Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Bad News

I kind of knew it was going to happen at some point sooner or later, but it's still sad and sobering to learn that Random House feel they can longer go on financing The DFC. Issue 43 will be the last (issue 40 is due this Friday). Maybe at some point in the future there will be collections of some of the featured strips, and possibly even a new comic in another shape or form, but as it stands now this abrupt cancellation cuts off many serialised stories, some of them only a few episodes in, so I feel for those creators particularly. CLC will be just 3 episodes into a planned 12 forming Season 2 - I've drawn half of these, and am sure I'll complete the set, but not at the moment.

The saddest thing is all those kids lucky enough to have just discovered it, who relish Friday mornings when the comic arrives through the door, are now left with very little other options. - Beano and Dandy 'Extreme' are fine at what they do but are all full of adverts,- Simpsons comics are well done but the whole thing seems like an advert - kids have very little left that's not a TV, film or commercial tie-in. That was one of The DFC's greatest strengths - 36 pages and no adverts. Not to mention the incredible diversity of great stories.

Some will argue it was trying to be too many things at once - attempting to entertain too large a cross section from 8yr old girls to 14yr old boys. Yes, in a more buoyant time it might have existed as 2 or 3 different titles, more specifically targetted.
I was always somewhat frustrated by the subscription model they adopted - it relied on benevolent (and fairly well-off) parents to commit £12 a month on your behalf, rather than being something you could simply purchase, with coins, from a newsagent. But then how do you launch a new title onto the shelves when the very priviledge of being in WH Smiths swallows up 35% of the cover price? Or the stability of the shelves is not as predicable as a year ago (loss of Woolworths)?

While really depressed that this brave venture hasn't been able to gather the momentum and subscriptions it deserved, I'm proud to have been amongst all the other creators, and feel grateful to the editorial team for the opportunity and their honorable treatment of those slaving away on the drawing boards and computers. My own competance has come on leaps and bounds thanks to their encouragement, enthusiasm and deadlines.

On a self-concerned level, I'm now going to be seeking out more teaching work, and looking at refreshing and diversifying the comic skills I can teach (and their applications) - for example I've done a few Continuous Professional Development sessions with teachers, demonstrating the potential for comics in the classroom - I think I'll be offering this around more formally.
The worry is that schools are going to have the budgetry cutbacks that everywhere else is experiencing, and it's my challenge now to persuade them that a visiting comic artist represents a lot more than just 'a little treat' for the class.

8 comments:

Oliver East said...

sorry to hear it mate. you'll bounce back, no worries. still, sorry lack of decent kids comics though.

all the best

Matt Badham said...

Gutted. Crab Lane Crew was one of my 'comics of 2008.'

rob jackson said...

very sorry to hear this. what a shame, i hope you can finish crab lane crew in a while once you feel like it.

fabtoons said...

This is a real shame. There are too few home-grown comics in this country for kids or otherwise, why can't the government tax those overpaid bankers at 90% and use the revenue to finance some titles, create some jobs and get a bunch of starving artists off the dole...bla bla bla (angry of Willesden).
Crab Lane Crew was one of the bits I liked best in it. Maybe you could find another home for it (easier said than done, I know...)

Lester Sands said...

I've just had to break the bad news to Louis. Quelle bummer! I shall make sure all 43 issues are safely salted away for future enjoyment.

Richard said...

A real shame this. Still haven't told Molly yet - and she's very excited to have CLC coming back this week as well.

Hope you'll be able to find a way to continue it somewhere, and to continue producing comics.

Thanks again.

ZEEL said...

ORSON (he is aged 6) SAYS - "bring back DFC." he is sad."its the best comic ever done". we are a bit tearful.

I say AAAARGH!

Hopefully the signs of the UK finally getting out of its comics Dark Age will continue. But this is depressing.

I suppose we will have to do it ourselves somehow....hmm.

Good luck. looking forward to more medway superness continuing.

Z and Ors

Mike said...

This is really sad news. I didn't realise the comic was having trouble selling. I feel that if the DFC can't make it then no quality comic for kids has a chance.

So disappointing that the shelves in this country are filled with crappy TV tie-ins with plastic toys stuck to the cover. Let's all move to France!