Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Will this cover be remembered 60 years from now?  I doubt it!
'The Weakly story comic' would probably be more apt

I'd like to say something positive about The PHOENIX, I
really would, but the words just won't come.  I noticed the other
day that it's now on sale in WHS and browsed through an issue,
but aside from a few nicely illustrated pages, I was singularly unim-
pressed.  One particular artist's style dominated the issue, making it
look like an amateur publication for infants by infants, and even
the lettering on the few good pages is, in the main, not up to
snuff, with some very dodgy balloon shapes.

Wait a minute, you cry - kids love it and it's now been around
for over 200 issues, so it must be doing something right.  All I can
say is that when people are starving, I guess they'll eat just about any-
thing and the same goes for what they read.  Kids are hardly spoilt for
choice when it comes to weekly comic strip reading material, so the
mag no doubt fills a void to certain extent, but I can't help but feel
that, on the evidence of the issue I looked at, today's kids are
being short-changed for their £2.99.

Wouldn't I be better just shutting up if I don't like something,
instead of being negative?  I know that's what some people think,
but I've got a blog to fill and you never know - perhaps if someone
punctures the bubble of complacency (if not outright smugness) sur-
rounding the periodical, it may improve.  Believe me, in the opinion
of someone steeped in over half a century of comics reading and
collecting, it could certainly stand improving.  When I was a kid,
when it came to comics, my generation feasted on 'steak'
today's kids snack on 'Spam'.  If only they knew, eh?

So say what you like, but I'll take reprints of KEN REID's
and LEO BAXENDALE's magnificent art over someone like
SAMIE JART's any day.  The decline continues, alas!

Now this is what I call a cover!


DeadSpiderEye said...

I haven't read it, some of the cover's and snippets I've seen looked quite promising. It has to be said though, that cover is probably just about the weakest I've ever seen, what were they thinking?

Kid said...

Your comment came in just as I put a caption to the cover and added the Wham! one for comparison, DSE, so we're on the same page there.

Phan said...

What have YOU done lately for comics Kid? Sweet F*** A** yes?

Kid said...

And what have YOU done for comics, Phan? (You left off an 'ny' from the end of your name by the way.) I haven't done anything for peace in the Middle East, but it doesn't bar me from the right to express an opinion.

Phil said...

Phoenix - I don't get it. Lots of comics have simple art but are smartly written, Peanuts, Pearls Before Swine. This comic isn't funny. There's no joke and no punchline. Are they all like that?

Kid said...

Phil, I can only comment on the one I've seen recently, so I don't know if every cover is as bereft of a joke as this one. As I said in the post, there ARE some nice pages of art within the mag, but too many underwhelming ones also, sadly. I think it's safe to assume that this issue is fairly indicative of the usual standard 'though, going from my memory of seeing an ish or two when the mag first came out.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

Yeah that cover is not great I don't get the joke at all it is not a great selling commercial decision to use that considering some of the great older covers they had. Saying that if its in my local WHS I may pick it up as the 2 issues of Phoenix (from around issue 90) that I have I thought were pretty nice, I really liked some of the art by the likes of the Etherington Brothers and the folk that drew /draw "Haggis and Quail" I was also impressed by the range of characters including funny animals, space heroes, adventure strips etc . However, some art and strips I really really did not like at all not because it wasn't (imho at least) well drawn but it just didn't feel right for a kids comic (you know that "loose" style) but that may appeal to the |"Cartoon Network" generation.

Jamie Smart to say the least seems to divide opinion, personally I really like his own characters BUT I'm not a big fan of most of his work that I saw in the Beano, Dandy, but I get it that kids probably like his stuff (it is cute). I do like their website its got a good feel to it for kids.

To be fair no one can compete with Baxendale and Reid (or Parlett, Nixon etc)they were just amazing artists but Wham (and lots of other comics) had some truly awful strips (Danger Mouse etc) and some awful art at times, it was just the majority of the old comics were populated by some stunning cartoonists.

Kid said...

It seems that the comic (going from what I saw on their website) is mainly a means of selling collected editions of the strips in book form, so it sort of serves as an ad to that end. That being the case, yes, you'd think they'd use a more detailed, more attractive cover. (Although that 2nd panel is quite cute, I have to admit.) I've said before that, while a certain artist is capable of reasonably good single illos, his sequential storytelling skills leave a lot to be desired. However, the point of my post is not to beat up on him, it's to provide a bit of balance. Y'see, I'd read a couple of reviews recently that extolled the comic to the heavens, which is why I took a look at it in WHS. I couldn't believe just how ''bleh' (in the main) it was, hence my post.

The thing about the Danger Mouse (the original one) art, McS, was that, while I agree that it was pretty basic, it served the strip and told the story in a clear, uncomplicated way. I don't mind a mix, but in The Phoenix's case, although it had some nice art, it wasn't particularly stand-out for me, and I thought that the standard of some of the lettering knocked it down a peg. What amazes me is that, when you look at the cover of Wham! #21, you can see the time and effort that went into it; in the case of that Phoenix cover, it looks as if it was turned out in 5 minutes. If that's what kids want these days, they're easily satisfied.

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