Sunday, April 27, 2014
Comic Heroes 23
Late last year, Comic Heroes magazine (published by British outfit Future Publishing) underwent a metamorphosis. Previously it had been sold in a card envelope, packaged with the preview comic Sidekick and a free gift or two (usually badges and a poster). A few issues ago it ditched those extraneous parts, absorbed Sidekick into its back pages, switched from bi-monthly to quarterly, increased its size, its paper quality, - and its price. Now it's a chunky 164 page magazine costing £9.99 an issue.
Ten quid for a magazine? Is it worth it? Well, yes, if you're "serious about comics" (the new strapline on the cover). There's a lot of material in here. Issue 23 has recently been published and amongst its contents it includes an interview with Denny O'Neill on his Batman years, a long feature on the history of Wonder Woman, a celebration of Hellboy's 20th anniversary, news on the new Amazing Spider-Man comic and much more.
As you've guessed, although it's a UK magazine, Comic Heroes focuses mainly on American comics. That's to be expected, with superheroes being so big at the cinema thesedays. However, the mag does cover other areas too. Amongst such features, this issue includes interviews with Emma Vieceli, Rob Williams, James Robinson, Grant Morrison and others, plus an item by Lee Sullivan on capturing likenesses for TV and movie adaptations.
There's also a wealth of other features, including an article on the rise of digital comics.
Something that may interest fans of classic UK characters is that the 5 page revival of Smasher (the giant robot from Bullet) that appeared in Future's digital mag Comic Review the other week is printed in the Sidekick section of this issue of Comic Heroes. So if you couldn't read it before because you didn't have access to the app, now's your chance.
When Comic Heroes was launched several years ago, some people were predicting a short life for it due to its £7.99 cover price. Well, 23 issues later it's still here, and now £9.99. Can it continue to survive? Time will tell. Comic Heroes is mainly covering material that is aimed at the 16 to 30 cult comics/TV/movie demographic. That makes sense, although it would be nice to see a British magazine giving a handful of its pages to cover classic British material. (I wrote a couple of articles on UK comic history for the mag in its early days, but there's been little of that nature since.)
Comic Heroes No.23 is out now from WH Smith, Asda, selected newsagents, comic shops and other locations. Or you can read it as an app on an iPad or iPhone. More info: