In a wide ranging interview with Start Licensing’s Ian Downes, Licensing.Biz reveals that more Dennis the Menace merchandise is in the works from DC Thomson after a great year for the character – and that DC Thomson looks keen to exploit its many other comic brands.
“Dennis & Gnasher had a great 2013, Ian Downes tells Licensing.Biz. “The series broadcast on CBBC performed really well and proved to be one of the most popular shows on the channel. A new dedicated Dennis & Gnasher comic was launched – published every month the comic has a fantastic covermount programme which ensured it caught the eye at retail. New licensees such as Golden Bear launched new products and we are delighted to see Golden Bear launching more new products at Toy Fair.”
There are about 20 licensees for The Beano‘s flagship character, including licensees such as Dr Martens and Raleigh Bicycles. In toys and games we have Golden Bear, Gibson’s, Wizard and Flair. “The characters are well represented in licensing,” says Ian, “and we also have a programme centred on classic Beano artwork which helps create additional activity and is a great outlet for innovation – for example we recently licensed Jennie Maizels to develop Beano Iron On patches.
“This is the first time she has taken a license and her product has been well received at retail.”
Revealing that the Dennis the Menace Raleigh’s Chopper bike has been a sell out and that Dr Martens are launching a new range in 2014 based on the success of their launch range in 2013, Downes also hints that DC Thomson are more than ready to push for further success with their other Beano characters – which, as regular readers know, they have aplenty!
“We would like to keep the momentum developed to date going and to deliver on the promise of ‘linked’ licensing linking licensees with The Beano and Dennis & Gnasher comics in a proactive fashion,” says Ian. “…DC Thomson are a proactive licensor and are keen to work with retailers and licensees in genuine partnership. We are also able to work on bespoke artwork with licensees – this can help in creating licensed products that stand out on shelf and have genuine originality – this is an important added value in the licensing market.”
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.