As I was thinking about doing some articles on the DFC comic I quickly realised that, amongst the relatively few bits of Internet chatter and magazine articles that surround the comic there are very few chances for the actual target market of the comic to have their voices heard. The nearest I could find was on the DFC website itself in the section for the subscribers themselves to write fan letters.
Of course, this actually cuts to the quick of the main problem with the DFC. The people who need to be buying it and talking about it can't because it's all online. Obviously I'm not hearing much from the core readership in the 8 - 12 range. Or even much from anyone under 30.
So to try and counterbalance this, and because it was a fun thing to do I sat my daughter down in one of our local coffee shops, put a milkshake in front of her (banana), bought her a cake (chocolate) and, once the plate was empty, started firing questions at her.
The DFC readership interview with Molly Bruton, aged 9. 31st October 2008
First of all Molly; a little background .... What comics do you like and why? (see, I've read the Comics Journal and know how to open an interview......)
Owly, Scary Godmother, Calvin & Hobbes, Mutts, Hondle, the High School Musical comic in the magazine, The Beano especially the Bash Street Kids.The Simpsons comic. I like the way they mix the pictures and words and I like them when they make me laugh.
What did you think when I first told you about us getting the DFC?
Cool, I'll give it a go.
The DFC has been going 23 issues now, how are enjoying it?
I like it. I like how there's a good mix of comics inside. And I like coming home on Friday after school and opening it up. It's really exciting when you open it up and see who's on cover. It's nice that they give everybody a turn on the cover. That's fair.
(Vern & Lettuce from the DFC. Story & Art (c) Sarah McIntyre)
What are your favourite strips?
Vern &Lettuce, Crab Lane Crew, Sausage & Carrots, Lil' Cutie, Sneaky, the Zoo one (New at the Zoo), Strange World (Strange, Strange World Of Weird), Good Dog Bad Dog and the silly animal one in the fist few issues (Super Animal Adventure Squad), Fish Head Steve. But Vern & Lettuce, Crab Lane Crew and Sausage & Carrot are my favourite favourites.
Pretty much all of those you mentioned are very cartoony and funny. And except for Good Dog Bad Dog all of them aren't long strips which continue the same story week after week. Why do you like these more than the other strips?
I don't really know, they're just funnier. They're all based on animals rather than people and I like that more.
Why do you like Vern & Lettuce so much?
The characters are great. Fat sheep playing a Tuba and a bunny with lots of little bunnies following her around. Very funny. I love the colours of the artwork. And I love little things like the swirly dotty fleece on Vern and the patterns on Lettuce's dress.
(Crab Lane Crew on the cover of the DFC issue 19. (C) Jim Medway.)
When I first read Crab Lane Crew I didn't get it at all. And it was like it for a few weeks. I just didn't see any story in it, just friends standing around chatting. But talking to you about it previously has made me a fan of it as well. What made you like it?
I like the way it's about a group of friends hanging around and talking about stuff. It's good that there's a lot of emotion in the crew. Like when Scott left and all of the friends he left behind felt really sad. And even though a girl replaced him in the gang it was really true to real life the way that she didn't fit right in straight away and took a while to become friends. And I like how the names really suit all the characters. Maybe it's just meant to be for kids Dad?
(That told me. Interestingly a lot of reviews of Crab Lane Crew pick it apart for exactly the reasons Molly loves it. But the reviewers aren't the comics target age group and Molly is. Which I reckon means Jim Medway's got it pretty much spot on.)
(Sausage & Carrots from the DFC. Story and Art (c) Simone Lia.)
What about Sausage & Carrots?
That's just funny and silly. Silly in a good way. It's very short and I'd like to see more. But it's really good.
Do you read all of it each week?
Not every single comic, just the cartoon ones, I don't like the adventure type ones yet.
Would you like to see anything different in the comic?
No, I think it's very good. I don't like it all, but that's okay because maybe the boys would like the comics I don't like.
Do you know anyone else who reads the DFC?
Why do you think that is?
It doesn't have that much advertising, no adverts on TV. Posters around town.
Do you think your friends would like it & how would you get more people reading it?
Some of them would. Maybe they could give out free copies to schools so that my friends could see more of them. Or sell it in shops.
Do your friends read comics?
Not really, they read proper books and novels. They get magazines from the newsagents.
Okay, thanks very much for that Molly. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Can I have another cake?
No, I meant anything else you want to say about the DFC?
Not really, it's just really, really good and I think I should have another cake for doing this.
We left it there. She got the cake.
The DFC is published weekly. It's very, very good. Molly says so. To get a copy you can either subscribe online or by telephone. You can also get individual issues online and of course, for this week only; Wed 26th November to Tue the 2nd December, you can pick up the latest issue in Tescos.