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Monday, February 24, 2014 

UK Telegraph says death of comics is no laughing matter

The UK Telegraph wrote about the slow demise of comics in the UK, and the writer of this piece says that British comic magazines are being crowded out by other products accompanying them:
Roy of the Rovers, though. The Roy of the Rovers comic folded in 1995, when the 29-year-old teammate was 10, so I suppose he might have read it. But the 19-year-old defender was about to turn one. So unless he was an exceptionally advanced reader, he probably has no idea what his colleague was babbling about.

That thought made me a bit sad. I grew up on comics. Dandy, Beano, Topper, Beezer, Whizzer & Chips, Big Comic, and indeed Roy. When I’d finished reading, I’d go round to my friends’ houses, where their mothers would tell me off, because instead of playing with their poor offspring, I’d lie on the floor, reading their comics.

Recently, on my way to visit some friends who have a four-year-old son, I popped into WH Smith to buy him a comic. The few that remain are hardly comics at all.

What you get, for your £2.99, is a bag stuffed with toys, pens and miscellaneous trinkets, and then, as if as an afterthought, a glossy booklet about 20 pages long. For all the reading you get out of it, it might as well be a flyer for a pizza place.
When Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe created Capt. Britain in the mid-70s, the first couple issues of the anthology magazines it was published in came with bonuses like a Capt. Britain mask and boomerang. But now, what might've been limited to just one or two extras is being taken over by a busload of stationary items in the same wrapping.

And I read a few of those UK comics in the late 80s like Whizzer & Chips, but even then, what I did read were more like newspaper strips in the USA with one advantage: their story would extend at least one or two pages. But they were still a lot shorter than the comics we're accustomed to reading in the USA (and even those have been reverting to a shorter page count in recent years, with at least 2 pages sliced off from most mainstream pamphlets, and some books split back to two different stories in one, like what Justice League's gone through).

This can certainly provide some insight to how, much like in the USA, comics in the UK have lost a lot of influence, and even if it's humor comics they're discussing, it's still nothing to laugh about.

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Maybe you should go look up on webcomics, at least there are people who make comic book stories online.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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