Saturday, September 05, 2009
Free comics in The Guardian
Starting next Saturday, 12th September, The Guardian newspaper will be giving away a reproduction of a classic British comic every day for a week. As there is no Sunday edition of the paper, The Observer will also be involved in the scheme on September 13th.
The classic reprints all come from the Egmont and D.C.Thomson stable of comics, and appear to be mostly 1980s editions. Kicking off with a copy of girls' comic Jackie next Saturday, followed by The Beano No.2000 (from 1980) on Sunday, the rest of the week will see copies of Roy of the Rovers, Bunty, Dandy, Tammy, and Whizzer and Chips presented with the paper.
Although the free comics don't begin until next Saturday, today's edition of The Guardian begins their celebration of British comics with an article in the Guardian Weekend magazine supplement. The article, by Jon Ronson, tells of his visit to the offices of D.C. Thomson and his task of writing an episode of The Numskulls for The Beano. The nine page feature also includes the reactions of a few of today's kids to the classic comics The Guardian will be giving away. Quite pleasingly, they all seemed to enjoy the stories of yesteryear, which perhaps suggests that if such comics were revived in some form or another there might actually still be a market for them.
The articles can be read online at The Guardian website:
Monday Sept.14th will see The Guardian Media section run a feature on the recent nostalgia wave for comics (specifically the Egmont Classic Comics quarterly which will soon be publishing a Misty special) with interviews with Paul Gravett, myself, and others.
Whilst American comics and adult graphic novels are rightly praised by the media these days, the same respect is usually missing for children's British comics, as if producing entertainment instead of thought-provoking narratives is somehow less important. I'm about as far removed from being nationalistic as one could be, but we are in danger of forgetting the history of our own comics, which would be a huge loss because there has been some fantastic material produced over the last 100+ years. Will this week-long celebration of UK comics have a knock-on effect to give such comics greater respect? Will it stir publishers into testing the market with a new all-comic title for children? I'm not entirely optimistic but time will tell.