By Joel Meadows of Tripwire Magazine
Taking over the BFI South Bank café in Waterloo in London, David Fickling Books launched The DFC, their new weekly comic for kids to some fanfare last week. Top names like Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass) and Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson, were in attendance as were many familiar comic creator faces such as Nick Abadzis, Ed Hillyer and Dave Windett and lesser known names like Jon Maggs, James Peaty and Jim Medway.
David Fickling had also invited a selection of young children to celebrate the launch of the subscription-only weekly comic, which features strips by the likes of Pullman, Kate Brown and James Turner.
When I spoke to Pullman (pictured left) to get his thoughts on The DFC, he seemed ebullient about it. “The DFC is going to be just great,” he feels. “It’s a forum for wonderful stories told in this extraordinary form, the comics form which has all the pleasure of the cinema and all the advantages of the book.”
Pullman’s strip, the Adventures of John Blake, is being drawn by young comics artist John Aggs but no other details have been released, although in an interview for the Today programme for BBC Radio 4 he likened the concept to the seafaring Eagle adventure strip Storm Nelson, which he enjoyed as a young comics reader in the 1950s, which was drawn by Richard Jennings.
Alex Fitch from Resonance FM, who has become well-known for interviewing many of the world’s top comic industry movers and shakers in their weekly podcasts, seemed to echo what Pullman said.
“I think it’s brilliant. The world, and Britain in particular, needs a new kids comics because there’s absolutely nothing on the market like it. The fact that David Fickling’s got a big name like Philip Pullman writing for it means the parents think that this has got some kind of cultural kudos and hopefully once kids start reading it, it’ll be a whole new avenue of reading for them.”
For the creators, working on The DFC offers them something they can’t get anywhere else as artist Dave Windett, experienced kids’ comic artist, who is drawing Lazarus Lemming for the title, told us. “The fact that it’s new characters and not licensed material is very exciting,” he said. “I’m really having a ball because for once in my life I’m drawing a character I co-created.”
For its editor David Fickling, The DFC reflects his long love of comics. “I still remember the heart-pounding excitement of receiving my very own comic on the doormat every week and now the DFC can bring that to every child in the land,” he says enthusiastically.
• As well as being subscription-only, the magazine will be advertising-free too. The DFC will launch on 30 May. To subscribe, visit www.thedfc.co.uk
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: British Comics