Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

DFC will be relaunched

with 10 comments

DFC, the ill-fated comic that was shut down in March after just seven months, will be relaunched independently next year, publisher David Fickling has vowed.
The weekly comic, which had 3,000 subscribers, folded after parent company Random House ordered its imprint companies to jettison any “non core business”.
The aim of the full-colour DFC, a weekly comic that featured contributions from author Philip Pullman, author of  His Dark Materials trilogy, was to try to restore the genre to its glory days, when hundreds of thousands of youngsters bought The Beano, The Dandy and The Eagle.
But David Fickling told delegates at the Federation of Children’s Book Groups conference that he is determined to bring the comic back.
“As far as I was concerned, it was maddening to close it so quickly,” he said.
“But this is not good night for DFC. We are coming back. We are going to come back next year independently.”
Mr Fickling told the conference, held at the Worth School in West Sussex, that planning and launching the comic was one of the most thrilling projects of his career.
“It is very difficult sometimes to speak to those parts of the community who you know would adore books and love stories,” he said.
“That was part of the enterprise, to reclaim the comic story-telling part of our cultural heritage of stories for children.
“I wanted it all: to have books and to have comics. I think the way to reach those people isn’t to preach at them, it is by example.
“I wanted the comic to be an example.”
When Philip Pullman, who wrote The Adventures of John Blake for the comic, heard of the closure, he told Mr Fickling that the “story must continue”.
“Don’t let the closure of your comic stop your great enterprise,” he said.
Mr Pullman, whose adventures were illustrated by John Aggs, said he’d leapt at the chance to work on the comic.
“I’ve always loved comics, and when I first heard about the DFC, I leapt at the chance of being involved,” he said at the launch.
“The chance to work in this wonderfully fluid and exciting form was too good to miss.”
The 36-page comic, which also included Charlie Jefferson and the Tomb of Nazaleod by Garen Ewing , Mobot High by Neill Cameron and The Boss by Patrice Aggs, stopped after issue 43 when a buyer could not be found.
It was unique in its genre for having no adverts and quickly gained a reputation for its high quality stories and illustrators. It assiduously avoided any gender bias and looked to attract readers beyond the eight-12 market.
Although it was subscription-only, Mr Fickling had hoped eventually to sell the comics in shops.
At the conference, he was unable to give anymore details about the planned return of the DFC.


Written by CommonPeople

April 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Thanks for posting this on SuperComicsAdventureSquad, Jayne! Let’s all cross our fingers for this to happen! 🙂


    April 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

  2. Good news, I hope independence works out as well as it possibly can.

    The last line was a bit confusing. A friend suggests using intonation to make more sense of it:
    “He was not able to give any details… about what? the planned return of the DFC!”


    April 7, 2009 at 9:41 pm

  3. metatim – you’re quite right – apologies. it was two sentences melded incorrectly into one. it is now sorted (I think).


    April 8, 2009 at 6:44 am

  4. […] current climate, but hey, let’s all think some positive energy in his direction. (thanks to Jayne Howarth for the info)     Print this Story    Send to a […]

  5. Hi Jayne
    Came across this via your post on Linked-in. It’s very heartening to hear that David is planning to relaunch, good luck to him.


    April 9, 2009 at 9:50 am

  6. The DFC seemed a great move forward for children’s publishing in the UK, it’s demise a tremendous blow to innovation. I used to live in Japan, where there are many quality magazines for children in addition to (or despite) manga comics. The US has the Carus group, Highlights etc. France has numerous magazine titles aimed at children. Why is the UK so badly served for children’s magazines? The only choice in most bookshops and newsagents are low quality TV tie-ins or licensed spin-offs.

    Finally a decent magazine is launched, only for it to be subscription based only, unavailable in the shops. Then just as it’s getting into it’s stride we find the plug is pulled through lack of funding. Oh please!

    Good luck to David for getting it re-launched


    April 10, 2009 at 10:12 am

  7. I heard it had 3000 subscribers, which means it might have been selling five to ten times that number if it had got into shops.

    Of course, the trouble with launching a comic into shops is that somebody has to fund it for a few months until the revenue starts to flow in reliably. That’s probably why Random House decided to start if out as subscription only. Unfortunately it didn’t survive long enough to get into shops where people would see it.

    Dave Morris

    April 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm

  8. I would like to point out my admiration for your generosity supporting those people who must have assistance with this one topic. Your very own dedication to getting the solution all-around appears to be exceedingly effective and have continually allowed girls like me to arrive at their aims. Your own valuable hints and tips signifies a lot to me and even further to my mates. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.


    August 30, 2011 at 3:23 pm

  9. […] publisher David Fickling told the Federation of Children’s Book Groups in Sussex, journalist Jayne Howarth reports. He also revealed that when Philip Pullman, who wrote The Adventures of John Blake for the […]

  10. […] current climate, but hey, let’s all think some positive energy in his direction. (thanks to Jayne Howarth for the […]

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