Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kid Cops return to The Dandy


This week's issue of The Dandy sees Kid Cops return for a third series. The title and concept was created by the Dandy editorial for the 2010 relaunch and I developed it further, designing the characters and writing and drawing the strip.

Kid Cops are Sgt.Nick and Officer Bobby who bring their own brand of law and justice to the streets of Dandytown, usually to thwart crazy extremes of Health and Safety.


Kid Cops replaces Postman Prat which has just ended its second series. The Dandy is on sale Wednesdays, 36 full colour pages for £1.99.

Difficulty finding it in your area? Subscribe to The Dandy here:
http://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/Group-Dandy.aspx

Update 1/2/2012: I notice a certain critic (the usual one) has been indulging in at least three posts of lengthy Dandy-bashing over on his blog the past few days. That is his right of course, and no one could or should deny him his opinions, repetitive as they are. (
Although to say that today's artists attained their position through luck or bad editorship is either sour grapes or ignorance.) I do however wish he'd realize that his views are clouded by his nostalgia of an era long gone. And by nostalgia I don't just mean a preference for the particular issues of comics one once read, but for a rose-tinted ideal of the past, including comics from before one's time.

It's only natural that one would prefer the comics of one's childhood, but consider the fate of Classics from the Comics. 64 packed pages of some of the best strips DC Thomson ever published from the 1950s to 1980s in a cheap, affordable format, but sadly it couldn't sustain enough of a modern audience to make it viable any more.

When you're older there's a reason why the modern world may not be appealing as that of bygone days. It's simply the generation gap. Time moves on, and the style of comics changes as it always has. My Grandad thought Whizzer and Chips of 1969 "wasn't as good" as Illustrated Chips that he read in 1900. Back in the 1980s I remember thinking that some comics of the Eighties were not as good as those of the past. But I wasn't viewing them through a child's eyes. Hopefully I know better now. These days I meet 30-somethings who grew up on those comics in the 1980s and they think they were wonderful. Likewise, today's young readers will no doubt have the same affection in 20 or 30 years time for the comics they grew up with, such as The Dandy of 2012.

The critic can quite comfortably predict that The Dandy will eventually fail of course. Every British comic launched in the 20th Century has folded, with a handful of exceptions. It's like predicting someone will eventually die. Nothing lasts forever, so whenever The Dandy, Beano, 2000AD, etc finally fade away the critic can crow "I told you so. They should have listened to me! Yes, me! Over here! Notice me dammit!", whilst ignoring the fact that all the comics of his past that he holds up as templates for success have long since perished, despite many of them being undeniably brilliant.

The Dandy and other such comics are, as they've always been, aimed at children. If adults get some fun out of them too then that's a bonus. But those few adults who resent modern comics for not being like they used to be? They really need to move on and just enjoy the comics they do like.

21 comments:

Peter Gray said...

Thanks for all your effort in your blog and hope work goes really well and enjoyable..

Lew Stringer said...

Thank you Peter. Much appreciated. I'm about to start work on 6 pages for the 2013 Dandy Book, plus ideas for a strip in a new comic, so that, plus my regular Dandy/Toxic/Beano work means February is going to be a very busy month indeed. (And I hope to return to Viz soon too, as soon as I find time.)

Keep up the good work on your animal drawings!

Dr Andy Oliver said...

I've finally got around to taking out subs for the benao and dandy. Its thanks to blogs like this but also my boys have shown an increasing interest in reading decent comics. A shame there arent many more about but in any case I have an attic full of IPC annuals and complete runs of shiver and shake and monster fun to fall back on, (my eldest loves Frankie Stein). Roll on the joy of re living my second childhood,

Anonymous said...

Lew you are, of course, 100% correct.

Andy D

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Andy.

DB said...

I know the blog. His perceptions of comics as a boys club shout paranoid feelings of exclusion. Crank. Avoid. Ignore.

Stu Munro said...

Well said, Lew. The problem with arguing with someone whose opinion, however irrational you may think it, is the opposite to your own, is that opinions rarely falter. You can try to reason with people or resort to name calling, but neither side will ever say "Oh, now I see" and change their opinion.
It's very frustrating for everyone involved, and somewhat entertaining for those who are not.
There will always be British comics, wether in print, or not. Unfortunately that means there will always be critics too. I, for one, don't mind criticism, as long as it's constructive. Saying "This is rubbish" is far less useful than "This is rubbish because...". Arguing a point about a criticism is great if you have the time, but it will never change the critic's opinion.
Comics are not as good as when I was a child. Not due to their quality, but because I'm not a child anymore.

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Stu,
Good to hear from you. Hope you're still getting plenty of work from The Dandy.

As I said in my post, everyone's entitled to an opinion and I'm not trying to change the critic's view. I appreciate that the revamped Dandy isn't to his tastes and of course no one's saying the comic is faultless. We're probably all our worst critics when it comes to that.

However, there's a point when criticism accelerates into obsession, and the numerous posts on his blog slagging off The Dandy certainly seem to be in that camp. My post above was just trying to balance things a little.

I realized a while back that there is no point in tackling him directly about any of his nastier comments as he usually excuses them as "merely joking" or "merely indulging in hyperbole" and then plays the victim. It's an old playground trick but sadly it still fools some people.

Mike said...

This is always a wonderfully informative blog - it'd be a full-time job for me to maintain someting like this, but you seem to handle it with ease - keep up the good work! V. unfair, by the way, to mention critics and then fail to give us a link, denying us the opportunity to go blow a cartoon shaped raspberry in their direction.

Lew Stringer said...

I wouldn't want to add to his traffic, but it's not too hard to find. There aren't many blogs out there slagging off the Dandy. Most reviewers seem to like it.

George Shiers said...

And now that critic is taking it out on me, mostly picking on my age. (It's commonly know as 'Ageism'). Anyway It's good to see Kid Cops back in The Dandy!

Lew Stringer said...

I suppose it is a form of reverse ageism for a 50 year old to publicly slag off young teenagers but best to ignore him perhaps. (And yes, I should take my own advice on that matter.)

Glad you like Kid Cops. As you're closer to the target audience than "the critic" your opinion wins. The end. :)

Anonymous said...

The Dandy? It's is in the best shape it's been in for a looong time. But I can't help but wonder if the changes were too radical? Seeing Harry Hill's bald pate on the cover every week didn't help. Kids like young characters they can relate to. Perhaps if it was more traditional like The Beano it might see sales figures climb again? Oh, and a nicely retro logo like The Beano has now. I can but dream.

Chris

Lew Stringer said...

Much as I like Jamie Smart's current logo I like your idea of a retro header. After all, if comics are bought by parents now it'd be good to catch their eye with something familiar.

The question is; which retro logo could they use? The Dandy has had several facelifts over the years. I suppose that assuming most parents of Dandy readers are in their thirties now an early 1980s logo would be best. (Which is the one they used on the annual this year.)

As for making The Dandy more like The Beano, I'm not sure if that would really boost sales. Remember that prior to 2004 The Dandy and Beano were very similar, but sales were still dropping on The Dandy. (Yes, sales were still higher then than they are now, but that's true of every comic, magazine and newspaper.)

locusmortiis said...

Classics from the Comics held an audience for about 150 issues, thats over 12 years which is pretty damn good considering how long most comics of the last 30 years have lasted.

The few times I've looked through the Beano or the Dandy in the last few years I've thought most of the art was fairly awful and slapdash but then I haven't bought either (except annuals as presents) in about 20 years. As long as the kids of today like the art thats fine really....although what that says about the kids of today is another matter.

Lew Stringer said...

You're right, Classics had a very good run. However, tastes change and it couldn't attract enough new readers in the end to keep it going. Same for the Dandy and Beano Fun-Size comics unfortunately.

Not that I'm knocking their content of course. I thought Classics was a great archive of top class material. It ended on a high as far as I was concerned, broadening its content to include adventure strips from Hornet etc. As you may know, I promoted it every month on my blog in its last year or so.

Perhaps today's kids just didn't care for its black and white format. It'll be interesting to see how the reprints of older work fare in The Beano now they've been recoloured.

I'm sorry you find today's artwork slapdash but I hope you might pick up a copy or two sometime to see if it grows on you. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

When I said make it more traditional I meant they could use artists who have a tidy style like Ken H. Harrison, Barrie Applebay, Laura Howell and so on. Keep the same new characters but replace all the artists with Beano artists with more experience.

Chris

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Chris,
Although The Dandy has given a break to a few newcomers, most of us on the comic have numerous years experience. For example Jamie Smart has been in the biz for 15 years and Wayne Thompson, Nigel Parkinson and myself have each been professional cartoonists for about 30 years.

Jonny Whizz said...

Regarding the black and white comics debate, when I first read Classics from the Comics (at the age of 8) I used to colour in the strips myself, so I actually found the lack of colour added to the fun in a way.

I always enjoyed the strips though, so I can't really agree with arguments that the age of the material puts kids off. For example, Fred's Bed has proved to be a great addition to the Beano, even though the reprinted stories were fifteen years old.

I wouldn't label the current Dandy artwork slapdash, the styles are modern rather than traditional but I think they work well. It's always nice to see new artists come through, there are a lot of talented people out there and it does help to keep the comics fresh.

Jonny

Lew Stringer said...

That's a fair point about reprints, Jonny. Perhaps it depends on what's being reprinted. Perhaps strips such as Fred's Bed and Bananaman work better because they're more detached from reality and so don't look as dated as some other strips?

Jonny Whizz said...

Yes, I'd definitely agree with that. Both strips have aged well and are/were still enjoyable in the modern Beano, probably because the fantastical elements and wacky humour of Fred and Bananaman give their strips a timeless feel.

Personally, I also found that the reprints of David Parkins' The Three Bears around 2006 fitted in well (like Fred, I didn't know they were reprints at the time), as the strips were set in the Wild West, which again gave them a timeless feel. By comparison, I found that the reprints of his Billy Whizz strips, which were mainly set in contemporary Britain, seemed much more dated (I realised as soon as I saw the first strip of the run that they were reprints), despite the drawing style being the same as Fred and The Three Bears.

In some cases reprints stand out due to the art style (as much as I liked the original Les Pretend strips, I felt the artwork mad it seem out of place in the modern Beano), but I think that the concepts and styles of humour are more important in determining whether reprinted strips work with the readers.

Jonny

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