from the Red Menace, I left the army
and trained as a psychiatric nurse, (I should have been a
but they were short of staff.) Finally, I became a psychotherapist
before eventually leaving the NHS to become a freelance writer.
I’m married with two children and I’ve written for magazines,
children’s comics, television and radio. I also wrote jokes
a number of comedians… even when they begged me not
Using a combination of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Poser,
I also create cartoons on my Apple Mac G4 by digitally remixing
old photographs. I know this is shameless self-publicising,
samples of my artwork can
be found here.
started out in the early 1980’s writing for magazines. Women’s
confessional magazines, to be exact. On a regular basis I
myself having to cope with unwanted pregnancies and unfaithful
husbands/boy friends. It was a stressful experience. My analyst
told me I was letting my imagination run away with me.
"Just remember you’re not a woman," he said.
"I’m not?" I cried. "That’s great. Now I can
Then I heard that DC Thomson were always looking for writers
for their comics. I’d been a fan of comics ever since I was
I’d also had some experience. My parents were that poor they
couldn’t afford to buy me any, so I had to write and draw
How poor were we? Well, my mother used to use the wax from
our ears to polish the floor. Anyway, I started out on "Commando"
and my career as a war hero kicked off with a WW2 story
entitled “Coward in Khaki”, published in the 1980’s.
That was just the start. They say war is hell. Well,
I can confirm
that because I’ve fought in most of the major military campaigns
of the 20th Century. From the mud of Flanders to the jungles
Vietnam. I’ve fought the Germans whilst serving in the British,
Australian, American French and Polish armed forces. I even
switched sides. As a German soldier, I’ve fought the Russians
and, just to balance things out, I’ve fought the Germans
serving with the Red Army. I’ve been a legionnaire serving
WW2, Korea and Vietnam and I’ve served with distinction in
the Commandos. Not satisfied with that, I served as
combat-seasoned leatherneck in the United States Marine Corps
where I fought the Viet Cong and the Japanese (just to make
sure Ho Chi Min and Emperor Hirohito knew who they were up
against, I fought them both as an Aussie). But it hasn’t
military brawn. No, I’ve also been a boffin. Finally, I’ve
more than my bit in the French Resistance. Amongst my other
skills I’m a qualified sniper, combat engineer, signaller,
artilleryman, tank driver and fighter pilot.
So much for the army selection board! - Foxtrot in Leadership?
They must be joking. But when Britain went to war in
happened? Not a word from the MOD. They decided they
need my help. And look at the mess they made of it.
In the meantime I’d also sold an idea to the "Warlord"
(or was it "Bullet", which merged with "Warlord"?)
story was entitled “The Hammer of Vulkan” and involved a
of German soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front. Great!
on home ground. I followed that by writing for established
characters like “Three Men in a Jeep”, “Union Jack Jackson”
and “The Big Palooka.”
One idea I recall coming up with was "Steelhead Sam".
about a guy whose entire skull had been replaced with a super-tough
metal. He was a cut down version of the Million Dollar Man
Americans, we could only afford to do the head.) Don’t ask
it was achieved because I’m no orthopaedic surgeon. Anyway,
not only did bullets just bounce off it, it also doubled
useful battering ram. Needless to say, I advised the readers
not to try this at home.
also wrote for "The Victor". Probably one reason why it folded.
stories I recall writing were for “Tuff of the Track,” “Morgyn
(DC Thomson’s answer to Tarzan), “Mike’s Millions” and a
series called “Pendragon.” I also did my bit in "Bomber
when I also flew with "Braddock VC.”
this point I must confess I even did a spell writing for the girls
comics. I told my wife it was my feminine side coming
out. She told
me she didn’t mind who I wrote for as long as they paid me
to do it.
Thankfully, all I can recall was a series called “Melody
ran in either "Bunty" or "Mandy" and
some stories that appeared
in "Bunty Library". Let’s be fair. These are not
the sort of credits a
testosterone-fuelled male writer needs. Can you imagine Mickey
Spillane writing for Mills & Boone? That’s life, I suppose.
you’re throttling a German sentry with a length of cheese
the next you’re playing with your dolls...
also worked for Thomson’s younger market, "The Dandy" and
"The Beano". The characters I recall writing
Desperate Dan Dennis
the Menace Minnie the Minx
The Three Bears Roger
the Dodger Brassneck
Lord Snooty Bash
Mickey the Mouth Bully
Beef & Chips
Cuddles and Dimples.
There may have been others. On top of this, I was also
to "The Dandy & Beano Comic Library".
Apart from the characters
above, I also scripted stories for Jonah, (my favourite),
Colonel Blink. In fact, if I remember correctly I even resurrected
the anorexic Keyhole Kate! It wasn’t easy because I was constantly
tempted to show Kate looking through the bathroom keyhole.
was before the PC Brigade took over. Nowadays, peeping through
keyholes would be regarded as anti-social behaviour and get
you an ASBO.
DC Thomson title I wrote for was the sci-fi series,
"Starblazer". The first one was “Holocaust Hogan”
and I also
created and wrote for the "Carter Mandroid" series.
that once "Starblazer" folded Arthur C. Clark breathed
"The swine! It’ll take me years to regain my cult status!"
reading Leo Baxendale’s excellent book, “A Very Funny Business,”
I decided to do what he did and try my hand with Fleetway,
unlike Leo, I continued working for Thomson.) I got
a letter from one
of the editors - Bob Paynter - who asked me to meet
some guys in
Manchester. They turned out to be Mark Rodgers, Tony
Patrick Gallagher who said they were creating a new
Oink!. I told them
I was interested in writing some stuff for them
and they invited me to the launch. It was a memorable
trip. We visited
the Bahamas and the Caiman Islands and returned via
the Cape of
Good Horn. Unfortunately, the only thing I came up with
character called “Billy Bang.” This was a kid who literally
with anger. I believe it was the world’s first recorded
Spontaneous Human Fulmination. Fortunately for Billy, he
to circumvent the Law of Entropy and reassemble himself in
for the next episode. It’s said that Stephen Hawking is still
to find out how he did it (if you can, there’s a Nobel Prize
it for you, Steve!)
Why didn’t I do more? The truth is, I was overstretched.
was I doing the DC Thomson work outlined above, Bob had also
me to supply scripts for "Buster" and "Whizzer
& Chips". If memory
serves me well, I supplied scripts for the following
Lott & Tony Broke
Pete’s Pop Up Book Sammy
Sid’s Snake The
Sweeny Toddler Sweet
suppose Beastenders stands out
because Bob Paynter asked me
to start off the series and come up with some characters.
also the one I enjoyed doing most.
So how were the scripts done? They were similar to TV
scripts. Each picture was numbered, followed a description
the scene. Finally, the dialogue and any panels that might
How long did they take? Well, I could usually knock
up three or
four a day (scripts, I hasten to add, not women!).
Another episode from my time at Fleetway also stands
out. I recall
meeting Bob and some of the other staff in London where
I was dabbling with computer artwork and he asked me
to do some.
The result was a feature called “Shiner’s Micro Chip-ite
Believe it or not, but the text and artwork were done
I do anything apart from the comics? Did I have the time to do
anything else? Well, by the simple expedient of working
night, I was able to contribute to the following...
and articles to: "The Nursing Times", "True Magazine",
"Woman’s Way", "Computer Mart", "Fiesta"
Sketches and quickies to TV shows like: "The
"Three of a Kind", "Saturday Night Live",
Scripting: "Bunbury Tails" (Bob Godfrey)
And work commissioned by Exley Publishing (joke books)
and Henderson Publishers (How-To children’s books).
am I doing nowadays? Well, apart from keeping up a regular
output of "Commando" stories, I do scripts
for an Indian animation
studio. I also write some articles for magazines, mostly
American and Canadian market. Finally, I’m working on some
projects with a couple of artists, Nick Miller and Martin