Splank! is a hardcopy magazine printed on good quality stock featuring comic strips inspired by, or in the spirit of, the British comics of old. It features a mixture of genres from humour to adventure and will hark back to my memories of the comics I read throughout my childhood.
Splank! is printed at A4 (210 x 297), so any artwork supplied should be, roughly, in those proportions. Artwork may be resized slightly to fit if necessary. If your strip is intended to be printed full page, without a border, please allow a minimum of a 3mm bleed on all sides and let me know in advance.
Stories are accepted from anyone with an interest, from seasoned professionals to keen youngsters. And it's the spirit of the old comics I'm after, not the style.
Contact address is Splank@Boxofrainmag.co.uk
I would ask potential contributors to have read these submission guidelines carefully and know the type of material I am looking for. Ideally you should have read the first issue and the Cthulhu Kids comic to see the type of material I enjoy. That being said I am open to anything new, so long as it fits with the spirit of Splank! I love to be surprised.
I will look at completed strips, early ideas or proposals, scripts, or art samples and will talk to anyone about any ideas they have that seem to tie in with my plans.
Writers should send me either complete scripts or outlines or e-mail me with an idea they would like to develop. I prefer Microsoft Word for text documents as long story ideas in e-mail format are awkward because the formatting never seems to survive the settings on my e-mail.
Artists without a specific strip in mind, should send me samples of their work and I’ll try to match them up with a suitable writing partner. Please make sure the samples are in the genre and style you prefer to work in and I much prefer comic strip work rather than pin-ups or single images.
If you are one of those people who can write and draw then firstly, I hate you, but I’ll swallow that envy back and look at anything you want to send me.
Strips can be anything up to five pages, but that will mainly apply to adventure strips, any longer than that please have a word with me first. Half or quarter page gag strips are also welcome and while I’m also interested in newspaper style 3-4 panel strips, I can only use a very small number of them.
Make me laugh, send me ideas in the vein of Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid or Mike Higgs. I have a weakness for surreal, grotesque comedy and parody. I like spy stories, horror tales, or the antics of ‘funny animals’ and dreadful kids.
Think Dennis the Menace, Biffo the Bear or Uncle Scrooge. Check out as much of Mike Higg’s, Cloak strip or Baxendale’s Grimley Fiendish as you can find online, they are about as good as comics get. There are few books of Ken Reid strips available at present, buy those to see how good humour comics can be.
Avoid Cthulhu parodies, not because I don’t like them, but because I’ve one of my own and I don’t want the competition.
Finally, I love really busy, single panel strips. Things like Baxendale’s Banana Bunch or the Moonsters from Sparky. Lots of sight gags, all on one page. I’d be delighted to see a few of those. Here is a couple of examples of what I'm talking about.
I’m not interested in US style costumed Superheroes, I have them covered, but would be pleased of see adventure strips featuring Pirates, Knights of Old, Mad Scientists, Giant Creatures threatening the UK or Cowboys. Detective stories are fine, as are historical dramas.
I love science fiction, but keep it a little stiff-upper lipped, pre-2000AD style. (Your 2000AD-style ideas should be directed to Sector 13). My personal favourites were Captain Condor from Lion, Robot Archie and any strip where survivors are trying to rebuild society after some totally horrific event..
I'm really keen to find strips with a supernatural edge, especially things with a ‘Misty’ feel to them or in the vein of Janus Stark from SMASH! , indeed I have a specific idea for a 17th Century anti-hero story I’d be keen to work up with a writer and an artist.
World War II stories were a huge part of the comics of my youth. Victor, Battle, Warlord. Happy to take a look at anything in this field, but war stories will not be a dominant genre in Splank! and I’m as happy to see something set in ancient history as in the 20th Century.
As a clue to where my own interests lie, I always preferred Air Ace to any of the other picture libraries and was more likley to pick up a story set in Roman times than a WWII strip.
Mixed genre stories are welcome, I’ve an idea for a funny animal factual war story that I’d be interested in working with someone on – when I get the time.
My parents used to buy respectable comics like ‘Look and Learn’ and ‘World of Wonder’ for me. Mainly to keep me away from the trashy comics I really liked.
These were factual comics featuring history and science, exploration and technology. I learnt a lot and really enjoyed them, even though ‘The Trigan Empire’ was the real appeal of Look and Learn rather the tales of Victorian explorers.
I’m very open to strips or illustrated text pieces which follow the pattern of Look and Learn. I don’t want to cover the usual subjects. So anything slightly off-beat or different would be most likely to be accepted. Comics about quantum physics or philosophy of mind, or some new twist on string-theory would be more than happily looked at. If you can keep it it to two pages.
But I also like fake news, so a parody of the old factual pages, something that may not be totally true, written in as straight-faced and funny way as possible would be great. Think of these pages as a place where it is always April Fool's day.
Decisions of the editor on contents are final and totally arbitrary. They are based on the opinion of one person, me. I may well turn away a great story, writer or artist because I don't recognise the quality of the work, or because in my view its in a style I don't want to feature in Splank! I'll try to be honest in my responses and as constructive as I can be, but I know from personal experience how disappointing it can be to be turned down. I'm also slow to respond sometimes so feel free to send me reminders or follow up e-mails. And unless I actually say something like "never contact me again, you freak!*" then do come back to me with future ideas.
Peter Duncan (Editor)
*I've only done this once