Rising from the ashes of sad demise of The DFC, there were some that doubted the weekly The Phoenix comic would endure any longer than its predecessor – but the naysayers have been proven wrong and this week the title celebrates its fifth anniversary with a special cover digitally signed by the many creators who have worked on it.
There have been so many creators involved in the title since its lauch in 2012 that it’s impossible to list them all here (so squint at the cover above!), but they include Jamie Smart (who has appeared in every issue since Issue One), John Aggs, Patrice Aggs, Robert Deas, Laura Ellen Anderson, Matt Baxter, Jessica Bradley-Bove, Neill Cameron, Will Dawbarn, Paul Duffield, The Etherington Brothers, Garen Ewing, Daniel Hartwell, Morag Lewis, Joe List, Jamie Littler, Sarah McIntyre, Jim Medway, Adam Murphy, Philip Pullman, Philip Reeve, James Turner, Dave Shelton, Gary Northfield, Sally Jane Thompson and David Wyatt.
Back in 2008, I interviewed publisher David Fickling about The DFC, the Random House-backed predecessor to The Phoenix. It was clear then that he was a publisher enthused by the comics medium, who preferred the cautious approach to publishing, building the project slowly and carefully. While The DFC fell by the way side, it’s clear David applied the same cautious approach for The Phoenix, building it subscriber base of avid readers to a stage where it could, at last, take a tentative step onto UK news stands back in 2015 alongside its longtime presence in Waitrose supermarkets.
That cautious approach to growing the title, which has included plenty of promotions at child-friendly events around the UK, has helped, hopefully, assure the title’s longevity and build The Phoenix into a well deserved success, a reflection of the hard work so many have put into making it such an entertaining and constantly-evolving comic.
Given the state of the publishing industry and the strong pulling power of licensed brands when it comes to influencing the buying habits of younger readers, The Phoenix team deserve high praise for their work, both staff and creators alike. The title has not only been a success in its own right, but provided a stepping stone for many of the creators involved to explore and develop their own projects alongside their work for the comic.
There are very few comic titles on the UK news stand that are not based on licenses (2000AD, Beano, Commando and Judge Dredd Megazine come to mind immediately), which makes The Phoenix something of a rare beast.
Long may it continue to rise!
• The Phoenix is best supported through subscription, but it is available in selected branches of WH Smith, Waitrose, and some comics shops. For subscription information and more visit www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk
• You can buy individual back issues from The Phoenix shop: www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk/shop/