Friday, November 30, 2012

The Beano and Dandy Collection Folds

The Beano and Dandy Collection, first launched in Newcastle last month, has folded after just 3 issues. The magazine focused on a different Beano and Dandy character each issue, coming with a model of them and pages from the classic comics. 

Sadly though, it didn't kick off, and lack of intrest means that the comic has had to end. 

The magazine was a good idea, with a history of comics running through each issue there was something pulling the readers back. Maybe a relaunched version without a model every issue would work better, plus it would be cheaper which would expland the magazines audience even more?

It looks like you can still order some issues from the website, so if you didn't order but would still like a copy why not do so? The first issue costs £1.99 and issues 2 and 3 are £7.99.

Thanks to Clive Huckstepp for the news.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Proper Comics PLUS news on the Digi-Dandy!

Not a proper comic, apparently.

Reading through the news over on Google, I came across this article that appeard in The Scotsman:

Skip past the first few paragraphs, and the author (Fiona McCade) begins to talk about The Dandy, something that is currently big in the news for reasons everybody knows about. She then states that she is sad that the current generation will "never know the joy of a proper comic".

Here are the following two paragraphs:

"By "proper", I don't mean the sort of glossy magazine-type thing that the likes of the Dandy and the Beano slowly morphed into. Or those awful, teen-angst mags such as Jackie, full of fab pix of boy-bands and aadvice about intimate itching. No, I mean those glorious one - or two-colour paper comics, that cost pennies and took you to weird and wonderful places where goodies were goodies, baddies were baddies and if someone got hit, then the blow went "Thunk!" and people always screamed "Aaagh!" (or, for Look-In readers, "Aaarrrrggh!").

I honestly believe that is someone had the sense to recreate a Golden Age comic or two, they'd see some decent sales, even if it was just old fortysomethings like me buying them, trying to persuade their kids that comics are the gateway to a whole world of art and literature."

First of all, The Dandy and Beano are proper comics. After all, a comic strip is a series of illustrations with some text accompanying them that tell a story. Now tell me that this George Vs. Dragon strip doesn't tell a story.

Written and drawn by Andy Fanton.
Does this look like a magazine? Just because of the paper a comic is printed on, doesn't make it a magazine does it? In fact, The Dandy doesn't feature a single magazine style article in it, the only thing coming close is the competition page, something which comics have featured for decades.

As for sound effects, I don't know how anybody can miss those! Take a look in any comic and you'll find piles of them! Here are just a few - all of them taken from just one comic (and there's an "Aaaaaaaaagh!" in there too!)!

Let's just take another look at that second paragraph:

"I honestly believe that is someone had the sense to recreate a Golden Age comic or two, they'd see some decent sales, even if it was just old fortysomethings like me buying them, trying to persuade their kids that comics are the gateway to a whole world of art and literature."

As I've said before on this blog, comics move with the times, they need to evolve in order for kids to continue buying them. I'm not saying a Golden Age comic wouldn't work, it might, but launching a comic is a risky buisness and going by market research it looks like a full-colour comic is more appealing to kids than an old style paper.

The author also states "even if it was just old fortysomethings like me buying them", but they seem to be forgetting something critical about comics. Comics are, and always have been, aimed at children, not "fortysomethings" looking to revive their own childhoods.

In 30 years, maybe the current generation of readers will pick up a copy of the 2042 Beano and think the same as many of todays nostalgists, but comics will have evolved to suit children of the day, just as they always have.

But comics are comics, and The Beano and Dandy are proper comics.

And of course, The Dandy is just about to go through a major revamp, going completely digital. I can't reveal too much about the digi-Dandy, since it hasn't been released yet, but what I can say is that the comic will be interactive! More news as it comes readers!

PLUS! Whilst you've still got chance, why not pre-order your copy of the very last Dandy from the DC Thomson website, a bit more expensive than the weekly at £5.49, but it is 100 pages thick plus it marks the end of an era.
The image on the left is from the DC Thomson 
website but wether or not this is the actual cover of the final issue I can't say. The suprise will just have to wait until next week! 

James Hog in... Styfall

I saw the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, last night (it's only just been released here in NZ!), and it's my personal favourite Bond movie! If you're yet to see it, hopefully this excellent Styfall story from the new(ish) look Beano will encourage you to head to the theatres as soon as you can!

You can still grab this Beano, which comes with a James Bond style poster of a Rasher for just £2!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A look at Target No. 2 - 1978!

Target, not to be confused with the New English Library version of the early 1970's, was launched in April 1978 by Polystyle Publications, with the second issue coming out on the 21st. At 10p, it was two pence more than Fleetway's titles, but it did feature comic strips based around televisions most popular shows of the time (meaning that the publishers would have needed a licence, pushing up the price). Some of the most well known characters are mentioned on the front cover, stars such as Kojak, Charlie's Angels and Starsky and Hutch.

The first feature to appear inside (after a full page request to reserve a copy of Target each week) was a chance to win a 'Starsky and Hutch Electronic Walkie Talkie'. Unfortunatly, it's now a bit too late to enter.

The first actual comic strip has the same name comic it appeared in (which was actually named after a T.V. show starring Patrick Mower), and was in "full colour". It's not actually full colour, with different parts of the strip coloured using four main colours - red, yellow, green and purple. To be perfectly honest the colouring throughout the entire comic is awful, even on the front cover! 

The centre pages are taken up by Kojak, a cop with a taste for lollipops! Going by the drug refrences in the story, it looks as though Target was aimed at a slightly older audience than other comics. 

I generally like the high speed artwork of the strip. Although sketchy in places, I think Jon Davis has done a great job with his character!

The other full colour strip was Charlie's Angels. With poor artwork and awful colouring the strip becomes hard to follow, so is probably the worst story in the comic. Here is the first page.

The back page was taken up with an advertisment for Happy Faces biscuits which were giving away free skateboard stickers. This ad was clearly designed to be printed in full colour, but ended up looking awful in black and white.

With a bigger budget Target could have lasted on the market, but with poor colouring all through the comic the title didn't make twenty weeks, folding into TV Comic after just 19 issues.

The Contents is a Mystery!

A few days back on this post here I wrote that the contents pages of Beano issue #3569 and #3660 are identical! Obviously this was a printing error, but it turns out only subscribers got this misprinted edition! This letter written by Dennis the Menace enclosed with my issue of The Beano explains:

Here is a photo of the error. The fixed version is on top.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Themes in Comics - Witches, Wizards and Magicians!

A regular theme in British Comics is a guest magician, who was more-often-than-not called Marvo and most certainly sporting a neatly trimmed moustache, tophat and bow-tie. Also on the magic side of things is the wizard, with their mortal enimies the witches. Wizards will always appear wearing a tall pointy hat covered with stars and moons and a matching cloak, with a long white beard somewhere inbetween!

The kids in the above strip obviously don't know the difference between a wizard and a magician! Merlin is clearly dressed as a wizard, wearing the traditional star cloak and hat!

Below is a 4 page strip from the 1984 Cor annual! Entitled Wilfred the World's Worst Wizard, the strip appeared in only a few annuals and was illustrated by Alan Rogers. As with all images on this blog, click on the thumbnail to enlarge.

Just as with all the other Cor! characters Irmantas has written a review of Wilfred over on Kazoop! 

Based in the modern day, it was occasionally the kids themselves who were the magicians! One such example is Bewitched Belinda, who appeared in Whizzer and Chips, illustrated by Reg Parlett.

The most common name for a witch is Winnie, and that is the name of the witch who had her very own comic strip in the early issues of Sparky

I could go on for ages about this theme, and scan dozens more characters and stories from various different comics, but instead I'll conclude this post with a title box from one of D.C. Thomson's well known boys story papers...

Friday, November 23, 2012

This Week In... 2011 - The Beano

Time for a second 'This Week In' post for the week, this time we head back just one year to see how much The Beano has changed over the past 12 months! Although this issue is dated 26th November, people would have been getting their copies by now if they subscribed.

Inside, things are different. Dennis the Menace's parents still looked old (I'm not a huge fan of the new look parents) and was still drawn by Barrie Appleby, and the contents page looked very dull and boring compared to the bottom one which appeared in The Beano a few weeks ago.

By the way, if you are rummaging through your comics and want something to look at, compare the contents pages in Beano #3659 and #3660! Yep - they're exactly the same!

Further on in the comic and, even six months before, the comic was still building up to the Olympic Games, with an advertisement comic strip called Wenlock and Mandeville, illustrated by Nigel Parkinson

Fred's Bed was still in his original form, illustrated by David Sutherland. In this strip Fred travels to a military base and ends up in a comic crossover - going to school at Bash Street!

At the time The Beano was running a reprint series of two different classic strips. The first was Number 13 Beano Street, illustrated by John Geering...

...And the second was The Germs, illustrated by David Sutherland.

The Beano has changed rather a lot over the past year, who knows where it will head in 2013. If the recent revamp is anything to go by, it looks like the comic will only be improving!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cheeky's Classic Comics

A nice feature in Cheeky Weekly was when Cheeky raided his dad's treasure trove of comics to show you something new, but old, each week! It first appeared in issue one, where Mike from Knockout was shown (see above), and continued until issue #37, where aftwerwards it was replaced by a pull-out mini comic and never seen again! A shame really, as it was a really nice fun feature! Below are a few more, including the very last one at the bottom of this post!

If you are a fan of Cheeky or want to learn more about the comic, make sure you check out the Cheeky Weekly website! Recently Niblet (the author of the site) wrote a brilliant post about The Missing Boy, a fantastic series which originally appeared in Whizzer and Chips!

As always click on the images to see them in full size!