May 31st, 2008



The first issue of The DFC arrived yesterday. It is a full colour UK weekly comic available only by subscription. The feel of the comic is a comfortable mix of Francophone comic books and Scottish gag comics: imagine A Suivre meets The Beano. I was sympathetic to the venture as soon as I learnt of it but my affection was assured when I found a stylish Woodrow Phoenix puzzle on the first page. The editorial tone is also attractive:  celebratory pastiche of 1970s British boys comics --  "Don't miss the next thrilling episode".

The strips are a rich variety and I am pressed to pick a favourite so I will simply list them:
  • John Blake tells the contemporary story of a mysterious schooner crewed by a boy who is glimpsed repeatedly by seafarers for over fifty years. Written by Phillip Pullman, it is illustrated by John Aggs in a style reminiscent of many Eurocomic adventures.
  • Super Animal Adventure Squad is James Turner's parody of spy stories much like the work of Jack Oliver and Lew Stringer.
  • The Boss is an English school adventure.
  • Monkey Nuts is fantasy mayhem. A dragon with urges to be an evil mastermind seeks a fabulous treasure of immense power. Think Invader Zim for flavour.
  • Doodlit is a centre page spread of a busy partially drawn scene for the reader to complete. This is a creative activity and not a puzzle. Ted Dewan has provided a gnarled tree containing rickety houses, 18 headless handless people, and 10 empty speech balloons.
  • Vern and Lettuce is Sarah McIntyre's funny animals strip set in Pickle Rye Park.
  • The Spider Moon is another Eurostyle strip. Kate Brown creates a lush mundane fantasy in which an adolescent girl comes of age in a place where an island floats in the sky on the horizon.
  • Mo-Bots has manga robots in an English high school.
  • Good Dog Bad Dog is funny animal police adventure by Dave Shelton.
There are also some gag strips and a puzzle that opens a secret page on the website. The quality of the art and writing is high but it is the nature of weekly strips that a single episode can be dissatisfying. The only strip where this was the case for me is John Blake but I am confident that a second episode will have me on track.