The Phoenix comic reaches 500th issue, releases it for free as a digital edition

Congratulations this week to The Phoenix comic, which has reached its landmark issue 500 – and the publisher, David Fickling Comics, has made an e-copy available for free.

“To mark this huge milestone,” say the team, “we wanted as many people as possible to see what our amazing comic creators have been doing every week for nearly a decade – so we’re sharing issue 500 with everyone for free! Enjoy!”

The Phoenix is a high-quality weekly comic, aimed at girls and boys aged 7-14, full of thrilling stories, funny comics, fascinating non-fiction and art tips, delivered straight to your door. Currently, you can get four issues for just £1 if you subscribe.

It’s also sold in selected WHSmith newsagents and Waitrose supermarkets.

The fantastic wraparound cover to The Phoenix Issue 500, by Jamie Smart

The 500th issue includes “Bunny vs Monkey” by Jamie Smart, who also provided the fantastic wraparound cover, “I Hate Pixies” by Andreas Schuster, “Star Cat” by James Turner, by “Squid Bits” by Jess Bradley, “Fawn” by Robert Deas, plus “Doug Slugman” by Joe List, and much, much more.

Needless to say, The Phoenix contributors have been enthusing about Issue 500.

“Seeing all the love for The Phoenix reaching 500 issues… has been really incredible,” enthuses “Bunny vs Monkey” creator Jamie Smart. “A landmark, and a reminder how vital children’s comics can be.”

“What an amazing adventure this comic has been on over the past eight years from Issue 0 in 2012,” notes “Evil Emperor Penguin” creator Laura Ellen Anderson. “It has been awesome from the start and always will be. Congratulations to everyone involved from Team Phoenix, the writers and artists, and the readers!”

“It’s a lovely comic to work on,” says “Doug Slugman” creator Joe List. “Here’s to another 500 years!” – sentiments echoed by “Squid Bits” creator Jess Bradley.

“Here’s to more awesome comics to come,” she says.

“It’s been the greatest experience of my professional life working for The Phoenix,” acknowledges Robert Deas. “From ‘Troy Trailblazer’ back in issue 10, through to ‘Trailblazers’, ‘Izzy Newton’ and now ‘Fawn’ in issue 500!

“I’m forever thankful that I’ve been able to live out my childhood dream. Thank you!”

“It’s been by far the greatest achievement of my working life to interview literally hundreds of historical zombies throughout the 500 issues,” says “Corpse Talk” creator Adam Murphy. “It’s a great honour to work with you all and with the genius Lisa Murphy.”

“It’s genuinely such a lovely comic,” says “Star Cat” creator James Turner, “so much work goes into it every week and it really shows.”

“Working on The Phoenix comic over the last few years has allowed me to share my doofy sense of humour with all their awesome readers,” says cover artist James Stayte, creator of “Gorebrah”. “Cannot wait to draw up some more muscley nonsense for everyone.”

“You guys are the best!” says Andreas Schuster of The Phoenix editorial team. “Thanks for publishing super fun comics!”

“My boys have had a subscription to The Phoenix since the very first issue,” says Liz Cross. “Nearly 10 years on, they wouldn’t entertain the idea of cancelling. It’s been a massive, brilliant part of our family life all that time.”

Published from Oxford, The Phoenix comic was launched on with an issue cover dated 7th January 2012, with a preview issue released in late 2011. Its launch followed the short-lived title The DFC from the same publisher, which had a less-focused content, which it’s felt contributed to its demise.

The first issue of The Phoenix comic, released in 2012, with a cover by Neill Cameron | Cover via Lew Stringer
Star Cat, who still appears in The Phoenix, on the cover of Issue 28, released in 2012, available as a back issue

Many of the strips featured in The Phoenix have also been published in collections by David Fickling Books, or by their creators, who retain rights to characters and strips created, just as in most book publishing.

downthetubes contributor Jeremy Briggs believes that the last UK comic to reach issue 500 was new Eagle in 1993, 28 years ago – so this is an impressive feat in terms of British mainstream comics publishing.

He also notes that new Eagle only got to Issue 505 – which means that when The Phoenix hits 506 we would have to go back as far as, possibly, Roy Of The Rovers which hit issue 506 around 1986, 35 years ago.

(Despite launching in 1979, adult comic VIZ only reached 300 issues last October).

Thank you to The Phoenix comic team, its many freelance creators, and David Fickling for their dedication and enthusiasm – long may it continue!

Check out the free digital edition of The Phoenix Issue 500 here

Check out The Phoenix and subscribe at

Every issue of The Phoenix is delivered straight to your door in a special envelope. It’s like getting a present in the post every week

Buy The Phoenix back issues and collections

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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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.

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