Monday 15 September 2014

Happy Birthday to Soup (part 1)....

Issue #1 front cover, by Dave Alexander
Yep, yabassas, it's 25 years this month since Electric Soup first (dis)graced the shelves of local retailers. Without further adieu we'll hand over today's blog to Dave Alexander for his recollection of the first issue launch....

Issue #1 (limited edition) back cover, by Dave Alexander
"I can't remember the exact date, but it was a Saturday in September 1989 at a comic mart in The City Halls in Candleriggs in Glasgow city centre. It might have been put on by Frank Plowright, as his early Glascac comic conventions took place there in 1990. The original Electric Soup team were there - Tommy “Somme” Sommerville, Padam “Zing” Singh, Frank Quitely and Dave “Zander” Alexander. (Jim “Jammy Jamster“ McEwan, Hugh “Shug” McKenna and several others became part of the regular team in 1990).

Issue #2 front cover, by Frank Quitely
A large crowd had gathered outside the double-doors, and Tommy and myself cunningly stationed ourselves at either side to hand out flyers. When the doors flew open the crowd surged past us and we managed to hand out about ten flyers between us. Rather sheepishly we headed back to our table, where we sat for an hour without a single person coming over, and not selling a single comic....

Issue #2 back cover, by Tommy Sommerville
Then Frank Quitely had one of his brilliant (if desperate) ideas - "Why don't I stand at the table as if I've just bought a copy, and laugh my head off?" This he did, shouting at the top of his lungs "HAW - THIS IS RERR!!!" (i.e. rare, brilliant), and giving out the loudest most unconvincing pretend laughing fit ever heard. Three hundred or so people stopped everything they were doing and stared over at us in a mixture of fear and amazement....

Issue #3 front cover, by Tommy Sommerville
We were, quite frankly, totally embarrassed and hid our faces behind copies of the comic - Somme's face going an even deeper shade of red than it usually was, and Zing's going a few shades paler than usual. Vin's overacting seemed to do the trick however as people started trickling over, picking it up, looking through it, laughing, and amazingly - buying it. We sold at least a hundred copies over the next couple of hours - not bad for a comic and a bunch of would be comic artists nobody had ever heard of.

Issue #3 back cover, by Padam Singh
The late Neil Craig of Futureshock in Byres Road was suitably impressed and there and then paid for 100 copies - the first comic shop owner to take it. John McShane of AKA Books and Comics was hot on his heels and put in a similar order to be delivered to their shop in the now sadly gone Virginia Galleries in Virginia Street.

Issue #4 front cover, by Padam Singh
Three weeks later we had sold the last copies of our initial 1,000 limited edition print run, paid off our printers Expressprint, and ordered another 3,000 copies of issue one. There was no stopping us after that and we started working on issue two, aiming for a Christmas release. Two and a half years later we had produced seventeen issues and the best selling "Cream of Condensed Soup", a collected edition of the best of issues one to seven. Not bad, considering we were only going to do one issue for a laugh."

Issue #4 back cover by Frank Quitely


  1. Happy birthday, ya basts!

    Looking forward to the rest of the story, and hoping for a re-issue of "The Cream Of", and perhaps even a "Volume 2" of said book?

  2. Why thank you! Hmm, not so sure about reissues I'm afraid (other than single artist collections). It was kinda mooted last year, but.... If you can hang on another 25 years we might get The Greens book out....

    1. 23 years would be acceptable...

      I have the MacBams and Shug 90 books - and have JUST NOTICED the rest of the Braw Books shop - seems I've some saving and spending to do!

    2. "Greens book won't be long now..." to quote the man himself!

      Ah, good stuff! Indeed it's all excellent stuff ! If and when funds allow drop me a line and I'll do you a handsome deal. Cheers, Rob.