Pugs In Space: West Sussex writer’s new comic gets praise from Frank Skinner and Nick Frost
The co-founder of Loaded magazine who lives in Lindfield has sent his pet pugs into outer space with a new comic book for all ages.
Tim Southwell, 56, created Pugs In Space with illustrator Jason Measures (Jay) after he found himself twiddling his thumbs during lockdown last year.
The publication chronicles the out-of-this-world adventures of daring pug dogs Major Ron, Lieutenant Lola and their pal Taser.
The comic has already received praise from Frank Skinner, who said that his eight-year-old son loves it, and film star Nick Frost who said it was ‘brilliant’ on Twitter.
“It’s based on the fact that I’ve got two pugs and they’re quite mad and they both seem to enjoy watching space films,” said Tim.
He said that Lola, the youngest of the two rescue pugs, will ‘literally attack the TV and start going berserk’ if any laser battles break out while Ronny, the eldest, is more reserved.
“The basic premise for the first issue is there’s a big sausage famine,” said Tim, adding that the dogs are obsessed with this particular food.
Despite being British, the pugs are called into action by the American president who sends them on a space mission to find the missing meat.
Tim, who is also the founder of Golf Punk and writes for the Telegraph, said he was inspired by satirical magazines, classic British comics and The Simpsons.
“Kids can watch The Simpsons and get something amazing out of it but adults can watch it as well,” said Tim, adding that his comic aims for tongue-in-cheek humour that is also sharp enough for older readers.
There are plenty of nods to sci-fi movies and British comedy so adults who buy it for their children could end up reading it themselves, said Tim.
“Major Ron is basically the leader of the whole thing but if you unzipped him I’m pretty sure Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army would get out,” Tim added.
“He’s very stoic and ‘everything by the book’ while Lola is a bit ditsy and Taser’s completely bonkers.”
Taser, Tim said, is based on his wife’s mother’s pug who visits the other two all the time and ‘causes carnage wherever she goes’.
Tim said he was happy with the final product, especially Jay’s rich and textured cartoons.
“It’s exactly what I imagined the comic would look like,” said Tim, adding that he just writes the stories and discovered Jay’s artwork via LinkedIn.
Only the first issue has been published so far, but Tim has written the second one and Jay is doing the artwork now to meet their June release date.
“In the second issue the pugs land on a mystery planet and it’s inhabited by extinct animals,” said Tim, who has lots of ideas for further adventures.
“The arch villain in all of this is a great big fat cat called Fat Cat who runs The Catosphere, which is where the sausages have been taken to,” he said.
“The pugs have to track him down but they’re really scared of cats.”
There’s also a character called Pablo Escobark, a space food overlord with plenty of power.
In the third issue the heroes will probably end up in space prison, said Tim, and they will have to mount an escape plan.
Pugs In Space was funded by a Kickstarter campaign in October last year, raising more than £13,000, enough for two issues, said Tim.
It has proven popular and future issues will be funded by ongoing sales and merchandise from the comic’s website.
Tim and Jay have also announced a partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, which will last a year and cover four issues of the comic.
The company will donate 50p of every issue sold to GOSH, and give the charity 15 per cent of all merchandise sales.
Surprisingly, Tim, who lives with his wife and his three children (two adults and a teenager), said he never actually wanted a pug in the first place.
“I remember going on a golfing trip to Scotland and I came back and my wife had got a pug rescue called Queenie,” he said.
“This was years and years ago, and I wasn’t really a big fans of pugs.”
But, Tim said, he made friends with the dog and realised how amusing, clever and excitable pugs are.
“They’re just very funny little characters,” he said, adding that his dogs have now seen the comic and approve of it.
“They can’t quite understand why they’ve been made famous but they like it.”
People who want to buy a copy of the first issue can visit pugsinspace.co.uk/shop, where they can also pre-order issue two and purchase T-shirts and hoodies.
Children can take part in a competition to draw an alien for issue three. Find out more online.