A respectful and affectionate parody of Columbo…and other such non-sense.
So here we are: the very first complete strip, featuring the legendary and inimitable characters Benny and Burke, the prodigious wunderkind of the Secret Intelligence Service. It has to be said that sometimes even we wonder just why they're trusted within the realms of national security. This strip may be the first on the site, albeit still only a test to be honest, but it's also seven years old being first drawn by Stu, my li'l art-monkey chum, back in the year 1999, when the world held it's breath for the devastion of y2k and geeks battled populists over the proper time to celebrate the millenium.
The joke itself was borne of a discussion between myself and Stu, wondering, as have all young men of a certain age, to what the all-important and eminently quotable '00' of '007' refers, and what the other options might be.
Incidentally it's worth mentioning that Burke isn't wearing nail varnish, he wouldn't know what to do with it if he owned any, nor does he tend to the goth or emo fashion. It's merely an unfortunate side-effect of combining two layered images to make it a little smoother. I can only apologise on the poor lad's behalf, he'd cringe, I'm sure, were he real.
And a final by-the-by, feel free to contact us, either myself or Stu, and let us know what you think. I can't see this site attracting much traffic to be honest, but feel free to invite your friends and family to come and visit. I'd invite mine but...well. Then I wouldn't be able to make satirical comments regarding my upbringing or social situation. Well, not without feeling guilty, and having my lies pointed out. And that, as we all know, would not be fun.
Well, that's a bit painful. The strip above is seven years old and it's creaking a bit. As I remember I was teaching myself the art of inking and was still learning about line weights and the like. I also still had a bit to learn about anatomy and drawing from model sheets. And the lettering leaves a little to be desired - expect computer lettering in the future. But I think it still has a rough and ready charm and the punchline's not so bad.
So, Benny and Burke, eh? This strip originally appeared in the customer bulletin for the Ace Comics Mail Order Service as part of a run that lasted about six months, although not all the strips I created at the time were published. There was even an ongoing story called "The Words are not Enough" about an attempt to take over the world using karaoke machines, which might debut online, although I don't think I still have the original art... During that time I became a lot more assured where using ink was concerned and leapt from fibre-tipped pens (as used here) to pen and brush and indian ink, with a commensurate improvement in the look of the work.
Before that the characters were created in 1988 or '89 in the schoolyard, and have been trying to make the leap to stardom ever since. Oddly, the character designs in this strip are actually quite close to the designs for another couple of characters, comedy superheroes called Superstu and Matt Dangerous, who may appear hereon, later. Any new B&B strips will feature tweaked designs to make them more themselves. I'm hoping that they'll have a bit more of a sustained presence here, alongside Columbo strips and Bergerac and whatnot.
Copyright 2006 Mister Bentley and Mister Thomas