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Monday, November 12, 2012

Going out in style

The end is nigh for the print edition of The Dandy, with just a few weeks to go until its final issue on December 4th. But what an issue it promises to be! It's been revealed today by the editor that the last issue will be a gigantic 100 pager! (Presumably that includes the facsimile reprint of issue No.1.) 

I've drawn a full page strip plus a few mini-strips for the final issue. I won't reveal what they are as I feel there are far too many spoilers about comics on the net as it is (and I've been as guilty as anyone of doing this). The joy of discovering the delights of a comic on the day it's published seem to be long gone. In the future will people remember the impact a comic had on them as they bought it from a newsagent, or just the memories of spoilers being revealed on blogs, forums, and Facebook? 

No doubt revelations will break as soon as readers receive their subscription copies but for now let's look forward to the surprises. I don't know which strips other artists have drawn for the issue but one of the things I've contributed is a strip I've never drawn before, or ever expected to draw. And it was brilliant to be asked to do it. 

(Incidentally, the logo above is not the one that will be used on the comic. It's just a quick mash up I did in Photoshop.) 

Keep your eye on the countdown clock: 


TwoHeadedBoy said...

Nice photoshop job there!

The 4th December will be a running around day for me, as it turns out. Working in a newsagents I'd assumed I'd just stroll into work and pick up the last ever Dandy, but on the assumption that a lot of people will be after it, we decided this week that we'd best order ten copies rather than our usual one.

That's when the suppliers told us we could only have the one, as they'd completely sold out! They're sending a couple of annuals instead, but it still means I'll have to run around every newsagent I can get to if I want to get a copy. Strewth.

Lew Stringer said...

Sold out? The last issue hasn't even been printed yet. Heck, even all the strips aren't drawn yet. Suppliers are a law unto themselves aren't they?

Bruce Laing said...

Ye gods and little fishies :shock:

Maybe it's better to pre-order from the D. C. Thomson shop to save you going to all that trouble

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Certainly are, good old WHSmith's for you. And as for that Beano/Dandy partwork thing, they've never even heard of it!

James Spiring said...

That's daft, surely the suppliers can just order more copies themselves?

Lew Stringer said...

I've heard similar reports from my local newsagent regarding other comics. No wonder people say print media is doomed. The suppliers should not be calling the shots in determining the quantity of comics/mags/newspapers their clients order but this has been going on for a very long time now.

Why is it tolerated? Beats me.

Lew Stringer said...

Incidentally, I've just read speculation on an unofficial comic forum that some of us may not be revealing what we've done for the final issue due to some company "ban". I can only speak for myself but I clearly stated my reasons above for not revealing spoilers. There's no secret reason behind it.

I could quite easily have revealed the titles of the strips I've drawn for the last print issue (and the one I'm drawing right now) but I chose not to so that it'd be a nice surprise when the comic is published. That's simply all there is to it.

Mike said...

Just who are these suppliers anyway? Perhaps if we were to start naming names they'd clean up their act.

Lew Stringer said...

WH Smith were mentioned by TewoHeadedBoy above. That's who my local newsagents have named also. (As well as having their own chain of stores, Smiths also supply smaller newsagents.)

I would guess that any benefits of dealing with them outweigh the minuses. It's unlikely that shops will change suppliers over a short shipment of a comic. That said, I still don't understand WHY the supplier should overrule their clients to determine who has what.

Any idea, TwoHeadedBoy?

TwoHeadedBoy said...

No idea - the only thing I can think of (and it's a rubbish theory) is that they don't want people buying armfuls of the things to sell on eBay.

Before all this, I WAS planning on buying two of them (one for myself, and one for "emergencies"), but that would mean they're discouraging their own sales. Very strange.

Lew Stringer said...

It's not just something that's confined to this final Dandy though is it? Have you experienced it with other publications?

My local newsagents have told me how they'll often have less issues of comics, mags, and newspapers than they ordered. (Therefore inconveniencing regular customers.) Sometimes they'll have MORE than the quantity they wanted on some items, because the supplier told them to "try it out".

From what I can gather, the supplier decides to shuffle things around, cutting back orders in some areas to move them to others, to see if it works. What I don't understand is why they have such power. They're just the middle-man between publisher and retailer. They shouldn't be calling the shots.

One of my local shops used to have two copies of Dandy and one Beano. I bought all of those. They suddenly had their order cut back to one Dandy and no Beano. Another shop had about 8 copies of 2000AD every week, even though he only sold two. That's now been cut back to one.

None of this is good for the retailer or the customer. I really don't understand why publishers allow suppliers to get away with it.

Lew Stringer said...

I should also add that "Placing a regular order with your newsagent" (as the comics have always told us) doesn't guarantee we'll receive the comics if the supplier says no. Madness.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Well it's the first time they've given us a straight "no" on an order.

The way it usually works is they'll send three or four of any new titles, and if they sell they'll send double the amount next time. If you sell any less, they'll send half the amount and so on. It's hard to get the balance right, and it even happens with the newspapers.

Example: We usually sell around 70 Sunday Mirrors. We had a really stormy Sunday once, so not as many people came out to get their papers, and we ended up sending back around 30 when we usually sell out. Consequently, the next Sunday we only received 30 Sunday Mirrors.

They really are a ridiculous company, and that's without even mentioning the times that we've been sent another shop's orders as well, AND been charged for them on top of our own papers.

They seem to have a grudge against the Beano which goes against everything I've stated above. We used to get two Beanos and two Dandys each week, and usually sell one of each. Then all of a sudden they're only sending one Dandy (for a local kid who has a standing order with us), and no matter how many times we ask them to send us the Beano as well, it never arrives.

Hopefully this will change in December, as the young chap's wanting to move on to the Beano once the Dandy's gone.

Lew Stringer said...

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

Is there another supplier you could use instead, or do Smiths dominate the market now?

TwoHeadedBoy said...

They pretty much have the monopoly on my part of the country - and the amount of time/trouble it would take to change suppliers, 4th December will've long passed by that point.

Lew Stringer said...

Understood. Thanks for your info. All very interesting.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

I only started buying the beano a couple of years ago for my young boys. Getting a copy was never a problem, however the Dandy was non existant. In the end I subscribed for both as it guarentees a copy plus there's the financial saving.

Anonymous said...

I say the new logo will look like this.

Regarding a supposed DCT 'ban', Nigel Parkinson explicitly refers to its existence here and here. At present all we have to go upon is Lew's word against Nigel's. If there is such a ban, I don't know why Nigel would have been told off and not Lew, and if there isn't, I don't know why Nigel would believe there is. None of it makes any sense to me. Maybe we'll hear more later.

Lew Stringer said...

It is NOT my word against Nigel's. You're seeing a conflict that does not exist!

As I've already said TWICE when my name was dragged into this, (on the unofficial Dandy forum and on Nigel's blog - both times in comments by James Spiring) I am NOT contradicting anything Nigel has said.

Nigel is explaining his reasons why he hasn't used images from the current Beano on his blog. I've explained why I'm not mentioning the titles of the strips I've done for the final Dandy. TWO different topics which some fans are seeing as one and then assuming there's a conflict.

I consider Nigel a friend. I'm well aware of what he's referring to. All I'm saying is it wasn't relevant to the reason why I'm not revealing spoilers about my strips.

Lew Stringer said...

Going back to the subject of supplies, the obvious disadvantage of suppliers only sending out numbers based on previous week's sales is that sales can only ever remain stable or fall, NEVER increase!

Small wonder then that comic sales are always in decline. How can they possibly pick up new readers without spending a huge amount on a promotional campaign to convince suppliers to distribute more copies?

Simon Hall said...

I wonder if these problems with suppliers and so forth are due to more and more places like WHSmith mimicking the buying policies of 'big box' retailers?

The problems apparent here sound eerily familiar to the toy industry, where the large retailers will over order on the first two 'waves' of a given toyline on the off chance it's a hit, if sales fail to take off then you end up in this silly situation where availability of product amongst stores becomes extremely variable, with later shipping products either not turning up at all or being relatively hard to come by as stores sit on piles of unsold earlier shipping figures.

It seems ridiculous that suppliers have such a stranglehold over periodicals. Surely someone should be looking at overall sales trends, rather than just reacting to previous days/ weeks trends?

On topic, I'll be sad to see to the Dandy disappear into the electronic ether. Maybe its my age and my eyes, but I don't like reading comics digitally. It's just not comfortable for me, and the experience isn't the same and oddly, doesn't feel like comics to me. I wonder if any merger with the Beano or a life as a monthly was ever contemplated? (I was half expecting a "Great News Chums!" style annoucement when the closure of the Dandy was announced...)

Lew Stringer said...

I don't think a merger was ever on the cards. Publishers tend not to do that these days. Monthly? Perhaps that may have been considered but I heard nothing in that regard. My guess is that once suppliers have decided to cut back on a title, changing the frequency would make little difference to the quantities delivered to shops.

Something definitely needs to change regarding the current system though. I think all publishers need to monitor what's actually going on in shops regarding supplies, displays, etc.

Take 'Pulp Detective' as an example of how things can go pear shaped, partly due to the suppliers and attitudes of some retailers. The mag has folded after just one issue, but hopefully will relaunch digitally next year.

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