Mint Sauce (cartoon strip)
Mint Sauce is a fictional character in a cartoon strip of the same name, created and drawn by Jo Burt, and published in the monthly magazine Mountain Biking UK.
Mishun H. Sugworth, better known to friends and foe alike as 'Mint Sauce', is a mountain biking sheep with a philosophical, often poetic outlook, who enjoys biking jaunts through the British countryside with his fellow animal cyclists. Indeed, in many strips it is the countryside which plays the leading role, often reducing the "leading" characters to mere counterpoint to the main theme. Burt's portrayal of landscape is heavily centred on an imagined England, incorporating elements of many southern English areas - principally the Sussex/Wessex Downs, Mendip and Chiltern Hills, although forays are sometimes made into more northerly ranges. Reading the cartoons one can't help but feel that, for Mint, revelling in the countryside is at least as important as riding the bike.
Other characters featuring in the strip include Cattlegrid Coleman the Cow, Harrison the Rabbit, Oonagh Herwick (Mint's girlfriend), an anthropomorphic personification of Summer, Chipko Andolan and Death. Minor character appearances are made by a number of hills (The Mendip Brothers, a Cheviot etc.), elves (who alter trails to fox riders, not to be confused with trail pixies who build and improve trails), various squadrons of fighting aircraft (the best known of which is the Love Squadron, a collection of WW2 era propeller planes and biplanes, often seen in battle with more advanced jets, known as the Reality Squadron) and even the occasional human, who generally have negative roles.
History and impact
The Mint Sauce strip first appeared in Bicycle Action in March 1988 and moved to MBUK about eighteen months later. Drawn in black and white half-page format it later became larger and moved to full colour as his popularity increased. As well as the cartoon strip there have been Mint Sauce calendars, T-shirts, stickers, posters, key-fobs and cycling jerseys, though Jo Burt's busy workload means that delivery times for these can be protracted.