Saturday, 28 June 2014

WHEN IS A LIE NOT A LIE - AND VICE VERSA?


All images copyright D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd

Last year, D.C. THOMSON released what they called THE
LAST-EVER DANDY SUMMER SPECIAL.  Turns out that it
seemingly sold so well there'll be another one this year (along with a
BEANO Special also).  On a comics forum at the time, someone ex-
pressed  the desire that just such a thing would happen - that sales
would be so good, the title of the Special would prove to be
a 'fib'.  (In other words, that it wouldn't be the last.)

The person was not implying that, in such a scenario, DCT
would have been cynically lying - only that the description of the
mag would prove not to be 'true' (which is a different thing).  Turned
out that a rather obnoxious DCT employee (who has a history of going
off half- cocked) completely missed the point and took exception to
what he saw as the suggestion that Thomson's would ever deceitfully
advertise a publication as something it wasn't (which is not what
had actually been said or implied).

However, cynic that I am, it seems to me unlikley that any
publisher could be unaware of the potential sales that a mag adver-
tised as the 'last-ever 'might enjoy and that a rethink might be required
at a future date if such were the case.  Therefore, when DCT labelled it
as they did, they must've known there was at least a possibility it might
not be.  Does that mean they lied?  Not necessarily, because if it
didn't sell too well, then it certainly could've been the last.

It's worth remembering 'though, that DCT are well-practiced
in advertising things that aren't actually as they seem:   So-called 'free'
gifts  that the readers pay for via an increased cover price ('though that
hasn't happened for a while);  'two' great posters, when it's actually only
one double-sided poster (meaning siblings can't have one each as they'd
been led to believe).  And let's not forget 'makeovers' for well-known
characters that were never intended as permanent changes, but were
mere publicity stunts, sneakily 'leaked to the press' to generate
renewed interest in the weekly comics.

The tedious, 'missed the point' prattlings of a DCT freelancer in
'defence' of his Beano-buddy (who had completely the wrong end of
the stick to begin with) do not change the facts, which are these:  The
forum member was not accusing D.C. Thomson of lying, he was merely
expressing the hope that the last Dandy Summer Special would prove
not to be, which is precisely what's now happened.  Hasn't stopped  Mr.
'I'm not going to get involved' from becoming involved 'though, and
from currently trying to browbeat others on that forum into
accepting his and his (absent) buddy's take on things.

However, let's focus on the positive, eh?  There are new
Beano and Dandy Summer Specials this year, so keep a look-
out for them in your local WH Smith's from July 2nd.

 

14 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I agree that DC Thompson were saying "this is the last ever Dandy unless you decide differently" but comics and magazines are always fibbing or telling half-truths. Remember how those mergers happened because "you demanded it" and I'm sure the merger of POTA and Dracula Lives was described as "long awaited" or something - not by me, I hated it and to this day I regard proper POTA as the pre-merged comic. And recently there's the example of the magazine Comic Heroes - it used to consist of the main magazine and a "taster" mag featuring samples of current comics but last Autumn it went from a bi-monthly to a quarterly with "more pages" but all they did was merge the taster mag with the main mag ! For me the most memorable comics fib was Captain Britain #23 when they announced that from next week there'd be a new GLOSSY COVER - but they forgot to mention that all the colour pages were being dropped so not a lie but they were being deceitful all the same or "economical with the truth".

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Well I suppose it is good to see that the "last" Dandy summer special sold well ( although I have still seen this and other "specials" on sale in W. H Smiths )- I probably wont be picking these up (unless the reprints in the Dandy are of interest) at £4.99 a pop its a bit high for a casual reader like myself but Im sure fans will be happy. I wonder if these books are a result of an increase in sales in UK comics - I noticed that 2000 AD also had a recent summer special as well (and recent 2000 ADs have some great artwork and stories in them)

Kid said...

That's true about the glossy cover on Cap Britain, Col, but the other UK weeklies with glossy covers had b&w content. So, although it wasn't mentioned (that I recall), I naturally assumed that the colour would be absent with the first 'new-look' issue.

******

I think DCT must've reprinted that 'last' Special several times, McScotty, because if the first print-run had been the only one, it would surely have sold out by now - yet my WHS still has copies on sale. I'll be looking at both these Specials before deciding whether to buy them or not.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I think I naively hoped CB might have a glossy cover and colour (I was 11 so I was allowed to be naive) but when I saw the b/w pages in No.24 I felt a mixture of disappointment and resignation - CB's unique selling point was its' colour which was now gone but I kept on reading it even so. Could that little Union Jack on the Dandy cover be DC Thompson's view on independence? (Probably not).

Kid said...

I quite liked the fact that John Buscema and then Ron Wilson supplied the art for the Cap strips, so the colour absence didn't bother me too much. Wasn't so keen on Pablo Marcos' art on Cap 'though. As for that Union Flag (it's only called Union Jack on a ship), that's just a tradition of sand-castle building, Col.

Christopher Nevell said...

I always saw a move in format from a unique one to a more general one as being a pre-cursor to merger. Speed in the 80s fell into line late in its run and was subsequently despatched soon after.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Just think of all the wee fibs comics tell you! I can't count the number of times Superman, Batman etc have been "killed off" or the number of stories that were dreams or alternative universes etc its no wonder I grew op to become a cynical old git!

RE DCTs stance on the Independence referendum, as a company (rather than individuals) DCT are pretty much known to be proudly Scottish but staunchly within the Union (but the flag here is probably no more than as Kid notes).

Incidentally the issue of the "Union Jack" only being used on a naval vessel has been changed (or at least is heavily disputed - I heard that in QI lol )

Kid said...

Chris, and that's exactly what happened with CB - it was merged with Super Spider-Man not long after.

******

Gosh, that's funny, because I seem to recall hearing the 'fact' being confirmed on QI, McScotty - but the programme does have a bit of a reputation for getting things wrong and then having to issue corrections in later programmes.

One big lie that DCT came out with was that the weekly Dandy wasn't dead, but was evolving into something greater that would be entertaining kids in another 75 years. Didn't quite work out like that, eh?

DeadSpiderEye said...

Now this is a coincidence, I think I saw that thread, from what I recall I you've understated the incident a little, it was a bit of car-crash moment, some bod ripping into a guy for a harmless figure of speech, and It epitomised one reason why I generally don't use forums. There are other reasons but I suspect that kind of thing kills about 90% of contributions to forum discussions. Of course there are two sides to every story and I do have a certain empathy for professionals who come in for criticism, because it's their job on the line but incidents like that are hard to reconcile.

Kid said...

That's me to a tee, DSE - a master of understatement. In this case, nobody's job was on the line, it was just some DCT minion throwing his weight around as if working for Thomson's gave him the right to do so. Sad, really.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Yeah well, perhaps it was fallout from the stress of work, who knows. BTW I would pop down to Smiths for the Summer Special but lately they seem intent on going out of business, £4 for a pencil sharpener £5 for a sheet of blotting paper. Last year the DCT Dandy reprint didn't get on the shelves until September and I suspect they only bothered putting out because Sale or Returns stipulates shelf space.

Kid said...

More likely to be grandstanding in the hope that his bosses would see what a 'loyal employee' he is, in my opinion, DSE. As for shelf space, my local WHS puts the Dandy Summer Special on the same narrow DCT display ledge as the weekly Beano, rather than an individual space of their own.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I didn't remember John Buscema doing the art on CB but I definitely remember Pablo Marcos - I didn't like his art back then but all those covers he drew for Marvel UK seem quite charming now. My father was a big fan of old sailing ships, Nelson, Horatio Hornblower etc. so I knew about the Union flag only being a "jack" on a ship but did you know that flying a Union Jack upside-down is a sign of distress?

Kid said...

Yup, I knew that, Col - and it's also regarded as an insult to the British Crown and is considered a crime if done so deliberately.

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