A couple of my recent pieces have focused on children's comics here in the UK, and how they've been enjoying a bumper year thanks to some new blood and clever regenerations.
The Dandy Returns over at The Beat looks at how one of the worlds longest running comics is making the change from paper to digital format, while Kids Read Comics: A Popular Revival over at the New Statesman looks at The Phoenix comic and others on offer for children today, as part of a week long focus on British comics at the popular political and cultural magazine.
Check them out!
More reading: Kids Read Comics!
In the last weeks of summer, one comic in particular has been getting a tremendous amount of mainstream press coverage here in the UK, from broadsheet national newspapers to the venerable BBC. They're not talking about Batman or Spider-Man, but The Dandy - one of the three longest running comics in the world, and a staple of British childhood for those of us over a certain age. Sadly the coverage was for the worst of reasons: The Dandy is to cease publication, the news slightly softened with a move to a digital only form.
The reason? Low circulation figures, with a drop from its once lofty weekly sales of over 2 million to only an average of 7,489. As a flagship title, The Dandy's cancellation has led to an avalanche of sensationalist speculation: that children no longer read comics, that children no longer read(!), and that computers and video games are surely to blame (aren't they always?), along with the imminent implosion of all comics and books the world over.
This idea of comics as a failing art form (and children as failing readers) is annoying to me not only as a comics fan, but because in one of my secret identities I happen to be a children's bookseller. An expert even, with a shiny badge and everything. And as I've said before many times, comics have been dying since they were born, a boom and bust industry that rides on optimism yet is chased by inexhaustible pessimism. So here are some facts and figures to show that as sad as it is that one of the oldest comic titles around has had to admit defeat, children's magazines and comics in particular are still in demand, and in fact that demand is on the rise...