The Sun is in a row with the makers of its former 3D football comic after the paper’s new cartoon strip killed off the Warbury Warriors team in a plane crash on Saturday, writes Dominic Ponsford.
Striker 3D ended its 18-year association with The Sun last week in order to launch a standalone comic featuring the computer-generated football team.
The company is also in dispute with The Sun over an £85,000 series of ads taken out to launch the new comic, some of which it says were pulled by the paper at the last minute.
Striker 3D managing director Steve McKenlay said: “We’ve had 500 e-mails from readers saying they were appalled by the way The Sun’s treated Striker. A lot of them were saying they were not going to buy the paper any more.”
Striker 3D paid £85,000 for a series of adverts last week to mark the end of the comic strip appearing in The Sun and to tell readers it was launching as a comic in its own right.
The company ended relations with The Sun after it refused to continue to give the paper first rights on new comic strips.
According to Striker 3D, the first advert was pulled last week because it announced Striker was leaving before The Sun had told its readers it was going.
The Sun then allowed the Striker ads to appear in the newspaper until last Thursday. Striker 3D claims it paid for a half-page advert to appear in the paper on Friday, the first day The Sun would be published without the strip, but that it received a call at 5.45pm on Thursday to say the ad had been pulled because the comic was now a competitor.
The Sun launched its new comic strip, The Premier, on Saturday with a double-page spread. In it a plane, apparently carrying Warbury Warriors, was shown crashing into the sea. A young boy was then shown laying flowers outside a football ground and saying: “There’s only one team in town now.”
McKenlay said: “I find the whole thing puerile. That promotional spread on Saturday provoked a massive response from people who read Striker.”
A spokesman for The Sun said: “Any problems between [Striker 3D chief executive] Paul Nash and The Sun have been resolved. There’s no legal dispute between us.”