Friday, March 13, 2009

DFC 41 - This is the beginning of the end .....

Underneath this great Lil' Cutie cover by Gary Northfield comes this....

Dear DFC Reader....
We really don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this brilliant new issue, but we have some important and very sad news to share with you...... The DFC is going to have to close in two weeks time - so your issue 43 will be the final DFC in print. We're really sorry to have to stop so suddenly and that your stories will be interrupted. But we haven't been able to find the funding to cover the costs of creating more comics. We will be making sure that you get to find out what happens next in all the stories - look out for more information about that next week.....

That's the way the message starts on the inside front cover of this weeks DFC. All the subscribe buttons have gone from the website. This seems to mean that no buyer has been found and this wonderful attempt at something great has failed.

I'm betting that they'll keep the website going for the time being and maybe use that and the DFC previews site to publish the rest of the material they have on file that was ready to be published.

Such a terrible shame really. A wonderful comic. I do mean to write something about it, but will do that nearer the end.


  1. Anonymous1:46 AM

    The previews site was run directly by Random House and unfortunately has been pulled already... All very sad news.

  2. Don't you think it's a bit pathetic that Random House pulled the plug so early? I think they've been very short-sighted. It's really annoying when something obviously worthwhile goes under in a world full of shite.

  3. David Fickling has certainly made his bones as a staunch champion of UK comics. Rumour is that he's still doing his best to secure rights so that the ongoing story strips like MeZolith and Nazaleod can appear in collected editions. As graphic novels those strips will find their own market - and a very big market it will be, I'm sure. So, although the weekly comic is gone, in a year or two people will be able to see that the DFC experiment was not a failure.

    A lot of people are blaming Random House but, although it's natural to look for a villain in every story, that doesn't really wash. They must have spent getting on for half a million quid on the DFC - and in these interesting times, when RH are said to be having to look at staff cuts of 5% to 20%, a longterm experiment like the DFC unfortunately couldn't be justified. They have shareholders that they are accountable to every quarter. The folk at RH are not evil, they're just trying to stay alive.

    For our own little part of the great DFC adventure... Leo and I hope to continue some of the Mirabilis story online, depending on when and how the rights issues get sorted. We also have the first episode translated into French and plan to put that up on our website in the next few weeks. Other contributors will no doubt also keep their strips going, wherever the rights can be retrieved. We are all the spiritual children of David Fickling and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

  4. Yup, what Dave said. And thanks for all your reviewing, it's been great having someone taking a close look at every single issue. Cheers for that!

  5. I'm not doubting the value of David Fickling, the artists/writers or the comic, which I subscribed to eagerly, but I think it's extremely sad that a big outfit like Random House should be prepared to back something obviously long term only on a short term basis.

  6. You're right, but the place to go for investment in something like this cannot ever be a publicly listed company. They are destined (doomed?) only to see things on a quarterly accounting basis. Private investors, on the other hand, can take a longer view - and that's definitely what any comic today needs. Look at something like Spider-man... 40 years after it appeared in a comic that was cancelled, it's a multi-billion-dollar cross-media property. Who's to say Spectrum Black, for example, won't find the same success? (Hopefully a bit sooner than 40 years from now, though.)

    So what we need is either for 500 people to each invest £1000, or for a friendly hedge fund owner to come along who appreciates the value of the Long Tail. Well, Bono still has a big stake in Elevation Partners, I believe...

  7. Without wanting to support the big company too much, I agree with Dave;

    Random House did support the book and were in it for the long run. Until the entire financial market went crazy in a way that no-one forecast and the publishing industry started taking hits that no-one could have ever seen when the DFC was first bank-rolled.

    I think if the financial crisis hadn't happened when it did Random House would still be supporting the slow build up of the DFC. But it did.

    And although I wish they hadn't pulled out, I can understand why they have. Backing something long term is okay when you can see a long term. But if you have to look at the entire organisation and start talking about the best way to ensure survival in the short term, then this sort of long term prospect can't be supported.