Tag Archives: The DFC

Rising Phoenix

I have read a lot of comics in my time. Not for a while, though, and never actually the DFC. I did try to lay my hands on a copy, but without any luck, which is why I’m especially happy to witness its reincarnation into the Phoenix.

If it hadn’t been for the sad fact that I could never persuade Offspring to understand the charm of comics, I’d have said it’s an essential part of childhood. Maybe it’s because their childhood didn’t take place while there was a David Fickling related comic? Let’s say that’s the reason.

Phoenix launch with David and Caro Fickling and assorted other people

I’ve also read quite a few bad comics, or at least iffy ones. That is not something you can say about the Phoenix, which is quality through and through, while still being fun. I knew some of the cartoonists from the comic books David has published, so that was nice. But some of the hitherto unknowns also proved to be fun.

They let me have three copies of the Phoenix, from varying stages. And I have to say that reading an exciting story which began in issue zero (honestly, zero…) and then coming back to it twelve weeks later, only to find that it ends in the most recent issue, is a bit, well… I’d have liked to see what went on in the middle. But it wasn’t to be.

And I have now left Good Dog, Bad Dog hanging in mid-air as well.

I’ll get over it.


An elderly witch does not have the same amount of comic-reading time at her disposal as her younger self had. If she did, there would be lots of stories to read every week and puzzles to solve and weird little comments from Tabs and Chops, the editors.

There are cleverly disguised book ‘trailers’ for new books recently or soon to be published. (That’s right. Get them hooked. Make them desperate.)

I found one adoreable spelling and one spelling error. The error was mine and I wonder how they knew I’d need to be told. It has now been edited out, and most of you will be none the wiser.

If I was young I’d want the Phoenix every week. If Offspring were younger they’d get the Phoenix every week, whether or not they wanted it. Anything that starts children off reading is good. And this is good.


I was about to say something about boys and comics, when my sense of political correctness caught me in time. Daughter likes comics, and the witch used to read several regularly in her youth. The other two family members don’t seem to understand them at all, so the boy/girl thing is totally wrong, in fact.

Having been allowed to catch a glimpse of the DFC as David Fickling waved his folder around back in March, I have since struggled like mad to get any information at all. David did say I was welcome to call round and we’d talk about it, but I somehow didn’t see myself going all the way to Oxford even for David.

So it was nice to see that the Guardian Weekend had an exclusive preview of the DFC, with a short introduction by Philip Pullman. Philip is the other boy I had in mind, and it seems he’s been heavily involved with the comic, and has his own story, The Adventures of John Blake, which will appear monthly.


The preview left me feeling that maybe I must wield my credit card and start a subscription after all. This is the difficult thing with a comic, rather than a book. The book I can ask for a proof of, but one copy of the comic won’t be much help, and I can’t see them giving away an open-ended subscription.

And to Philip I will say that he needs to get on with Dust, and not fool around too much with comics.