Sales of Dandy have been collapsing for some years, shedding 23,000 (61%) readers in four years...
* These figures are my own estimates based on DCT figures for combined circulation with Beano and their readership.
Apart from a brief blip in 2008, the sales of Dandy Xtreme, with its higher price and fortnightly schedule, have been falling ever since the relaunch in August 2007. The latest (Jan-Jul 2010) figures peg current sales at around 14,000 which, for most companies, would mean the axe for a title. I suspect that being grouped with the more successful Beano and being printed in-house makes the title sustainable, although the massive revamp proves, to my mind, that 14,000 is as low as Thomson will allow the title to go.
The shake-up at Dandy follows the cancellation of Classics from the Comics, the last issue of which was released on 13 October.
The new-look Dandy is still under wraps as I write this but a few new characters have been teased across the web. Lew Stringer has put up a teaser pic, deliberately blurred and labeled "blurP", which led a number of people to conclude that he was drawing a new strip called "Blurp". Not so, says Lew, who has admitted that, in fact, he's drawing two new characters for Dandy.
over on his blog:
It's almost entirely comic strips. And the strips are mostly brand-new. There are pages by people new to The Dandy and by people new to comics ... The new Dandy has been a dream of the editor's for a couple of years. All new strips, all funny. But making it happen was nigh-on impossible with the cautious nature of the economy and publishing these last two years. Until the editor had an idea.All very cryptic. Parkinson also confirms that the new Dandy will be available "every week from now on!"
__What was needed was something so unusual, so daring, so big, so appealing, that all the other components would slot into place naturally. So he asked me if I could help, by circumventing the usual red tape and long negotiations that would normally surround such a big step and often prove so daunting that proposed projects never see daylight. I was sceptical, but I made The Phone Call. And it took 5 seconds to make it happen!
Other new strips that will be appearing include Alexander Matthews' "Robot on the Run", which he announced on his blog back in September...
he says, reworks the Saint George and the Dragon tale as a slapstick, Wile E. Coyote-esque farce".
Facebook and Twitter. Luddite that I am, that's Bear Alley's first ever link to Facebook or Twitter in 1,820 posts.
This week has also seen the announcement that the Christmas issue of Book and Magazine Collector will be its last. 328 issues is an astonishing run and it will be missed as it was one of the few magazines that gave comics a fair amount of space. I had my first ever paid article published in B&MC #18 way back in 1985, a piece on Hank Janson co-written with Bill Lofts for which we split the £70 cheque. I was writing for them fairly regularly in 1991-92 and would have written more had the magazine not changed direction—the new policy boiling down to "no articles about things we think our readers have never heard of"—leaving two or three pieces unpublished (one was on the publisher Scion Ltd. but I can't recall what the others were about); Bill Lofts told me he had six features spiked at the same time.
Comic Cuts, 24 September 2010) but there's good news for followers of the Century 21 reprints. Marcus Hearn has set up a new company, Signum Books, and is relaunching the series in 2011. Signum's first book, From Thunderbirds to Pterodactyls, the autobiography of actor Shane (Scott Tracy) Rimmer, will be launched this weekend at Fanderson's TV21 convention. Signum Books will be distributed by Titan Books.
Talking of which... Titan Books will also be distributing another series worth watching out for: Hard Case Crime, the American publisher of hardboiled crime novels who went into hiatus a while back after problems with their previous distributor, Dorchester Publishing.
And that's about all I have time for. I've spent a good chunk of the week writing meta data for some pictures I'm going to be posting over at the Look and Learn website, which I'll link to once they appear. I meant to post a disc off last weekend but got carried away and instead of pulling together 300 images (my target) I overshot and the folder currently has 437. The L&L picture library now has over 217,000 images... not bad when you think that five years ago it was just a gleam in the eye of the owner.
Today's random scan...
Sorting through DVDs—I've put about 750 of them in nice slipcases and dumped the plastic boxes to save some space—I stumbled across the following freebie tucked away in a copy of Withnail and I—a repro of the Ralph Steadman poster image. It took five folds to get it into the box and no poster survives folding well, but I hate to see anything go to waste so it went onto the scanner. More kipple that needs somewhere to live.
Wells Fargo and Pony Express book!)