(From the book introduction)

In 1990 I landed the plum job of producing new material for a showbag company - two comics per year. They were printed in very large numbers and included in the sample bags available at various Royal Shows, fetes and fairs for unsuspecting children to read on the ride home while finishing the last of the sherbet. 

When it came to do the next two comics for 1992, I had instructions to make one of the comics more suitable for girls this time, so it forced me to create something I probably wouldn't have normally.

Being a big fan of musical fantasy films 'The Wizard Of Oz' and books like 'Alice In Wonderland', 'Rupert The Bear' annuals and anything by Enid Blyton, I had an idea to create something similar in comic form. Deliberately old-fashioned in style with a moralistic undertone (without being too cheesy) and with breaks for songs that you could make up your own melody to.

As it sometimes happens with moments of inspiration, I sat down one hot summer day and the entire draft of the story poured out in one long sitting, including sketches of characters. I used an existing character from my earlier comics, Penni Coffeeground as the protaganist along with a kind of dream-powered spaceship called The Ovoid which would be used in many further stories..

Tales from The Ovoid' #1 - '(Lil') Penni In Vegetaria'  finally appeared mid 1992 as a roughly A4 sized, black and white interior comic on cheap pulp paper. I was relieved when hundreds of fan mail letters poured in from girls (and some boys) describing the parts they liked best and drawings of the characters. 

In 2001, 'Penni in Vegetaria' was coloured by Greg Gates and digitally relettered to run in a 'K-Zone' magazine bumper issue at a reduced digest size. This is the version presented here.

In 2002, I did an unofficial sequel of sorts in 'K-Zone's sister title, 'Total Girl' magazine, entitled 'Rock 'n' Roll Fairies'. A serialised comic strip that reprises Penni in a strange land with weird characters and song lyrics.

I'm proud to have the chance to see this work back into print now for a new generation of readers and hope it still has the 'timeless charm and whimsy' I was aiming for.


A new 225 page book collection of my work is finally published. This is some of the preliminary drawing and design process through to final cover. and this is a early concept for the same cover (which ended up on the back cover.)