Wednesday, March 05, 2014
EPIC! Magazine makes its Menacing debut
In a surprise move, after just eight issues, DC Thomson have changed the Dennis the Menace and Gnasher Megazine into Epic! Magazine. The previous title's average sales of 20,500 are presumably one reason, although on the Beano Facebook page the company cites reader feedback as the cause. Considering Thomsons do market research, it's quite likely that the kids wanted something closer to the popular Toxic and Mega magazines.
With Toxic selling 53,000, and newcomer Mega making an impressive debut at over 30,000, it's understandable that DC Thomson would want to launch a magazine in that style. After all, such competition between Thomsons and their rivals has been going on for decades, - Beano/Radio Fun, Warlord/Battle, Bullet/Action and so on.
Naturally comic fans will be disappointed that Epic! has less comic content than its forerunner (and its even earlier incarnation of BeanoMax). Just nine out of 48 pages are comic strip, and all feature Dennis the Menace. However, judging Epic! on what it is, rather than what it isn't, it is a worthy competitor to its rivals. There are game secrets, breezy movie previews, puzzles, posters... the usual stuff that kids seem to expect from a magazine today. The new mag promotes itself quite relentlessly throughout, with the Epic! logo appearing at least 22 times.
It also has a pretty good free gift in the form of Menace Fighter Jets; foam model kits, complete with a brush, stickers, and paints.
It seems to me that one drawback may be that at £3.99 Epic! costs a pound more than its rivals (although Toxic is occasionally that price too). Also, being bagged, it's possible it may just be obscured by all the other bagged mags on the shelves, but that's a risk publishers have to take now. As a comic-mag/gift package it's a strong debut. Let's wish it all the best for an Epic future.