Wednesday, January 17, 2018

TOXIC reaches issue 300 today!

These days, it's rare for a children's magazine to have such longevity, but Egmont's Toxic magazine for boys has just reached a milestone of 300 issues. The magazine began publication in September 2002, and is published every three weeks (it was originally monthly) so a run of just over 15 years (and counting) is very impressive for a contemporary publication. A top selling publication for its target audience, Toxic has spawned several rival imitators over the years. Even the legendary Dandy had a makeover at one point, as Dandy Xtreme, in an less than successful bid to try and capture the magic. 

Originally edited by Matt Yeo, then Andy Davidson, Frank Tennyson, and Simon Ward, Toxic's current editor is Paul Lang with Matthew Pratt as his Deputy Editor. Contributing artists and writers over the years have included Laura Howell, John Short, Alex Paterson, Jasper Bark, Paul Palmer, Nigel Kitching and Jamie Smart. The premise of Toxic is to provide its young readers with breezy news and features on the latest movies, toys, games and suchlike, with a strong sense of fun and irreverence. 

"Gross" humour abounds, particularly in the comic strips. Team Toxic has been in the mag since the very first issue, with its core characters Doc Shock, Bog, Sludge, Kid Zombie, and Krunk initially created by Matt Yeo and original artist John Rushby. I was invited to script the comedy adventures of Team Toxic from issue one, and also became the artist from issue 15 when John left the strip. I've been writing and drawing it ever since. The Team protect the city from numerous bizarre villains that I've created, such as Sick Squid, Frankendrac, Techno Troll, Antimatter Hari, and Butt-Face. The solutions usually involve the aforementioned "gross humour" such as Bog unleashing a mighty fart or Kid Zombie bowling the villains over with his detachable head. The style of humour, with monsters, crazy villains, and cringe-inducing puns, is similar in style to my old Combat Colin strips, but with more jokes about bodily functions. It's been a pleasure to write and draw Team Toxic for all these years, and long may it continue. 

The latest Team Toxic story, Birthday Bash, sees Butt-Face and Sand-Witch steal the Toxic collection from comics critic Grumpy McGrumpyface, which interrupts the Team having a slap-up feed to celebrate the magazine's 300th milestone. 

Also in this issue, stinky superhero Captain Gross, by Russ Carvell, who has also worked for the magazine for years, plus Ruined Ronaldo, drawn by Steve McGarry. 

Apart from the Team Toxic strip, the magazine doesn't make a fuss about the 300th issue, focusing instead on features on superhero movies, Star Wars, a Thor Ragnarok pull-out poster, and puzzles.



As is expected of kids' magazines these days, Toxic comes bagged with a mixture of toys, cards and stickers. Here's what to look for in the shops...

Toxic No.300 is on sale now from newsagents and supermarkets. £3.99 


11 comments:

Peter Gray said...

How many stories of Team Toxic roughly have you done and good news for you..

Lew Stringer said...

Well it *would* have been 300 stories, but it went reprint for a while so I'm guessing around 285 Team Toxic strips (plus the two I've already done for future issues).

PhilEdBoyce said...

Great news to see it reach that number and still selling well, and a good indicator of the non-strip content inside which, unlike some bagged children's titles, seems to be of good quality. You mention Steve McGarry, is that the same Steve McGarry who contributed to Oink?

Lew Stringer said...

It is indeed, Phil. It was good to finally meet him at the Lakes comic festival last year and have a little chat.

PhilEdBoyce said...

Oh that's brilliant news to know he's still doing kids' comics too, and alongside you no less! Thanks for the info, just wanted to make sure of that before I make reference to him on my blog!

Lew Stringer said...

Steve moved to California many years ago and keeps busy producing strips and artwork for various publishers. Here's his website:
http://stevemcgarry.com/

SID said...

I always thought it was sad that Egmont didn't persevere with Buster rather than cancel it and then bring Toxic out just three years later. If they have had, there would have been a big celebration in 2020 plus it would have been a milestone in British comics.

Lew Stringer said...

Buster hadn't been doing well for a long time though (no thanks to it being all-reprint) so it had to go. Toxic was a success from the outset so they made the right decision. Buster would not have survived to the present day.

Colin Jones said...

I know nothing about Toxic but the name "Antimatter Hari" made me chuckle. The kids won't understand the reference but some will when they're older :)

Lew Stringer said...

Yep, entertain them with the story then give them an extra smile in the future when they understand the pun in the name. 😄

PhilEdBoyce said...

Haha, something which I appreciated many times in my read through of Oink! as an adult!

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