Saturday, 18 February 2012

UPDATE: THE DANDY - 'HUGE' RISE IN SALES - EXTENDED EDITION...


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

Interesting to see that some of those who disapprove of me mentioning the
declining sales of The DANDY (although apparently it sold a whole 41 more
copies in the last six months than previously), are doing the very same thing on
another forum.  Double standards perhaps?  I note that one commentator took
an oblique dig at me, while spectacularly failing to adequately explain why the
comic, if it's as instantly popular as he claims amongst any kids who get their
hands on a copy, was abandoned by half of its readership in only a few
months after its most recent relaunch back in 2010.

 As for his assertion
that the (alleged)
appreciation by some
children of the more
controversially-drawn
strips is proof of their
'quality', well - no, it
isn't, actually.  It's
only proof that those
who like the strips like
the strips - and sadly
there aren't enough of them.  The fact that around half the former readership
jettisoned the comic tends to confirm that more people don't like them than
do.  By itself, of course, this does not necessarily prove lack of quality - but
in my humble opinion, having compared certain strips to the best examples
of their kind - it undoubtedly is a major part of the problem.

Also nice to see him propose an idea of mine for distributing free
back issues to schools around the country in an attempt to revive the
readership.  I made this suggestion on the downthetubes forum last
year.  Seems my critics don't disagree with me on everything, eh?

******

I've just learned that, over on another blog, a certain individual
continues to trot out the myth that, because some other comics and
publications have also recently suffered a varying (and comparatively
slight) decline in sales, then this is proof that The Dandy's low figures
are down to other factors than the contents being below par.  I have to
ask - just what planet is this man on?  Nobody, least of all myself, has
ever denied that other factors certainly play a part - perhaps even a
major one - in the general decline of comics (and other once-
popular pursuits) over the years.

However, here is the important difference (and I must've said it
at least half-a-dozen times by now) - no other comic (to my knowl-
edge) has suffered such a dramatic decrease in sales in such a short
space of time in the history of the medium.  That simply cannot be
attributed to general factors - it must be as a result of something
specific to The Dandy itself.  Only the hard-of-thinking could
fail to reach such an inescapable conclusion.

It lost half its readership in six months, directly following a
relaunch that has come in for much negative criticism in the press,
from the public, and on other forums.  (And don't forget the seven
thousand or so former readers who registered their rejection of the
content by ceasing to buy the comic.)  That's more than the "couple
of critics" to which he so glibly and inaccurately refers in an at-
tempt to downplay the significance of their opinion.  (A
typical manoeuvre of his.)

And to suggest that anyone's critical observations spring
from a desire to demoralise the editor, writers and artists, etc., is
another of the common misrepresentations to which he frequently
resorts.  We're merely trying to get them to acknowledge the situ-
ation and do something about it - which will never happen while
they continue in their state of denial and refuse to accept their
share of responsibility for the comic's current sad state.

He can bury his head in the sand all he wants, or deny the
facts and distort the circumstances 'til he's blue in the face and
the cows come home, but his lame protestations and impotent at-
tempts to embarrass into silence or dismiss the opinions of those
who are only stating the truth will not alter the reality of the
situation.  Which is simply this:

He's talking through his @rse

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not getting your detractors mixed up?

Kid said...

Yup. This was another 'detractor' (by virtue of the fact that he was taking a thinly-veiled pop at me in one of his comments). However, I've rephrased certain sentences to avoid inadvertently giving the impression that I was referring to the 'usual' one. (Although he was there, sure enough.)

Anonymous said...

The idea of distributing free comics to schools isn't new is it? I'm sure I saw a 1950s photo of lots of schoolkids waving copies of Eagle and Girl in Paul Gravett's book on comics.

Kid said...

Ah, but were they only given out to the kids for the purpose of the photo, or was it a spontaneous snap of kids with free (or purchased) comics?

What I'm talking about 'though, is a systematic 'hit' on every school in the country. One week, pick one school (or more) and blitz them with unsold back issues, next week pick another one, etc. Might take a while, but it's better than doing nothing. It might even be worth printing up special issues for the purpose.

tongalad said...

do you mean 2010...not 2110?

Kid said...

Well done that (tonga) lad for spotting the deliberate mistake. A free crisp (singular) for you the next time I see you.

Anonymous said...

Seems obvious when you put it like that. What would you do to improve sales?

Kid said...

I'd reduce the page count to get costs down, then reduce the price. Then I'd ask the writers to stop writing for five year olds and aim the strips at a broader audience. Oh, and I'd get artists who know how to tell a story in sequential form and whose artwork is nice to look at and isn't sore on the eyes. More artists of the calibre of Nigel Parkinson and Ken H. Harrison for example.

I'd also start a different kind of comic and move the replaced artists over to that to see if it could find an audience.

"Next!"

Anonymous said...

As Harry Hill would say "Yeah, good luck with that". I'd stick to blogging and leave the publishing economics to the experts.

Kid said...

Not so 'expert' in The Dandy's case, are they? If they don't reduce the costs and the price, it's only going to increase and drive away more readers.

As far as I know, The Beano still sells for £1.50 while The Dandy is usually £1.99. That means readers are paying 49p more to compensate for falling profits. Yes, I know a subscription is cheaper, but kids have to see it on the shelves first in order to be aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more re the writers - just cause the comics aimed at kids I don't think the material should be aimed as if a 5 year old wrote it. Kids are more sophisticated than that- at least the decline has stopped but its not great - McScootyec

Kid said...

I'm not sure it's stopped - probably just fluctuating a bit.

OBSERVER said...

The Dandy has readers of all ages then obviously it is already appealing to a broad readership. Just because it doesn't appeal to YOUR tastes doesn't make your opinion universal.

As for getting artists of a better calibre, perhaps you could list ten that you would choose to replace the current ones? I await your excuses as to why you can't or won't do that.

Kid said...

For someone who calls himself 'Observer', you haven't been paying close enough attention. For a start, I never said that ALL current Dandy artists should be replaced. Anyway, ignoring your rather obvious attempts at psychological manipulation, here are some of the artists who I would use on the comic: (In no particular order.)

Tom Paterson, Gordon Bell, David Sutherland, Nigel Parkinson, Ken H. Harrison, Mark Bennington, Trevor Metcalfe, Jimmy Hansen, Hunt Emerson, Barry Appleby, Wayne Thomson, Steve Bright - and Lew Stringer on standby.

And I'd hardly call a readership of 7,489 (or whatever it currently is) a broad one. The comic is clearly aimed at the younger end of the market - I don't think anybody working on it would dispute the fact. Any older readers are an anomaly, but it's possible to write for a more encompassing age-range, which is what the comic should be aiming for.

I'd also include a couple of adventure strips for good measure.

There. Does that chip on your shoulder feel any better now?

OBSERVER said...

Ehh, I never knew you liked Wayne Thomson's work. Cool. So you'd make the comic more or less like it was in the nineties. It might work! Sorry for the attitude earlier.

Kid said...

No bother at all.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the new comics THE PHOENIX and STRIP? They appeal to a more diverse age group. More like those comics?

Kid said...

Haven't seen The Phoenix, but have got the first issue of Strip Magazine. Great artwork by John Ridgeway in it, but, overall, the mag didn't really grab me. Hope they both do well 'though. (Although from what I hear, it's going to be an uphill battle for the former.)

Mr Straightman said...

Forty-one copies has got to be the most miserly circulation increase on record. Back in the early nineties, a certain high street newsagent's here in Northampton was selling a hundred issues of Viz a day - usually on the first day it arrived in stock. People were picking up a copy with their morning newspaper, even. I don't think we'll see that kind of activity with any comic, be it for adults or children, ever again, unless something out of the ordinary happens.

Kid said...

We need a modern-day Leo Baxendale, humour-wise, to reinvigorate the industry. Sadly, despite his imitators as far as drawing style goes, nobody's ever quite matched him in the 'lunacy' department. I read Willy the Kid and I laugh - I read The (Censored) and I almost cry. Not with laughter 'though.

Anonymous said...

Is Gordon Bell still drawing? Come to think of it I haven't seen Tom Paterson in the BEANO for a while now ...or Trevor Metcalfe or Jimmy Hansen... you may need to update your list.

Kid said...

If they're not still drawing, then they ought to be. They're certainly still alive. And remember, it's a list of those who should be working on the comic, not necessarily of those who currently are. I'd hate to think they're not getting work because others less talented are getting it instead.

Anonymous said...

There could be any number of reasons why the gentlemen you mention are not currently employed by The Dandy. Illness, old age, retirement, busy elsewhere.

Predictably, you choose a reason that gives you the opportunity for another snide dig at the current artists.

Kid said...

Snide dig? No - statement of fact. Which isn't dependent on whatever the reason happens to be for why any of these gentlemen no longer appear to work for the comic. I don't need to be snide, Mr Predictably Anonymous. Comprende?

Anonymous said...

There you go asserting your opinions as facts. again. Your massive ego!

Kid said...

Massive ego? At least my ego is matched, if not surpassed, by my talent. As you take the opposite view to mine, it stands to reason that your ego is equally as massive. People in glass houses...?

Just Sayin' said...

A matter of Complain Loud Enough and They Will Listen? Smart and Fanton are not contributing on next years Dandy book.
Dandy Annual news

Kid said...

What about The Beano book? Anyway, no one wants to see anyone lose work. DCT should start another comic in which any displaced artists can stamp their own styles on it. Trouble with The Dandy at the moment is that it just isn't The Dandy.

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