Thursday, September 16, 2010
No more Classics from D.C. Thomson
News just in: The reprint monthly Classics from the Comics is to cease publication with issue 175, out on October 13th.
Launched in April 1996, Classics from the Comics was a 68 page black and white value-for-money title which reprinted selected strips from the rich history of Thomson humour comics. It provided an affordable way for collectors to revisit their favourite characters and for new readers to discover the fantastic work of artists no longer with us or retired.
Over its 14 year run Classics represented strips by Davy Law, Dudley Watkins, Leo Baxendale, John K. Geering, Paddy Brennan, Jack Glass, Eric Roberts, Bob McGrath, Jim Petrie, and many more. The comic was always a mixed bag, never keeping a fixed set of characters so it ensured that numerous strips had their chance to appear, from Black Bob to P.C. Big Ears.
Recent issues, edited by Garry Fraser, had seen Classics embrace its potential even more. A bright new logo debuted, and an expansion of contents included features on artists (somewhat of a miracle considering how secretive Thomson used to be), and reprints from boys papers such as Victor and Hotspur. Even text stories, unseen for years, were revived, with a 1958 Dixon Hawke mystery appearing in the current issue.
Sadly all this was an uphill struggle against the one thing Classics has suffered from for years: poor distribution. Very few newsagents seemed to stock the comic, so a portion of the potential market simply wasn't aware of its existence. (Only one of my local newsagents stocked it, where I purchased it every month, then they suddenly canceled their order for no apparent reason about six months ago. If this was the pattern across the country it's easy to see why sales were low.)
Even though it was only a reprint comic it was keeping those old characters in print, but the cancellation of Classics now means that many of those characters will now fade into history. At present there are no plans whatsoever to replace it with another reprint title.
The latest issue of Classics from the Comics came out yesterday (previewed here) and features an interview with veteran Minnie the Minx artist Jim Petrie. The final edition will be out next month on October 13th.