May 25th, 2012

LF talks to Nigel Auchterlounie, the funny and offbeat mind that has been tending to ‘The Bogies’ for the Dandy, and his own super blog ‘Spleenal’……Bringing the funny to comics- hurrah!

LF: How did you start creating work for the Dandy? 

NA: I'd sent a bunch of stuff over the years to The Beano, The Dandy, 2000ad, Deadline etc. mostly with no response or when I was obviously a kid, a nice letter saying "keep drawing and you'll get really good." I've never heard of anyone actually getting a gig off sending something into the address in the mag. It always seems to be "I met this guy who knew the editor" kind of stuff.

I was working as a modelmaker for a company that made a toy range called the Bogies -they thought a comic strip in a kids magazine would be a cool advert. They knew I drew comics as a hobby so got me to do it.

I don't know what the deal was for this ad/strip thing, I was just pleased to have a strip in something. A mag called Toxic at first, and then The Dandy.

Then when the Dandy had a revamp and moved to just pure comics they needed some more cartoonists. I'd proved I could deliver with the Bogies so they asked me to do other stuff.

LF: What were your fave reads as a kid?

NA: I started reading Nutty as a kid. I don't know when they (DC Thompson) stopped publishing it, but Banana Man survived and is still in the Dandy today. After Nutty I graduated to 2000AD. I always had my head stuck in a comic.

LF: And now, as an adult?

NA: Now I'm mostly reading BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal and Research Defense from Dark Horse) and I'm excited about Prophet (Image Comics).

LF: What would you cite as specific influences on your work?

NA: I draw what I can't buy. I don't make any real money from Spleenal so buying something like it would be a lot less trouble than having to do it my self.

I don't try to do stuff like BPRD or Prophet because that is already being done so well by those guys, but no one is making Freak Brothers comics any more. For a while there was Cud Comics but that didn't last.

How come you can have comedy films and TV shows, but comedy in comics has to be just for kids? What's that about? I like my serious moody emotionally damaged super freaks as much as the next guy, but does it really have to be just that? How cool would an IT crowd comic be? Or Spaced? or... well you get me don't you?

Is that an influence? Making what I'd rather be buying? Freak Brother comics and Graham Linehan comedies. Hey Graham! Let me do a Black Books comic!

My biggest regret, by the way, is when I did a strip called "The day after the end of time". Spleenal gets to go back in time and meet R Crumb and Gilbert Shelton of Freak Brothers fame. It was just on my crappy site so I didn't bother finding out what he looks like, because he'll never read it, right?

I just drew someone who looks a bit like fat freddy. Then it did get published by Blankslate and I saw a picture of Gilbert Shelton doing a signing at forbidden planet and there was my book on the table next to him! He looks nothing like fat freddy, why would he? 

LF: Do you always draw and write everything yourself? 

NA: Yes. Especially the spelling mistakes.

LF: Are you keen on collaborations? If so, what would your dream collaboration be?

NA: I like writing more than drawing so it would be an artist. I'd want Guy Davis. He could do a Black Books comic with me :) Yeah make that happen.

LF: We will do our best- come on readers- lets make this happen!
Outside of UK funnies, what other types of comic float your boat?

 NA: I don't really buy a lot of comics because I can't afford it, because I'm a cartoonist. I like Appleseed, Dirty Pair, Kevin Huizenga, Ivan Brunetti, stuff like that.

LF: How would you describe Spleenal/Where I vent my Spleen to a complete newbie?

 NA: It's about a bald cartoonist who can't come to terms with how stupid the world is.

I hope that it's about so little it could be about anything. I'm reinventing the super hero genre at the moment, after that you may get something about the relationship between quantum mechanics and economics and/or boobs.

LF: Is there an overall story arc, or is Spleenal more singular and stand alone? It seems the later episodes online are more connected- are themed elements to continue?

NA: No. A lot of the long ones seem to me to be me trying to persuade myself that it wouldn't be a good idea if I got what I want. Is that a theme?

LF: Who would win- Galactus or Cthulhu?

NA:  I'd like to think Galactus, but I have no facts to back that up.

Nigel Aucherlounie is a regular contributor to The Dandy and is producing solo works on Spleenal/Where I vent my spleen,  for lovely online consumption.

Check him out at:

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