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Reaction to the DFC's plan to close

March 5, 2009 in Events, News

Bloghorn and DFC contributor Clive Goddard writes:

In June last year there was a meeting at Oxford University Press about the launch of a new children’s comic. Being a local, I turned up hoping to find out what sort of thing they were envisaging and, of course, to hob-nob with its creators.

I met publisher David Fickling and realised he was very serious and passionate about what he was attempting but I learned nothing about being a contributor. Even at that stage they had more illustrators and writers than they needed.

The talk was aimed at potential buyers and editors rather than artists. Having taken out a subscription to get an idea of the content I was surprised at its diversity. Dark, bleak, beautifully drawn graphic novel style strips featuring man-eating monsters and dead babies, rubbed pages with naïve, childlike things seemingly aimed at six-year-olds.

Fickling had said at his talk that he didn’t want the DFC to be seen as either a “girl’s or a boys comic” but appealing to all. To me this lack of identity or focus seemed to be its problem. It was trying to please all of the people all of the time. The subscription-based business model was also difficult with the lack of advertising revenue and the need to be mail order to keep the cover cost down.

I wrote, drew and submitted 3 pages (one episode) of an idea, but never found the time or the motivation to submit more, which is now probably just as well. Of course, specialising in one-panel art, I was also not used to how long it takes to make that sort of thing!

I have my fingers crossed, however, that it might continue in some form or other. Not least because I want to find out what happens to Wilbur Dawbarn‘s dancing bear.

Laura Howell, another contributor to the comic, said:

It was a fantastic project to be involved with, and should be applauded as the daring idea it was. This world would be a poorer place without people brave enough to take a chance on creating something new and unique.

Comics artist and expert Lew Stringer has a good, perceptive piece of analysis about the DFC  here.