Free To Read: ‘The Phoenix Comic’ Celebrates Issue 500, One Of Britain’s Great Kids’ Comics

by Richard Bruton

The Phoenix Comic reaches a landmark 500th weekly issue – time to celebrate with your chance to read for free…

Phoenix Comic #500 – cover by Jamie Smart

The Phoenix Comic was launched with an issue zero back in 2011 (so technically it’s up to 501 issues, but hey), with the first issue coming in 2012.

It was literally a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the short-lived DFC, published by Random House and David Fickling, of David Fickling Books (DFC= David Fickling Comic) from 2008. That comic bucked the trend for comics for kids in the UK packed with adverts and some plastic tat on the cover to attract readers. But unlike the long-established The Beano, the DFC went direct to readers, operating a subscription model.

That the DFC comic failed to take off was due to many factors, but quality certainly wasn’t an issue, featuring strips by the likes of Sarah McIntyre, Jamie Smart, Neil Cameron, The Etherington Brothers, Gary Northfield, Kate Brown, Dave Shelton, Jim Medway, Simone Lia, James Turner, and many more.

But David Fickling wasn’t done with comics yet. Instead of looking for a major publisher to partner with, as had been the case with the DFC and Random House, he went it alone and, in 2011/2012… that resulted in The Phoenix Comic.

Cover to The Phoenix Comic Issue #1 by Neill Cameron

It was very similar to the DFC, many of the same group of super talented artists, the same subscription model, no ads, no plastic tat, and it’s been a success story ever since. The distribution model has slowly changed, with more and more presence on the supermarket and newsagent shelves, but the slow build has meant that it’s developed a dedicated and fanatical base of readers used to getting their copies through the post box every Friday, and given it the firm financial basis to continue.

You’ll hopefully have seen me reporting on some Phoenix collections, from the likes of Jamie Smart and Neill Cameron,  just two of the talents who’ve been making wonderful work for The Phoenix.

Neill Cameron’s poster spread for Phoenix #500

Now, amazingly, for a modern kids’ comic, we’re up to 500 issues of The Phoenix Comic, with the 500th issue full of the same sorts of quality strips, full of many familiar names over the 500 issues, plus many wonderful new British names, all creating some quite wonderful strips. Over 500 issues we’ve seen incredible comics from the likes of Adam & Lisa Murphy, Jamie Smart, Neill Cameron, Robert Deas, Jess Bradley, Laura Ellen Anderson, Joe List, James Turner, James Stayte, The Etherington Brothers, Dan Boultwood, Faz Choudry, Philip Pullman (yes, THAT Philip Pullman), Fred Fordham, Chris Riddell, Alexander Matthews, Joe Brady, Kate Ashwin, Robin Boyden, Dave Shelton, Kate Brown, Patrice Aggs, Andreas Schuster, and many more!

The Phoenix has most definitely risen… here’s to the next 500 issues!

Now, to celebrate the 500th issue, the Phoenix has a special gift for you all…

To mark this huge milestone, we wanted as many people as possible to see what our amazing comic creators have been doing every week for nearly a decade – so we’re sharing issue 500 with everyone for free! Enjoy!

So, what are you waiting for, head to the website for the free digital issue 500 and then go on and subscribe to one of the best kids’ comics the UK has to offer!

Now, just a little of what awaits you in The Phoenix issue #500

Jamie Smart’s brilliant Bunny v Monkey, colours by Sammy Boras
Various strips from Tom Fickling and Zak Simmonds-Hurn
I Hate Pixies by James Turner, Andreas Schuster, Austin Baecile
Fawn by Robert Deas
Doug Slugman by Joe List
Squid Bits by Jess Bradley
Megamaniacs by Jamie Smart, colours by John Cullen
Star Cat by James Turner