Are weekly comics doomed?

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Lew Stringer
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Lew Stringer »

Kid Robson wrote:
Lew Stringer wrote:Again, I suggested no such thing so please don't claim I did. We agree that the child's response was only representative of himself, not of children in general, yes? So why dismiss his response just because he's 6? Lots of Beano readers are that young. I was reading it at that age, weren't you? How old does a child have to be, in your opinion, to have a valid opinion of a children's comic?
Read what I wrote, Lew - "...seems to think it does" - I got the impression that's what you were suggesting. And I'm not 'dismissing' the kid's opinion any more (or less) than you are the opinions of the rest of his family.
I didn't dismiss their opinions. I just think the opinion of a child is more valid than that of an adult when it comes to children's comics.
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Kid Robson
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Kid Robson »

Lew Stringer wrote:I didn't dismiss their opinions. I just think the opinion of a child is more valid than that of an adult when it comes to children's comics.
And I happen to think that, as it's usually an adult who buys a child their first comic and sets the pattern, their opinion is at least just as valid. Surely it would therefore be wise of the publishers to accord it equal consideration? Anyway, let's not beat each other up over it. You have your view and I have mine.

Phoenix
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Phoenix »

I've been looking into the question of colour bleeding through a page in Thomsons' story papers. As far as I can tell, there is very little, and that would only be from the front cover into page 2. From issue 1 of Adventure in 1921, and taking in The Rover and The Wizard from 1922 onwards, the company used quite thick paper, and there is no evidence now of bleed-through in a reasonable sample of such issues from my collection. In the thirties, the paper used was a bit thinner, so there is some evidence there, but it really isn't any big deal. When the war came, they started to use even thinner paper, but I see no evidence of bleed-through. However, it is possible to see parts of the cover design on page two, but it is only because the thinness of the paper made it inevitable. As soon as better paper was made available to Thomsons, there is neither bleed-through nor see-through. To give you an example of a bleed-through, I am posting the front cover of issue 691 (Jan. 26 1935) and its page two, which is actually page 114 as it was the company policy at the time to use numbers in sequence over several successive issues. I'm not sure how well the second scan will show the bleed-through. The cover is just to show you what is bleeding through. It's mainly the reds with some of the dark blues.
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Kid Robson
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Kid Robson »

Phoenix wrote:Words simply fail me!!
We can only wish it becomes a permanent condition.

Bigwords
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Bigwords »

stevezodiac wrote:If kids are no longer buying the Beano why not aim it at adults?
There's a problem with that idea - retailers. I doubt they would go from stocking Beano-as-it-is to taking The Adult Beano due to the mass of confusion which would come. And how long before someone sells a kid the relaunched title, and gets themselves in the pages of The Daily Mail? Not. Worth. The. Risk. :)

Private Eye (and especially Punch, which is a much better indicator for an all-ages title) hasn't had an entirely easy ride.
Lew Stringer wrote:Unfortunately, the days of the gag mag such as Weekend Book of Jokes, Laugh Magazine, Carnival etc are long gone, and with jokes being zipped between phones these days the charm of the illustrated joke book seems a thing of the past.
There isn't a great deal of them kicking around here, or at least readily available to hand, but I noticed a not inconsiderable number of repackaged US jokes in a number of the joke book magazines which have come my way. Even I'm not crazy enough to go through and index something like the old Mellifont title Humour Variety page by page and joke by joke, but at a conservative estimate at least 80% of the title is made up of material which originated across the pond. Maybe more.
Phoenix wrote:I'm not sure how well the second scan will show the bleed-through.
I can *just* make it out... Of the Adventure issues - packed away in the back room, so I am NOT dragging them out to check - there are only three or four which I would say has a degree of bleed from strong colours that is excessive. The other story papers are comparable. It is amazing (to me, at any rate) that so much is packed in them compared to many modern titles - when I gripe about value for money, the sheer volume of story in those titles are paramount in mind. Look at something as comparatively recent as the repackaged US titles from the early to mid 80s (I pick on Secret Wars perhaps too much, but it is a perfect example) and there is a clear difference in the time it takes to read them.

Phoenix
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Phoenix »

Bigwords wrote:Of the Adventure issues - /...It is amazing (to me, at any rate) that so much is packed in them compared to many modern titles - when I gripe about value for money, the sheer volume of story in those titles are paramount in mind. Look at something as comparatively recent as the repackaged US titles from the early to mid 80s (I pick on Secret Wars perhaps too much, but it is a perfect example) and there is a clear difference in the time it takes to read them.
The pre-war issues tended to have seven serials in their twenty-eight pages, Bigwords. It can easily take fifteen minutes or more to read each one of them, so to read any one complete issue of Adventure, The Rover, The Wizard, The Skipper or The Hotspur would have taken a boy the best part of two hours. Of course the war decimated the page count, but to compensate somewhat, the size of the heading pictures, and the text, was reduced, but the pre-war page count wasn't permanently restored until the sixties.

Kid Robson
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Kid Robson »

stevezodiac wrote:If kids are no longer buying the Beano why not aim it at adults? I think Private Eye sells pretty well and Punch has never been replaced so why not make the Beano an adult humour/cartoon magazine? I know for a fact the Weekly News receives dozens of gag cartoons each week and can only use a fraction of them. There are plenty of humour writers in the media and in showbiz. I'm sure the likes of Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry could contribute. Just the legendary Beano name would be sure to attract contributions.

No?
Lew Stringer wrote:Wouldn't that basically be Viz? All the Viz clones fell by the wayside, so that's not very encouraging for a publisher to venture into that market. Besides, despite the doom and gloom from some quarters, The Beano does still have thousands of kids who read it. Turning it into an adults-only comic would be quite a disappointment for those kids.
I think that a humour 'comic' (or magazine, if you prefer) in the style of The Beano isn't necessarily a bad idea for older readers who still like comics, but I doubt that it would be easy to find financial backers for such an enterprise. As for Viz, I don't think that periodicals for adults are necessarily obliged to include swearing and vulgarity, so I don't really equate it as a direct (adult) equivalent to The Beano, especially as loads of kids buy it anyway (or get their hands on it somehow). One would hope that there would be room for a publication that indulged in good, clean, inoffensive humour which teenagers and grown-ups could enjoy, but I can understand publishers' hesitation in taking the risk.

PaulTwist
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by PaulTwist »

I saw the Craig Graham-helmed Dandy as an attempt to make an "all-ages" comic that was child-friendly yet which also appealed to adults. And we all know how much you enjoyed that, Kid. :wink:

Kid Robson
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Kid Robson »

PaulTwist wrote:I saw the Craig Graham-helmed Dandy as an attempt to make an "all-ages" comic that was child-friendly yet which also appealed to adults. And we all know how much you enjoyed that, Kid. :wink:
Well, I'm not sure if it was ever designed to appeal to adults, but whatever it was attempting to do, it failed.

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stevezodiac
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by stevezodiac »

I didn't have Viz in mind when I made my suggestion. More along the lines of Punch with a mixture of text and cartoons.

The internet has a lot to answer for - nothing less humorous than a colleague reeling off a list of Rolf Harris jokes learned parrot fashion. I prefer spontaneous wit.

Raven
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Raven »

stevezodiac wrote:I didn't have Viz in mind when I made my suggestion. More along the lines of Punch with a mixture of text and cartoons.
But the original Punch stopped selling, and the '90s relaunch didn't last for long, with huge losses reported.

Lew Stringer
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Lew Stringer »

Kid Robson wrote:
PaulTwist wrote:I saw the Craig Graham-helmed Dandy as an attempt to make an "all-ages" comic that was child-friendly yet which also appealed to adults. And we all know how much you enjoyed that, Kid. :wink:
Well, I'm not sure if it was ever designed to appeal to adults, but whatever it was attempting to do, it failed.
We've been through that before. We could argue all day (but let's not) whether it was due to content, lack of promotion, lack of cover mounts, poor visibility in supermarkets, general indifference towards comics or whatever. Fact is, the revamped Dandy, and the recently tweaked Beano, have aroused the interest of people of all ages as is evidenced by comments here and elsewhere.
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stevezodiac
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by stevezodiac »

Mad magazine is still going strong isn't it? What is the age group of its readership?

Raven
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Raven »

stevezodiac wrote:Mad magazine is still going strong isn't it? What is the age group of its readership?
The UK Mad was cancelled back in the '90s, due to poor sales.

For the US version, circulation figure is reportedly just over 156,000 (it was over two million in its early '70s heyday). It's mostly read by young people, mainly teen and male, I think, but has older readers, too.

Bigwords
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Re: Are weekly comics doomed?

Post by Bigwords »

Raven wrote:For the US version, circulation figure is reportedly just over 156,000 (it was over two million in its early '70s heyday).
Mad doesn't serve as a good example to say "here's something we can copy" due to the breadth of exposure the franchise (and yeah - it is officially a franchise) has had. A TV series, numerous books, t-shirts, figures, posters... If Beano was rebranded as a more mature magazine, it wouldn't have nearly the international pull as Mad, which has been cultivating its' image for decades. Hell, even Cracked has been reduced to a single (albeit very funny) website - gone are the days of the magazine.

The way forward isn't by regressing to bygone days, or pulling things back to core elements, but expansive and progressive movement. A comic must have visibility, and that isn't just through newsagents - they can't be trusted to get things right, as has been seen time and time again. WH Smith cocking up the Egmont Classics wasn't an isolated incident, and supermarkets are worse (wonder why there are so many comics with tat on the cover? The supermarkets like that stuff). By reaching out, and doing things to make the public aware of a title (in unusual ways) makes sense to me.

Okay, so I guess this has been coming for a while - I *did* try and keep this from turning into the "what would you do" kind of thread which is so beloved of comics forums, but as it seems that nobody else is willing to offer the scary ideas...

First, the visibility of name brands. Have you seen any of the Dennis cartoons on CBBC? The Bananaman DVD? Notice what is missing from those? The Beano. In all appearances of characters from the title, there should be mention of the comic itself - there are probably children who have no idea that the character they love is regularly appearing in print. "The Beano's Dennis & Gnasher" isn't so bad a mouthful. If you have been watching the S.H.I.E.L.D. series, Marvel has its' name in the title. Same thing.

People seem to be under the impression that comics themselves need to change. They really don't - not all that much, if anything. What needs to change is the way that these titles (and properties) are handled when dealing with a wider audience than the readers. Getting the word out that, yeah, the title is still being published... That's the big hurdle. When The Dandy was appearing in newspapers and television, and people were asked about their reaction to it disappearing from the shelves, there were people who didn't know that it was still being published. THAT is what needs fixed.

Going back to the status of MAD - take a look online. Check out eBay, and Amazon, and... whatever. Look at how it has pervaded modern culture to the point that even people who have never read an issue of the magazine know what you are talking about. It is the same with National Lampoon.

And the kicker? All that free advertising from licenses GENERATES REVENUE.

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