Friday, February 09, 2007

A Little DCT History Lesson

(* As I'm in the middle of proofing and translating and not, as some might think, watching the repeat of A Touch of Frost, I'm handing over Bear Alley to Jeremy Briggs for this evening. Jeremy very kindly sent in the article below and I think you'll enjoy it... )

With D C Thomson's new monthly title BeanoMax being released on 15 February, here is a little DCT history lesson.

Thomson's have a long history of releasing new titles in January & February and even the amalgamation of their titles, when one was merged with another and then the combined title relaunched, has frequently occurred during the same time period. Consider the cover dates of the first issues of these new or merged titles:

11 January 1964 - Jackie
16 January 1960 - Judy
20 January 1973 - Wizard and Rover
20 January 1979 - Crunch
20 January 1987 - Bunty and Suzy
21 January 1961 - Rover and Adventure
21 January 1978 - Scoop
21 January 1978 - Mandy and Spellbound
22 January 1983 - Spike
22 January 1983 - Mandy and Debbie
23 January 1963 - Diana
26 January 1985 - Judy and Tracy
31 January 1981 - Victor and Hotspur
02 February 1980 - Hotspur and Crunch
14 February 1970 - Wizard (comic strip version)
14 February 1976 - Bullet
14 February 1976 - Hotspur and Hornet
14 February 1981 - Buddy
17 February 1973 - Debbie
23 February 1985 - Nikki
25 February 1961 - Victor
25 February 1978 - Emma
25 February 1984 - Champ

So why the start of the year? It would be nice, since many appear around St Valentine's Day, to have some sort of romantic notion of "a new year and a new comic", but it is probably much more mundane than that. As much as we were lead to believe in our younger days that the comics we avidly read (either from DCT or from other publishers) were there to make sure that we were alert for the presence of Nazi agents in 1970's Britain or to warn us of the threat of the extraterrestrial Inter Stellar Federation, it is probably much more down to earth.

With the approach of the end of the financial year in March, releasing a new comic or promoting the relaunch of an old one was probably done for financial reasons. The costs in promoting a launch or relaunch could be absorbed into the financial burden of the end of the year.

Alternatively a new or relaunched comic, complete with free gifts to entice the readers to part with their pocket money, would expect to see higher sales than normal before those sales settled down into regular readers. Those high sales figures would look good on the balance sheet for the end of the financial year report. Of course, since it is D C Thomson that we are taking about, we will probably never know the true reason.

However I have more important things to do than dwell on it too much. I need to round up the rest of my Skateboard Strike Squad and go check the shed. You never know where a Gestapo agent might be hiding!
(* Buddy and Warlord images are © D C Thomson.)

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