Monday, April 24, 2017

Phoenix collector covers!

Children's weekly comic The Phoenix has recently started a four-week series of "Epic Lorenzo Collector Covers" featuring the work of top artist Lorenzo Etherington. These are the regular covers as seen in the shops. They're not rare variants you'd have to pay premium for or anything like that.

As you can see from the two already published, these are fantastic pieces of dynamic comic art. Better still, each issue features its cover as a pull-out A3 poster too! 

The Phoenix is a real success story of modern British comics. Independently published, it's now on its 277th issue, features quality work by contemporary creators and no paid ads.  

Contributors to current issues include Jamie Smart, Neill Cameron, Faz Choudhury, The Etherington Brothers, and more. It has proven to engage young readers who eagerly look forward to every weekly issue. 

To find out more about it, check out The Phoenix website here:
https://www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk

15 comments:

Search Engine Evader said...

Does The Phoenix release its circulation figures, Lew? The business end of comics (and the creative arts generally) always fascinates me.

Lew Stringer said...

No it doesn't, but it must be doing ok to pay for about 20 pages of art every issue and to have reached over 270 issues.

Carl H. Field said...

You say it's a British comic but Lorenzo doesn't sound like an English artist! Foreign reprint?

C.H.F.

Lew Stringer said...

It might surprise you to know that in the 21st Century not everyone in England is named John.

Phil Boyce said...

With no paid ads the comic relies heavily on sales to keep going and with 277 issues under its belt it must be selling quite a bit. It certainly did extremely well as a digital comic for it to then become a more-expensive-to-produce print weekly from issue 200 onwards.

Carl, I fail to see your point. What does it matter? Lew has a good point there obviously, but to add to that American comics have a lot of British talent working on them, they're still American comics.

Lew Stringer said...

It was always a print comic, Phil, right from issue 1. It was just subscription only in the beginning, then gradually added limited distribution through shops such as Waitrose, and then WH Smith from issue 200. So it must have always sold well to have lasted so long.

Good point about overseas talent, Phil. British comics have used artists from other countries since, well, as long as I remember. For example Jesus Blasco, Solano Lopez, Belardinelli, Carlos Ezquerra....

In Lorenzo's case though he and his brother are from the UK.

Phil Boyce said...

Ah right, I must've got mixed up somehow, there was definitely a big push for the print version with issue 200, I remember parts of the marketing but my memory must've failed me. But yeah I see now it was limited before that, but now available nationally. (I definitely don't think it was over here before then.) Yeah so the change from digital-with-limited-print to a full print schedule (as much as they can anyway) must be what I can remember.

Lew Stringer said...

You're right. It was available in digital and print to start with. Yeah, I doubt it was distributed in Northern Ireland. It was only available in posh shop Waitrose, which are mainly London area. Some comic shops started stocking it, and then WH Smith with issue 200. (But, as I understand it, not Smiths at airports, only High Street branches.)

Even so, my Smiths only has one copy a week, Coventry only has two, Birmingham... didn't have any last week (unless they'd sold the two they usually have). So it's really difficult to convince Smiths to go for decent quantities. Sales of The Phoenix must still be mainly by subscription.

It's easy for some to say that publishers should get comics into newsagents but it's very difficult these days. Attitudes have changed, as have the high rates that distributors and shops charge. Mike Higgs was telling me that back in the 1950s, small publishers used to deliver comics to newsagents themselves, which is how the indie comics of the fifties did so well. That's just not allowed now, with shops locked into deals with major suppliers.

Phil Boyce said...

I have to say in the Easons stores in Belfast it gets pride of place with a good few copies every week, but then again they really do look after their large comic displays. Even the Asda next door to my house also has a few every week and prominently on display. It's good to see.

Lew Stringer said...

I didn't realise some branches of Asda stock it. (Mine doesn't.) That's great!

Colin Jones said...

I heard recently that the No.1 name for baby boys in the UK is Arlo so a British artist called Lorenzo isn't that odd. Parents are getting more adventurous with their babies' names nowadays.

Carl H. Field said...

The point I am making is that Lorenzo isn't an English artist!

Lew Stringer said...

So what if he wasn't? It sounds like you're building up to something rather bigoted, Carl, so before you post a comment that I'd immediately send to the bin it deserves, let me explain something. "Lorenzo" is the pen name of Lawrence Etherington, brother of writer Robin Etherington. Happier with those names? English enough for you?

David said...

My son has every issue of The Phoenix comic and has had the pleasure of meeting the Etherington Brothers. Both are English and do fantastic work at shows, schools, festivals and on their website encouraging kids to write and draw their own comics. Their How the write and draw comics workshops are a lot of fun. Their own work is fantastic and well worth checking out. They have a few books out.

Phoenix has also always existed in physical form, from the preview issue zero onwards. Initially only available in waitrose supermarkets, so subscribers have always been the bedrock of it's support. It's been available in WH Smiths since issue 200 onwards and can also be found in many independent comic shops.

Lew Stringer said...

The new, young wave of comic artists that The Phoenix have embraced are doing some fantastic work. Comics in this country are in good hands.

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