Now I know I’m not alone!

Great news! I am very pleased to find that I am not alone in lamenting the lack of comics for girls in the mainstream.

My limited research has taken me to new places and I have discovered the joys of online forums (I’m new to those too!). John Freeman of the Down the Tubes website has very kindly furthered my cause by promoting “Bring back Bunty” on the Down the Tubes forum, which has gained some interest and very helpful comments – thanks for all those links guys, and thank you John!

I’ve heard from several sources that many KS2 girls are into Manga. Kev F Sutherland, a comic artist working in schools, says “based on the schools I visit … more girls read Manga than boys, and the content seems to be what attracts them. And if they don’t actually read the manga comic books, they all – and that’s 99% all – draw in a manga style. So, under the surface or running alongside things, manga art and comic-strip storytelling, is part of their cultural life.” I have seen this first hand in my daughters’ school, the older girls do indeed draw in a Manga style, but I had never questioned it before…

Are the girls interested in Manga because of a lack of original British comics in the mainstream? Kate Brown, comicker and illustrator, said there was a lack of choice when she was younger, until she found Manga; “One thing I loved about the Japanese comics, was that I did not feel like they had been committee-built, market-sourced, “made to order” works. They felt like they had been made by people who had the same interests as me.”

As the kids are still interested in comics, it looks like they are finding alternatives to mainstream … Kate Brown suggests, “Publishers generally can’t take risks on much, let alone comics, of which there is a traditionally low readership amongst UK citizens. It would go doubly, I’d imagine, for something that would be perceived as a super-niche market… in a way, because it doesn’t exist already (or exists minimally), it becomes this kind of odd self-fulfilling prophecy! There are none because there are none… because there are none.” I tend to agree with the self-fulfilling prophecy, especially when you look at what is available in newsagents for children – a collection of identical, brand led, marketing tools lacking in substance.

A couple of the comic creatives I’ve been in contact with have mentioned the DFC, I had no idea it existed and I’m very sorry to have missed it. The DFC sounds like something we would have definitely been interested in. I hear it’s coming back as The Phoenix next January, which sounds exciting – I shall be watching and waiting.

I’m quoting Kate Brown again “The bottom line is that kids love comics. Everyone loves comics. It’s just matter of convincing people”. Thanks Kate, I’ll try!

I long for the choice of original British comics that I had when I was a child growing up in the 70’s and 80s. Hopefully if we can spread the word, my cause may gain some momentum and get publishers interested once again

Fingers crossed!