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by Royston

Campaign launched to save the DFC

March 23, 2009 in General

A campaign has been launched to save the DFC, the weekly kids’ comic which is preparing to close on March 27, if a buyer cannot be found.

A website called Save the DFC has been started by Barnaby Gunning, an architect who describes himself as a “parent of two DFC-loving kids”. He is trying to raise funds to stage a “subscriber buy-out” of the DFC and is asking people to pledge a sum of money to take part.

The DFC was launched last May by the publisher Random House. Earlier this month, Random House said that “in the current economic climate, we have decided that the DFC is not commercially viable within our organisation”.

On the website, Mr Gunning says: “The DFC is passionately adored by its readers and with a bit of love and care and a lot of evangelism it could build a much bigger subscriber base, perhaps not existing solely as a wonderfully printed artefact in the UK, but reaching out over the interweb to small comic lovers everywhere. Kids love comics and if you love your kids, they will love you for saving the DFC.”

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.