Egmont UK's top selling boy's comic/magazine Toxic has reached 100 issues with the edition on sale now. Launched in 2002, the full colour glossy publication was an attempt to grab the elusive readership of 7 to 12 year old boys. Although the market at the time was busy with girls magazines, it was considered harder to maintain an interesting magazine for the male readership. Fortunately, the content of Toxic - a manic mixture of film news, game cheats, comic strips and posters, held together with an irreverent dollop of "gross humour" proved to be a big hit. Five years later, the mag is still going strong.
When Toxic was launched, Egmont UK were of the consideration that readers were no longer interested in comic strips. However, the strip content of the magazine was very popular and steadily increased over time. Team Toxic; a strip featuring a mad scientist, two monsters, a zombie, and a robot, was created in-house by the editorial team and I was commissioned to write scripts, with Jon Rushby on art. Originally a single tier strip running across the foot of four pages, the strip proved popular enough to soon graduate to two full pages (and four pages for special issues such as Christmas and this anniversary edition). With issue 14 I took over the art duties too, giving Jon more time to provide illustrations of the Team characters to appear throughout the magazine. The talented husband and wife team of Lorna Miller and Chris Watson colour the strip and the various illos in the mag.
Issue 100 features a competition for readers to create a new villain for Team Toxic to face. The winning entry will then appear in a future Team Toxic strip, drawn by myself.
The other regular strip, Rex, a story about a boy and his dinosaur, by John Short and Alex Paterson, began in issue 17. There have been other strips too, including Pig Brother by Mervyn Johnston, Chester the Chimp by Jaspre Bark and Paul Palmer, and currently The Bogies (a merchandise tie-in).
A publication reaching 100 issues is an impressive score in this day and age, particularly for a children's title. I'm proud that Team Toxic has been a part of that success but the main accomplishment is that of Matt Yeo and his team at Egmont for coming up with such a winning format. As a result, Toxic has clearly influenced rival publications, such as the late Marvel Rampage and the new Dandy Xtreme. Maybe I'm biased, but I still think the original is the best.
Ian Wheeler has interviewed editor Matt Yeo for the Down the Tubes website. Read it HERE.
Toxic No.100 is on sale across the UK in newsagents, supermarkets, airports, railway stations etc for £2.25. (Comes bagged with several free gifts.)
Official Toxic website: http://toxicmag.co.uk/