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Author Topic: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)  (Read 14868 times)

Frank

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #90 on: 27 November, 2016, 02:00:23 PM »
I guess ultimately whatever else you want to say about the prog at the time, it kept its head high enough above water to escape culling.  The cover of the Year 2000 prog by Bolland is a reminder of how many titles fell by the wayside over the years.  Editorial must have been doing something right to achieve that, surely.

Circulation went from 100,000 in 1987 to 50,000 in 1995, to 25,000 in 2000*.

None of us are able to say whether that was down to existing readers dropping the comic because it wasn't as good anymore, new younger readers not coming in to repace those who age out in the way they once did, or just the general trend for kids to stop reading comics.

As you point out, it's not as if Eagle and Warlord are still dominating WH Smith's shelves.



* 20,000 of those sales were lost due to a change of distributor

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #91 on: 27 November, 2016, 02:25:45 PM »
20,000 of those sales were lost due to a change of distributor

At least 20,000 of those were due to the change of distributor. McKenzie said that they lost 20,000 within a very few weeks of the change being imposed on them.

I've long argued that the catastrophic crash in 2000AD sales at this time was (forgive me) something of a double-whammy: reduced availability due to the distributor change, coupled with the comic just not being very good.

I think either of those things would have been bad for the comic, but in combination were disastrous. Almost overnight, 2000AD disappeared completely from the four or five newsagents on the route between my house at the time and university. The comic hadn't been much cop for some time, but as long as I could pick up a copy on a Saturday morning when I nipped out for a pint of milk and 20 B&H, it remained a habit.

Once I was looking at a trip into London to get one from FP or a big WH Smith branch…? Well, the comic just wasn't good enough for me to contemplate doing that. Obviously, I could have picked up multiple issues whenever I did go to FP, but once you break that weekly buying habit…
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JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #92 on: 27 November, 2016, 02:32:23 PM »
Does anyone know who the editor says during the period that introduced Jura Edgar and the Robin Hood-style Slaine by Staples and Langley?  I actually really enjoyed that and thought the prog was starting to get back on track. Possibly because of the (as far as I recall)  recent reintroduction of John Wagner on Dredd.

I wasn't mad about Dave Bishop's tenure; it had, to my mind, an awkward way of trying to balance on a tightrope between the  New Lad culture of the day and poe-faced seriousness (I remember Tharg on the input page once sniffing 'I don't see the point of this ridiculous letter' shortly before disappearing from the prog altogether).

But I do realise that Dave was sort of handed a dying patient and was doing all he could to revive it so he did what he could. And the prog is still alive and kicking , so fair play.

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Frank

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #93 on: 27 November, 2016, 02:49:12 PM »
Does anyone know who the editor says during the period that introduced Jura Edgar and the Robin Hood-style Slaine by Staples and Langley?  I actually really enjoyed that and thought the prog was starting to get back on track. Possibly because of the (as far as I recall)  recent reintroduction of John Wagner on Dredd.

Those ran around July-Sept 1995, which means they went out under the Tomlinson/MacManus interim period*. They would have been commissioned several months in advance, obviously.

I tend to think of Mills and Wagner shaping the direction of their own strips, but it was MacManus's idea for The Pit to take the soap opera angle, so who knows what other influence he may have had (even on the Mills Bomb).


* McKenzie was let go in November 1994, according to TPO p168

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #94 on: 27 November, 2016, 09:02:40 PM »
Thanks! I do remember that as an improvement in quality  -  two Wagner Dredds in each prog, iirc.  And while Robin Hood Slaine wasn't for everyone, I liked it a lot. Ditto Urban Strike. (even if I was the only one).
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Will Cooling

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #95 on: 28 November, 2016, 12:29:12 PM »
20,000 of those sales were lost due to a change of distributor

At least 20,000 of those were due to the change of distributor. McKenzie said that they lost 20,000 within a very few weeks of the change being imposed on them.

I've long argued that the catastrophic crash in 2000AD sales at this time was (forgive me) something of a double-whammy: reduced availability due to the distributor change, coupled with the comic just not being very good.

I think either of those things would have been bad for the comic, but in combination were disastrous. Almost overnight, 2000AD disappeared completely from the four or five newsagents on the route between my house at the time and university. The comic hadn't been much cop for some time, but as long as I could pick up a copy on a Saturday morning when I nipped out for a pint of milk and 20 B&H, it remained a habit.

Once I was looking at a trip into London to get one from FP or a big WH Smith branch…? Well, the comic just wasn't good enough for me to contemplate doing that. Obviously, I could have picked up multiple issues whenever I did go to FP, but once you break that weekly buying habit…

I think you have to add a third fact which is that first British comics and then American comics were all engulfed by a massive recession caused by both diminished youth interest due to competition from video games* and a worldwide paper shortage forcing rapid price increases. Whenever people talk about 2000AD's declining circulation issues they always miss out the fact that it was far from the only Anglophone comic to have a terrible 90s.

*I always thought the issue was less video games themselves (which after all were so expensive in the 90s that they were more centrepiece presents for birthdays or Christmas) but the boom in video game magazines which took shelf-space and pocket money away from comics.   
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Will Cooling

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #96 on: 28 November, 2016, 12:32:38 PM »
Does anyone know who the editor says during the period that introduced Jura Edgar and the Robin Hood-style Slaine by Staples and Langley?  I actually really enjoyed that and thought the prog was starting to get back on track. Possibly because of the (as far as I recall)  recent reintroduction of John Wagner on Dredd.

Those ran around July-Sept 1995, which means they went out under the Tomlinson/MacManus interim period*. They would have been commissioned several months in advance, obviously.

I tend to think of Mills and Wagner shaping the direction of their own strips, but it was MacManus's idea for The Pit to take the soap opera angle, so who knows what other influence he may have had (even on the Mills Bomb).


* McKenzie was let go in November 1994, according to TPO p168

I do think the key to making 2000AD successful has been keeping Wagner and Mills happy and productive. If you look at the key strength of Tomlinson/Bishop/Diggle compared to the first half of the nineties it was all the great Wagner Dredds. Likewise the immediate upswing in the quality of Mills' stories after Smith took over greatly improved the Prog.
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Frank

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #97 on: 28 November, 2016, 01:26:26 PM »
*I always thought the issue was less video games themselves (which after all were so expensive in the 90s that they were more centrepiece presents for birthdays or Christmas) but the boom in video game magazines which took shelf-space and pocket money away from comics.   

Good point. My brother and his pals used to pirate games, but they'd spend silly money on games magazines.



AlexF

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #98 on: 30 November, 2016, 10:29:15 AM »
What are the odds of scheduling a Burt-1 and Bish-Op bust-up at the 40th Birthday bonanza?

Frank

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Re: Interview with former Tharg, Richard Burton (questions needed)
« Reply #99 on: 30 November, 2016, 08:58:00 PM »
What are the odds of scheduling a Burt-1 and Bish-Op bust-up at the 40th Birthday bonanza?