Friday 19 September 2014

Happy Birthday to Soup (part 3)....

Issue #9 cover, by Dave Alexander
Once more into the breach.... Today Dave Alexander returns to guide us through the beginnings of Electric Soup (em, apologies, but once again it's a piece nabbed from a book intro)....

Issue #9 back cover, by Tommy Somme
"In 1985 (!), when Tommy Sommerville and myself began talking about starting a comic, Tommy's strip "Adolf Bustard - Traffic Warden" and the now two page MacBam story with front and back covers, comprised what was to become Electric Soup.

Issue #10 cover, by Tommy Somme
Electric Soup from the start was a self-financed venture, and distributed round local record and comic shops (especially the aforementioned FutureShock! and AKA) in the time honoured fashion - plastic carrier bag and Shanks's pony.

Issue #10 back cover, by Hugh McKenna
The money made from each issue financed the printing of the next one, and it wasn't until John Brown Publishing signed us up after 7 self-published issues that we actually started to get paid for our efforts - £50 a page, but still welcome.

Issue #11 cover, by Hugh McKenna
With print runs of 50,000 we went national and international but didn't end up millionaires like the Viz guys. Where's the fuckn justice, eh?!"

Issue #11 back cover, by Padam Singh

Issue #12 cover, by Padam Singh

Issue #12 back cover, by Rob McCallum


  1. I'm finding it odd/frustrating that the earlier, self-published issues are easier to find on eBay than the later, mass-distributed ones...

    Just saying, like.

    1. Aha, well, I may actually have the answer to that. From my experience steering Wasted the difference will be that (unless the guys specified) it's very likely they maybe only got a few boxes of each of the later issues - I assume JBP would order direct from the printer and have the comics sent straight for distribution. If the common practice was the same then as it is now, then all the unsold issues (again, unless specified (and subsequently paid for!)) would be destroyed after being taken off sale after the agreed date. We usually got a box of Wasteds sent to Hope Street for comps, subs, etc. and only on a few occasions did we get 'returns', often too scrappy to do anything with having been punted to warehouse to shop to warehouse to us. I'm guessing as they were more or less distributing the thing themselves that a lot of the unsold early Soups just sat about in boxes with the guys themselves - I'm pretty sure on one visit to Red Hot Comics a few years ago I spied boxes upon boxes of mint condition issues 6 & 7, as well as the 10th Anusversary (again, this was self-published by themselves)....

    2. Well that explains that one then, cheers! That would also explain the near-full run of Northern Lightz that I was sent from there last year, I'm supposing...

      Well, the "hunt" is still on!

    3. Spot on, as Northern Lightz had to be self-distributed due to content - the high street (ho ho!) distributors wouldn't allow that sort of thing, at least not on the cover, a lesson learned as early as Wasted #1's endlessly rejigged effort. Of course, by aiming more at that market Wasted sort of fell between the 2 stools and was then less attractive to the (shrinking) head shop-esque crowd, but with it being a smaller and more erratic area to distribute to it was a no-brainer. Even the much hoped for Wasted tabloid scandal would have seen little more than an immediate withdrawal from the shelves and an end to our deal, so no 70's style notoriety to be gained from pursuing that avenue....

      The later, slightly slicker issues of NLz - Alan Grant bought into the comic around issue #7, I think? - suffered more along these lines, with soporific scheduling and the final issue, well, I'm not sure if it made it much further than the front door at Hope Street due to the core team disintegrating (as well as many of them having other work commitments). A shame, but then again, what a way to go with "The Evil of Sickface" being the very final word.... A corker!

    4. Yeah, Wasted always seemed a bit disjointed - too many reprints for the faithful, too many in-jokes etc for the newcomers...

      Agreed though, the last page of the last issue's fantastic. It's taken a while for Miller's stuff to "click" with me, but I'm glad it finally did.