Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Comic Heroes - The final issue


Issue 24 of Comic Heroes is now on newsagent's shelves and, as reported here the other week, sadly it's the final issue.

From the sounds of things, its demise was not only due to low sales but to company restructuring at Future Publishing. However, many fans have often stated that it was the £7.99 cover price that put them off. Even though that was approximately the same price as three flimsy comics and that Comic Heroes contained more to read than three comics. 

Comic Heroes tried valiantly to be all things to all fans, with articles covering a diverse range of comics. Unfortunately, this may have gone against it, as some fans only have specific interests. So someone who's a big Marvel/DC fan might have thought £7.99 was too much to pay when half the mag was taken up with other themes, or vice versa. 

A few issues back Future abandoned the £7.99 format of mag plus extras in a packet and redesigned the mag as a chunky 164 page bookazine at £9.99. The frequency switched from bi-monthly to quarterly, presumably with the notion that surely fans wouldn't think ten quid every three months was too much to pay for a nice long read? Didn't work.

Personally, I've always been interested in the whole world of comics, so Comic Heroes was ideal for me to read about Marvel, DC, European comics, British comics, interviews with creators, advance previews of comics, etc. This last issue has a good variety of content too. Although dubbed 'The sci-fi issue' it covers more than that. There's a feature on Charley's War for example...


A six page preview of Bryan Talbot's new Grandville book...


A look at Titan's new Doctor Who comics...


Paul Gravett choosing his top ten items from the Comics Unmasked exhibition...


Walt Simonson on his new Ragrarok comic...


Plus an interview with Dave Gibbons, features on Superman, John Constantine, cosmic Marvel, and much more.

I get the impression that the fate of Comic Heroes hadn't been determined while most of this issue was put together. The only mention of its demise is a quickly designed half page notice on the inside back cover stating 'Comic Heroes 2010 - 2014 Thank you for reading!' 

It's a shame that yet another comic feature magazine has closed. Even its digital companion weekly, Comic Review, is gone now. I'll miss buying Comic Heroes from my corner shop. It was a good mag. Not every item interested me but that's the nature of such magazines. 

I suppose most fans get their info from the Internet, which is understandable as it's 'free' and constantly being updated, but personally I still feel it's more comfortable to read longer articles in paper format. And Comic Heroes never needed plugging into the mains to recharge.

Comic Heroes No.24. 164 full colour pages. £9.99. Available in newsagents, WH Smith, comic speciality shops and other retailers. 

7 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I'm reading this at the moment too - I am one of the people who buys it mainly for the Marvel content (such as the Guardians of the Galaxy cover feature) but I usually end up reading most of it before it goes into the recycling box. The price doesn't bother me and it's a pity that it's ending but I'm glad that SFX and Sci-Fi Now are still going as they are the two I look forward to.

Lew Stringer said...

Good to hear you supported it, Colin. Its four year run isn't bad for modern times. Most comics don't last that long.

Hopefully SFX will increase its comics features a little, to compensate for the demise of its sister magazine.

rnigma said...

Similar comics-related magazines in the US have folded in recent years, chiefly Wizard and the longer-lived Comics Buyers Guide (to which I had subscribed when it was a weekly newspaper).

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

But as we touched on in the previous article re Comics Heroes finishing, the mags that have stayed the course are "Alter Ego" and "Back Issue" at £6.99 and various specials that look at older material - new stuff can be viewed on the web as Lew says plus peek looks at books are in Previews - I don't think modern comic collectors /readers seem that interested in this type of book anymore (specialist mags like Comic Creator (again more looking at older work) and "Draw" and "Write" seem to be more what fans like now)

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, the surviving ones are a niche within a niche really. Comic Heroes tried to cover a wide ground and most fans I know have very specific interests: superheroes, or Manga, or Vertigo comics, Golden Age, or The Beano etc. It's a shame there aren't enough people in the UK who were willing to support a more wide ranging comic mag.

Comic World, which was also available on newsagents, suffered the same fate years ago too.

Jean-Paul Jennequin said...

I'm sad that Comic Heroes is gone. I bought it every time I was in the UK and just the fact of being able to buy a comics specialty magazine in an ordinary newsagents' was a happy reminder of the ways both good and bad in which the comics market has changed in the last thirty years. Less actual comics to be bought at the newsagents but more in regular bookstores, and a magazine about comics being available to a general audience. I think this cancellation is bad for comics' visibility in the UK.

Lew Stringer said...

I agree Jean-Paul. Its existence also meant that perhaps the British public would respect comics more if they saw a magazine devoted to them. Sadly that opportunity is gone now.

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