Saturday, November 03, 2007

Comic Cuts

Back in August I did some digging around into current circulation figure for comics. I'm going back to the well because I've just taken a look at the latest circulations (Jan-Jun 2007) for D. C. Thomson titles. The combined circulation of Beano and Dandy is now 99,987 (but with an estimated readership of 664,000 -- or 6.64 readers for every copy sold). This is down on the figures for Jul-Dec 2006, which was a combined circulation of 112,980, a drop of 11.5%, which is a pretty sharp decline.

When I started compiling these figures, the Beano was selling 66% of the combined figure, which equates to a circulation of 66,591. For Dandy the figure is 33,396. I think these figures are probably in the right ballpark; the figures don't take into account the relaunch of Dandy as Dandy Xtreme which occurred in early August 2007.

It's when we turn to the BeanoMax that things get really interesting. Thomson have announce a real circulation figure for once: 60,490 (and an estimated readership of 116,000). Why this is so interesting is that it is higher than the 45,000 circulation I estimated last July. Indeed, the combined circulations of the three titles has risen, from 157,980 (Jul-Dec 2006) to 160,477 (Jan-Jun 2007) and it seems the BeanoMax is responsible, increasing its circulation by a third in six months. It also means that the monthly BeanoMax is selling nearly as many copies as its elder weekly sibling.

So there's some light in the gloom that usually comes from playing around with sales figures. Will the new magazine format and longer (fortnightly) shelf life of the Dandy Xtreme help sales? One would expect so but we shall just have to wait until we can crunch some numbers.

* The Comics Go To War Tour 2007: yes, David Roach and I are live at the ICA tomorrow afternoon. In fact, the whole afternoon is given over to British comics from 2.30 to 7.00 pm. Here's the line-up:

I Love Girls' Comics: From School Friend to Photo-Love (2.30 to 3.30pm)
Writer and performer Stella Duffy, Jane Purcell, author of the Radio 4 play 43 Years in the Third Form, Unskinny cartoonist Lucy Sweet and others relish the heydays of Girl, Bunty, My Guy and more and reflect on their lessons and legacies. Hosted by Dr Mel Gibson.

Achtung! Commando!: The Art of War Comics (4.00pm to 5.00pm)
Gung-ho but blood-free, the pocket-sized Commando has been winning the war for over 4,000 issues. Experts Steve Holland and David Roach consider the artistry and evolution of war comics with those who created them. Hosted by David Kendall, editor of The Mammoth Book of Best War Comics.

The Seventies Revolution: From Tammy to 2000AD (5.30pm to 7.00pm)
Weirder, grittier, darker, British comics changed radically in the Seventies. Pat Mills talks with fellow writer Gerry Finley-Day, creator of the revolutionary Tammy, and then with artist Kevin O'Neill to set the records straight from Whizzer & Chips and Battle to Action's censorship and the origins of 2000AD, 30 years strong this year. Chaired by Paul Gravett, co-author of Great British Comics.

Presented in association with Carlton Books, Mammoth Books, Titan Books and The Book Palace. Authors will be signing their books after each talk.

Tickets: Each talk: £6, £5 Concs, £4 Members
Tickets: All three talks: £14, £11 Concs, £9 Members
Where: Nash Room, ICA
When: Sunday, 4 November 2007

Tickets can be booked via the ICA website. Please come along, even if you're just turning up early hoping to get a look at Gerry Finley-Day. We'll try and keep things lively with some pretty pictures and there's always entertainment value in watching so-called experts struggling to answer questions when they've no idea of the answers.

Pat Mills' and Kev O'Neill's support act... how cool is that!?

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