Monday, May 19, 2008

Rewriting history

As mentioned here in past blogs, The DFC is a new children's comic that's due to appear at the end of this month. It's subscription only, so quite a gamble to expect parents to fork out the price of £30 for a 13 week sub, sight unseen.

All the publicity so far is claiming that The DFC is "the first new children's comic in 25 years" (see here also). I'm all for the comic succeeding but let's drop the hyperbole down a notch eh folks? I'm sure a good promotional soundbite can be found that doesn't write comics out of history such as Oink!, Nipper, Triffik, Champ, Wildcat, Sonic the Comic, Blue Moon, Acne, It's Wicked, The Bog Paper, TV Help, or any of the other children's titles that first appeared within the last quarter century.

12 comments:

Richard Starkings said...

Do we HAVE to remember BOG PAPER? Some things NEED to be forgotten.

Rich!

Lew Stringer said...

Strangely enough I've heard from a few people recently who enjoyed The Bog Paper when they were kids. Personally I thought it was a poor comic, but I saw it from the perspective of an adult. Just goes to show that one reader's bog paper is another reader's nostalgia...

Garen Ewing said...

Lew - I've seen this "first new children's comic in 25 years" quote, but when David Ficklng has mentioned it he's said "of its kind" - by which I take to mean serialised story comic. I've then seen this truncated to "first new comic in 25 years" or whatever.

Now, this fact may still be wrong, I don't know enough comics history to be authoritative - but just a discrepancy noticed in original quote and reported quote.

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Garen, I appreciate that the media often truncate/alter quotes for impact, but I've seen this "25 years" claim in several sources now.

Even as a serialised comic, The DFC is still not the first of its kind in 25 years. Champ, Sonic, and Wildcat all featured continuing strips, and Oink! and Triffik had a few serials too.

It might seem a pedantic point, but as the media are already so ignorant of British comics' history, adding to the misinformation doesn't do anyone any favours.

Derek The Sheep said...

Maybe they mean first children's weekly comic in 25 years? I see Oink started as fortnightly, then went weekly, then monthly; and TV Help was fortnightly. I don't know about the others though. I remember Toxic being weekly, but that wasn't exactly children's material!
It would be interesting to know what they used as their 25 year benchmark.

Lew Stringer said...

Triffik! was weekly, as was Champ. I think it's just a case of poor research and the desire to big themselves up, plus that "25 years" is a better soundbite than 10 or 15 years or whatever it actually is.

Thing is, from what I've seen The DFC doesn't need to bend the truth. The content itself is impressive enough to sell the comic if it can reach the number of subscribers it needs.

Garen Ewing said...

Lew - told you I didn't know my comics history! (And I knew you would...) It is difficult to know how The DFC are qualifying that statement - and I agree with you, pedantic yes, but important to be right.

I'll see if I can get more info on the claim. eg. what's the comic that appeared (or died out) 25 years ago that The DFC is now the first of since...

Lew Stringer said...

I doubt they were thinking about a specific comic that died out. I imagine they took a look at today's marketplace, with its comic/mag hybrids and licensed characters and assumed there hadn't been any solid comics for many years. The "25 years" line makes a better soundbite than "The first all-comic strip, non-licensed comic for quite some time". ;-)

It's a fuss about nothing really. People in comics know the "25 years" claim isn't accurate and the general public will forget it five minutes after they've read it, so no harm done. I suppose I was a bit over-sensitive to the claim because I've been working in comics for exactly 25 years now so I felt like the entire life's work of myself and my peers was being written out of history. :-)

chebbo said...

Don't worry Lew,

I also get annoyed when I read press reports stating that the only surviving British comic outside of the Humour titles is 2000AD.

They always ignore the thriving Indy and small press scene. (And I'm not just taling about non profit stuff.. what about Markosia? They've produced some great titles.) It seems research is a thing of the past for most newspaper reporters these days.

Shane

Garen Ewing said...

Sorry to bring this up again Lew, but I'd just been pointed to a DFC review that might have an answer for the 25-year chestnut?

http://0tralala.blogspot.com/2008/06/dinosaur-flavour-custard.html

Quotes a piece from Graham Kibble-White's 'The Ultimate Book of British Comics' and then suggests that Wildcat was “the last new traditional adventure comic (to date) to be launched in this country” (Kibble-White, p. 287).

Right or wrong, maybe this is the source, at least.

Lew Stringer said...

Possibly. That book was never 100% reliable. I believe it said British comics today were "pretty much dead in the water", - which came as news to those of us who have been earning a living from them for the last few decades.

Garen Ewing said...

Good point :-)

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