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Action 40 years today 
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Yes Phil, I think iIPC especially had a policy that if a title never reached a specific target---maybe it was 100 000 copies, I'm not too sure-------it was time for the dreaded merger---or worse, cancellation.

It has to be said that comics were probably over-produced during the 60s: the very opposite problem to the lack of British comics on the shelves today, just a different problem---I remember reading that some Odhams readers [POW! SMASH! etc] were complaining to the letters page that they wanted to buy ALL the Power Comics but many were naturally unable to afford them all. another reason for some of the mergers.

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Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:39 pm
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I feel kind of disappointed, though I acknowledge the fact, that comics were on the wane from late seventies onwards - a period when I first salivated the titles from such an era. Now, with hindsight, I can quite see clearly that the comic industry was struggling in the eighties. All the more to celebrate the ongoing issues of Beano and 2000 ad; they are obviously kept afloat with nostalgia. 2000 ad has matured immeasurably from its inception and maintained an adult audience who probably matured in tandem. Beano, due to its restrictions on maturity as regards content, is the most incredible; still ongoing and freely available at most outlets. Hope these two stalwarts continue forever. :cheers:


Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:21 am
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The Beano could have relied totally on nostalgia - it does, after all have access to all of the famous characters from Beano, Dandy, Beezer and Topper - but instead of doing that, it still creates new characters for today's generation, and rightly so. Of course it has it's core long runners - Dennis, Bash Street, Minnie, Roger, Billy Whizz and Ball Boy, plus Dandy immigrant Bananaman - but there's plenty of room for new ideas too. It's just a pity that there are so few others still doing the same thing - apart from The Phoenix, most of the other kids titles today rely on licensed properties. 2000AD, as you rightly say, took a different route and matured with it's audience. If it hadn't, there's no way it would have survived so long. There's no way Judge Dredd would be who he is today if they were forced to tone it down for 8 year olds (there would have undoubtedly been complaints similar to what Action saw 40 years ago). The character has endured so well he's had two movies. So, no I don't agree that nostalgia is why those two titles have survived. Though it does help with the merchandising. If nostalgia could keep a title alive, Dandy wouldn't be down to just an annual, and titles like Bunty, Buster, and Roy of the Rovers wouldn't be gone.

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Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:39 am
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Just out of interest, Digi:


---what is your view on what you have seen of 2000 AD/ Judge Dredd?


---I know Peter Gray is not that struck on it: the comic today looks light years away from the more traditional, older British comics you seem to appreciate more: you can of course still appreciate something like this long-running comic. or maybe sci-fi is not your bag?


Looking back through the archives, the mid-90s period of Dredd is probably the worst: garish and formless: it's back on track these days, though, happily.



I personally think 2000 AD is the most consistently inventive paper in British History: true, some of the more recent material is so off-the-wall as to be practically unreadable in my view, but there is always something of interest in there, in Dredds' world [which must surely be the most fully-rounded fictional comics world yet created in UK comics,] and sometimes beyond, I reckon.


I do not like the occassional use of real-life swear words sometimes used in Dredd though: not for prudish reasons, I just prefer the ficticious future excursions like 'DROKK!' or 'STOMM!'

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Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:06 am
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
Dredds' world [which must surely be the most fully-rounded fictional comics world yet created in UK comics,]
In what significant ways, Rab, is Dredd's world different from any other fictional world created in any of the serials in any of the comics/story papers produced by Thomsons or IPC (or whatever they call themselves these days), whether presented in text or picture form?


Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:28 am
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Hiya Phoenix:


--what I meant here was that the Dredd concept and execution has so much more room to 'breathe' in: many of the weekly stories run to six pages, which gives lots of scope for exploring details and quirks and new directions: the large-scale panels [sometimes only six frames per page, and in fact you often get an extreme close-up taking up an entire page of one image] : this approach is more cinema-like compared to say, Desperate Dan or Dan Dare, which usually put their fantasy worlds over using traditional pages of multiple panels.



The fantasy worlds of Desperate Dan or Dan Dare or Kellys' Eye are very well-done, but they are done in a visual shorthand compared to what we see in Dredd---in my view.


There was some experimenting with scale by Desperate Dan and Korky etc in the annuals and Summer Specials, but the weekly Dredd stories use this as a matter of routine: the artists have more room to experiment in.


Desperate Dans' home town is very well rounded but I don't think it is developed in hyper-detail to the extent that Mega-City One is, also some of the Dredd epics can last for six months, and the format sometimes even goes into 'text form' as well like the older D C T characters did.


Just my own two creds......

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Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:23 pm
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OK, thank you, Rab. The point you raise about a link between the presentation of a scene on paper and what it might look like on a cinema screen is interesting, and is not one that I have thought about despite having read hundreds of serials in Thomsons' picture story papers like The Victor, The Hornet, Scoop etc. I wonder how many other people think this is important. I'm pretty sure that I have only ever read the picture serials for their stories rather than the artwork, at the same time regretting that they were not in text form, which always gave greater scope for my imagination to get to work. For example, the presentation of Alf Tupper in The Victor was interesting enough but he wasn't my Alf because I already had a clear picture of the lad in my head from his ten text series in The Rover. Likewise Nick Smith, Pickford, The Red Macgregor, Matt Braddock, Morgyn the Mighty, Gorgeous Gus, and all the others. Of course if I had come to The Victor in 1961 without having read any of the text story papers.............


Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:47 pm
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Phoenix wrote:
OK, thank you, Rab. The point you raise about a link between the presentation of a scene on paper and what it might look like on a cinema screen is interesting, and is not one that I have thought about despite having read hundreds of serials in Thomsons' picture story papers like The Victor, The Hornet, Scoop etc. I wonder how many other people think this is important. I'm pretty sure that I have only ever read the picture serials for their stories rather than the artwork, at the same time regretting that they were not in text form, which always gave greater scope for my imagination to get to work. For example, the presentation of Alf Tupper in The Victor was interesting enough but he wasn't my Alf because I already had a clear picture of the lad in my head from his ten text series in The Rover. Likewise Nick Smith, Pickford, The Red Macgregor, Matt Braddock, Morgyn the Mighty, Gorgeous Gus, and all the others. Of course if I had come to The Victor in 1961 without having read any of the text story papers.............

The comparison between comics and cinematography is a pretty normal one in fans of US comics: people who have looked at scripts of US style comics are used to phrases such as 'panning shot' or 'close up' being used, which is taken straight from the world of camerawork. Personally I love the fact that in comics you get that mix of artwork and story: I wouldn't see myself as ever regretting that a comic wasn't in text form. In Jinty there were occasional text stories (particularly in the annuals but sometimes also in the weekly issues) and I always skipped over them initially, as having a very different 'flow' from the comics stories. I read a lot of prose so it's not a prejudice against that medium, mind you.

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Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:52 pm
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Apparently Citizen Kane was a huge influence on early American comic book artists, with many of of them going to see it over and over again so they could pick up tips on visual storytelling.


Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:11 pm
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comixminx wrote:
I wouldn't see myself as ever regretting that a comic wasn't in text form.
I understand that but I was brought up during the heyday of the text story paper, and text can deliver nuances that are difficult for a picture story to achieve because of its unavoidable emphasis on a series of pictures with a speech bubble or two in each one in order to present its story.
comixminx wrote:
In Jinty there were occasional text stories (particularly in the annuals but sometimes also in the weekly issues) and I always skipped over them initially, as having a very different 'flow' from the comics stories.
The problem with completes is that they are limited by their aim, and as you imply, comixminx, many are eminently skippable. During my ongoing reading of Thomsons' titles for girls I come across a lot of them, some in text form, others in pictures, and indeed some serials are even presented in this way. I can't allow myself to skip them although I am seriously tempted to do so.


Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:00 pm
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Phoenix wrote:
comixminx wrote:
I wouldn't see myself as ever regretting that a comic wasn't in text form.
I understand that but I was brought up during the heyday of the text story paper, and text can deliver nuances that are difficult for a picture story to achieve because of its unavoidable emphasis on a series of pictures with a speech bubble or two in each one in order to present its story.
comixminx wrote:
In Jinty there were occasional text stories (particularly in the annuals but sometimes also in the weekly issues) and I always skipped over them initially, as having a very different 'flow' from the comics stories.
The problem with completes is that they are limited by their aim, and as you imply, comixminx, many are eminently skippable. During my ongoing reading of Thomsons' titles for girls I come across a lot of them, some in text form, others in pictures, and indeed some serials are even presented in this way. I can't allow myself to skip them although I am seriously tempted to do so.


In Jinty's last year, text stories appeared regularly and the spot illustration was turned into a full size version for the cover. Up until then text stories had been sporadic in Jinty. I wonder what caused the shift?


Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:58 am
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
Just out of interest, Digi:


---what is your view on what you have seen of 2000 AD/ Judge Dredd?


---I know Peter Gray is not that struck on it: the comic today looks light years away from the more traditional, older British comics you seem to appreciate more: you can of course still appreciate something like this long-running comic. or maybe sci-fi is not your bag?
I've never been a fan of Dredd. It's not that I don't like sci-fi - I've been buying the newsstand editions of Titan's Doctor Who comics. I've never really thought about why, to be honest, maybe it's the violence (the movies are 15 rated for a reason, unlike most of the Marvel and DC films). But I can respect it, for managing to evolve, and stay relevant to it's audience. I certainly don't have anything against the art, which I know has been done by some top talent.


Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:11 pm
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One thing I do appreciate about Dredd is that he ages in real time, the 1977 stories at the very start are set in 2099, and here in 2016 we are up to the 2130s....very different from Oor Wullie, who hasn't visibly aged since 1936 [although this timeless fantasy of eternal youth is appealling to many].


Dredd is well into his 70s in the current storylines: yes it's violent stuff, but the material has never disturbed me after reading approx 2000 Dredd instalments...I appreciate it is not for every taste though, Digi.

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Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:17 pm
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I like the idea that Dredd is actually the villain of the series - from the perspectives of Wagner, Mills and Grant at any rate (a bit like Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part). Just look at the way he crushed the Democracy movement!


Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:39 pm
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Yes Phil: Dredd is basically a facist, even a Nazi---in the most extreme scenario, he thought nothing of pressing the nuke button that wiped out Millions of civilians in East-Meg One [future Russia, for the uninitiated]---it's very pragmatic stuff, and I don't 'love' his character: I would not like to encounter someone like Dredd in real life.

I admire the way most of the stories are put over though, but yes it can be pretty grim stuff: it's often a satire of the real world today, obviously grossly exaggerated.

Wagner is great at coming up with new stories though: one had the Soviets apprehend Dredd and put him on trial in East Meg [2?] for killing millions of their citizens at the end of the Apocalypse War .

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Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:23 am
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