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What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 29 Sep 2008, 19:27
by Sidnny
I was always sad when DCT finally decided to fold Victor. Not only because it was the end of a comic that had been around decades but also it was the last of DCT weekly adventure comics.

I just wonder that instead of folding the comic, that DCT had turned it into a Commando-style publication where each issue centred around a DCT character (such as Morgyn the Mighty or King Cobra). Even better if they could adapt existing material to be produced in the Commando-size format.

Would have anyone been interested in buying it? I would have done.

It's a shame that DCT have a wealth of action characters which do not appear to be utilitised (unless there is a publication I don't know about).

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 29 Sep 2008, 20:57
by THE MOOSE
I've always been a fan of the digest sized comic format, and felt there was an untapped market for it - not sure if thats true though for the adventure market as Starblazer ( a great wee comic) folded. Cetainly the Victor had some strong (or is that traditional) characters, but personally I think the reason that Victor (and Wizard, Hornet, Warlord, the Crucnh....etc) all failed was that they were off their time and had simply had their time - plus for me they all just looked so old fashioned, printed on newsprint, mostly in b&w with an "old school" appearance etc kids had moved on in what they wanted (magaziner type "comics") .

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 29 Sep 2008, 22:39
by felneymike
Personally i don't know why they don't just sling the more "warlike" of thier characters into Commando. Back in the early 90's they did a series of stories related to a british friend of a Bedouin tribe, who named him "Dhiyab the Wolf". On another website somebody had seen the covers in a shop and misinterpreted them as a return of "The Wolf of Kabul" from the old text story papers.

Characters such as King Cobra and Morgyn The Mighty might not fit too well into Commando, but stuff like Union Jack Jackson, Cadman and Codename: Warlord could fit quite well as occasional characters, i suppose.

Then of course there is the possibility (probability) of more adventure strips filtering into Classics now and again, as we've had Great Flood of London and Alf Tupper (must remember to find the new issue tomorrow!)

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 30 Sep 2008, 22:32
by colcool007
A plethora of replies could be sent on this subject, but IMHO, a Commando sized digest would probably have been the most sensible reaction to the close of Victor back in 91.

Characters such as Alf Tupper, Wilson, Joe Bones, Killer Kane, Hob Hoggett, etc could have been kept going only if the publisher felt that it was economically viable to keep those characters going...

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 30 Sep 2008, 23:39
by Sidnny
Who could say that a Command-style Victor would have survived? Especially if DCT could have used old material.

Then again, I liked Starblazer better than Commando but that didn't survive.

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 01:18
by Captain Storm
Sidnny said
I just wonder that instead of folding the comic, that DCT had turned it into a Commando-style publication where each issue centred around a DCT character (such as Morgyn the Mighty or King Cobra).
I believe Vulcan was a mid 70s try out of what you suggest and that quickly folded though it has taken on cult status of late.Still I think the time is now ripe to plunder the nostalgia market with this idea again.i certainly would buy it,but until such time as DC Thomson editors(who I know lurk here)take notice,it ain't gonna happen!

The Cap.

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 09:38
by johnfreeman96
Captain Storm wrote:Sidnny said
I just wonder that instead of folding the comic, that DCT had turned it into a Commando-style publication where each issue centred around a DCT character (such as Morgyn the Mighty or King Cobra).
I believe Vulcan was a mid 70s try out of what you suggest and that quickly folded though it has taken on cult status of late.Still I think the time is now ripe to plunder the nostalgia market with this idea again.i certainly would buy it,but until such time as DC Thomson editors(who I know lurk here)take notice,it ain't gonna happen!

The Cap.
The problem is economics, especially now. I'd say that there's a market for "pocket comics" that could re-launch many characters but all the UK comic publishers face an uphill struggle when it comes to launching new titles. It's very expensive in terms of retail promotions (required to get news chains and supermarkets to accept the new title) and PR to customers, with little prospect of a high sales.

It would require a huge amount of self belief from a publisher to launch a new, non-licensed comics title that did not play on "brand recognition" licensed titles afford (thus, if it is a good brand, helping promote the title for free eg Doctor Who Adventures simply by association with that brand)

However, if a new indie life The DFC (admittedly backed by Random House) can make subscription only work then that might suggests ways for more established publishrs to test new comics product, exploiting the direct marketing capabilities of the Internet to promote a new title direct to fans. As Kev Sutherland noted elsewhere on these boards, DC Thosmon has a very capable subscription house that could fulfill and develop a subs-only title.

While many UK publishers have web presences they still don't appear to have exploited them well enough to build new audiences, although some are, I gather generating good subs sales from them.

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 13:52
by felneymike
I have a book from 1991, just before Victor closed down, which said that "Today the comic has re-invented itself, with articles on mountain bikes and the latest videos", so obviously they where trying, but in the end it wasn't enough.

Perhaps if they had bit the bullet and gone for better paper, full colour, even more articles and such and such it may have continued a little bit longer, but with the economic situation in the early 90's i suspect the money just wasn't there and one comic had to go.

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 14:51
by Lew Stringer
felneymike wrote: Perhaps if they had bit the bullet and gone for better paper, full colour, even more articles and such and such it may have continued a little bit longer,
That's exactly what they did. Victor changed from a mostly black & white newsprint comic to a full colour glossy title. It still didn't save it.

Lew

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 16:55
by johnfreeman96
felneymike wrote:I have a book from 1991, just before Victor closed down, which said that "Today the comic has re-invented itself, with articles on mountain bikes and the latest videos", so obviously they where trying, but in the end it wasn't enough.

Perhaps if they had bit the bullet and gone for better paper, full colour, even more articles and such and such it may have continued a little bit longer, but with the economic situation in the early 90's i suspect the money just wasn't there and one comic had to go.
The reasons for reducing strip content in favour of articles is also one of perceived economics: it's far cheaper to produce an article, especially if the articles are being created in-house, than to commission strip, even at DCT's page rates, which are by no means large but offset. we are often told, by fast payment while other publishers offer higher page rates but slower (30 or 60 day) payment.

I some ways this is a false economy: contemporary articles date quickly and can rarely be re-used elsewhere while comic strip is a re-sellable item, and DCT have always been masters of syndication. I know for a fact that they have re-sold strip material to foreign publishers at well above the cost of the original page in some cases.

Add into that the possibility of a popular character being picked up for another medium or licensing and the value of a successful characters soon becomes clear.

Unfortunately, in the case of Victor, we're talking a title that, like it or not, was well past its sell by date by its final years. The strips looked dated in contrast to the licensed material that was selling successfully elsewhere, such as Transformers etc. And when a business sees success in something they pursue it, just as IPC/Fleetway tried to pursue Marvel UK into the arena of licensed comics.

It's interesting that it's only been in the last two years that DCT has begun to look seriously at licensed comics, with Bratz and WWF; perhaps like others they have long balked at the often huge up fronts demanded by a successful licensor to use their characters in comics form and have, to their credit, preferred to make the most of the characters/brands they own outright rather than profit but also promote another company's.

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 17:50
by felneymike
Lew Stringer wrote:
felneymike wrote: Perhaps if they had bit the bullet and gone for better paper, full colour, even more articles and such and such it may have continued a little bit longer,
That's exactly what they did. Victor changed from a mostly black & white newsprint comic to a full colour glossy title. It still didn't save it.

Lew
Ah, right then. Going on the annuals i had assumed it was still black and white inside, heh.

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 18:20
by steelclaw
Here's the The Last Glossy issue.

Image

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 26 Oct 2008, 23:09
by STARBOY
Couldn't DCT take advantage of the direct sales market and produce a few books for that to see how they go, either via the nostalgia market, or my persoanl favourite try something new (it doesn't always have to be the same old strips like Alf Tupper etc - but if so then at least modern revamps of these if they must stick to old characters) - I'm sure it's not easy, but I imagine it's a lot cheaper than publishing a comic for the high street?!?

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 27 Oct 2008, 01:21
by Lew Stringer
STARBOY wrote:Couldn't DCT take advantage of the direct sales market and produce a few books for that to see how they go, either via the nostalgia market, or my persoanl favourite try something new (it doesn't always have to be the same old strips like Alf Tupper etc - but if so then at least modern revamps of these if they must stick to old characters) - I'm sure it's not easy, but I imagine it's a lot cheaper than publishing a comic for the high street?!?
By "direct sales" do you mean mail order? Thomsons already offer their books on subscription and this year they have a Hotspur Book facsimile so it'll be interesting to see how that prospers.

Or do you mean the direct sale market of comic shops? Finding enough comic shop staff who cared enough about British comics to order them might be a hurdle. They only seem interested in current American material.

Lew

Re: What if Victor hadn't folded...

Posted: 27 Oct 2008, 01:40
by David McDonald
BIGGG difference between direct sales and newstands. If 2000ad had to rely on direct sales it would fold in the morning.
It all depends on what DCT decided to release direct sales. If it was an all new adventure of Alf Tupper or Union Jack Jackson it would fail miserably. If however DTC decided to release a line of original Graphic Novels with possibly a 'name' contributor. it would have a chance.
If you take take 2000ad and Commando out of the picture, niche and loyal buyer(me included) keep these afloat,there is still a market in the newstands for comics, the junior market been well catered for with Cars( my boys fav,I have the diffucult task of reading him comics!!) and Transformers and many more containing at least 10 pages of comic strip. You might complain that its not really a comic when it only has 10 pages of strip. Every generation has a different style, I read most of my comics during the eighties, and if I found a text story in a comics I wouldnt have read it. There is a market there for the post 10-12 year old, What publisher is going to grasp the nettle and publish something outside the box that will have appeal?
It has happened down through the years from the Dandy, The Eagle,Victor, Action,2000ad. It need to be something fresh, new and not done before, and something most people here on the board wouldnt get!

Cheers

David