Toxic Presents … Crazy Comics

Published On March 29, 2009 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Toxic Presents …. Crazy Comics.

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The Toxic Crazy Comics supplement is a free comics insert included with issue 137 of Toxic magazine that should be on the racks from April 1st for three weeks.

Toxic is described as a “lifestyle / entertainment magazine for 8-12 year old boys”. Now, aside from the old bloke in me rankling at the idea that 8-12 year old boys have a “lifestyle” nowadays, my biggest problem with Toxic is that it only has room for a mere handful of strips and it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise if you’ve read any of my thoughts on kids comics before that I don’t necessarily agree with the way Toxic does it; too much plastic crap on the front cover, too many articles on why computer games are great, too much TV stuff. I’d rather it was 100% comics. But it’s not. To each their own I suppose, it’s successful at what it does and it does seem to have an editorial staff that really wants to include comics in the magazine, which I applaud and encourage them to do more. I think it just came at a bad time with the disappointment of seeing the DFC go under, there’s a part of me that sees something like Toxic as not pure enough, not “comics” enough, whatever that means.
The comics themselves, nine different strips, range from very traditional Beano / Whizzer & Chips style stuff to some very modern stuff indeed. There’s a good mix in here, and of course, they’re just as suitable for girls as they are boys. In fact, Molly was a bit put out when I told her that Toxic was a magazine for boys. “But that’s stupid Dad, comics are for everyone”. Very wise little girl.

Highlights for Molly and me;

Count Von Poo by Jamie Smart is ace, scatological, but very funny. Jamie’s much loved in this household for his Fish-Head Steve in the DFC but also responsible for Bear from Slave Labor.

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Zombie Nation by Luke Paton (The Adventures of Kez and Luke) and Laura Howell from the DFC but already in Toxic with Robin Hoodie, the Beano with Ratz and Johnny Bean From Happy Bunny Green (brilliantly described as ASBOs come to Trumpton).

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WereWilf by Paul Birch & Shane Oakley and John Erasmus. A very strange one this; as I read it I thought of Alan Moore’s Bojeffries Saga and Steve Parkhouse’s art, but a quick nosy on John’s blog tells me it’s actually older than that, as WereWilf first appeared in March 1976 in that wondeful British comic Whoopee! and gets a very nostalgic and funny return here, with Wilf’s powers being discovered by Ernie Helsing, the monster hunting milkman. So perhaps it was an influence on The Bojeffries Saga and not vice versa then. Wonderful art by Erasmus.

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Lew Stringer‘s The Clump is possibly the most traditional of the bunch, looking like it could have fitted very nicely into any comic from Whizzer & Chips of 30 years ago to just last week in the Beano. And I don’t say that as a criticism; I’ve always enjoyed whatever Lew does, and The Clump is a great bit of traditional comic fun.

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Toxic’s website has loads more things to see and do and most importantly for the comic, it has the voting section, which I presume goes live once the latest issue goes on sale from the 1st. Vote for the strip you like best and it will make a return appearance in the pages of Toxic.

I made Molly choose a favourite to vote for and she was torn between Count Von Poo and Zombie Nation – that DFC connection runs deep. She just couldn’t decide. So I’m voting for Count Von Poo for her and she voted for Zombie Nation. But in truth, I’d rather not have to vote. I’d love to see quite all four of the strips make it into the magazine. Even better, I’d love to see Toxic do a complete comic. Maybe one day.

Toxic issue 137 with the Crazy Comics supplement is available from April 1st from newsagents for roughly three weeks. Make sure you give it a go, get online and vote, then e-mail Egmont to convince them that they need more comics.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

10 Responses to Toxic Presents … Crazy Comics

  1. Kenny says:

    Not sure there is a lot of perspective here. Toxic is up in the 130’s and is clearly working has found and is preserving an audience. DFC didn’t make it to 50 issues and to some extent never risked trying to find a big enough audience, instead settling for a subscription only route (clever as that potentially was).

    Toxic is a comic that reflects what you need to survive in the marketplace – that you, or I, might prefer it have more comics and be more like the DFC might just condemn it to the scrap heap as well. It may not even need comics to work but that it is championing them is a terrific thing – any new work from Lew Stringer is a gift to us all. I know the DFC presented an opportunity for what I’d call a decidedly ‘middle class’ branch of cartooning and cartoonists to emerge but it wasn’t ‘all that’ to my mind – carrying a number of weak, muddled or downright boring strips. The greatest loss is the cartoonist’s access to paying work rather than, for me at least, the magazine as such. Let’s hope they find new avenues that this exposure has opened up for some – full pagers in the Guardian ain’t a bad consolation prize.

  2. Joe says:

    “comics are for everyone” – well said, Miss Molly!

  3. Richard says:

    Yep, definitely agree with Kenny – it was written in the time I was also writing a lot of stuff about the ending of the DFC. So I was regretting the loss of that at the same time as welcoming the Toxic Comics insert.

    But I’ll stand by my comments about the side of Toxic I don’t like; there’s part of me that doesn’t like the idea of a “lifestyle” mag for 8-12 year olds. It’s a horrible idea. But maybe that’s my middle class, Guardian reading, liberal mindedness coming through! As for the plastic tat on the cover – I think it’s terrible that it’s become a necessity for any comics in the supermarkets & newsagents. It forces a parent to always consider whether their child actually wants the comic for the comic or just because it happens to have a crappy toy on the front. I’d much rather Molly wanted to read a comic than play with the toy – we’ve seen far too many comics and magazines discarded and unread!

    I suppose part of the problem has become an arms race between publishers. It used to be that a special issue would have something stuck to the cover. And that worked okay. But somehow we’ve got to the position where any magazine for children feels it HAS to have something attached to the front – making the comic feel more like a McDonalds Happy Meal than a bit of children’s entertainment.

    Yes, Toxic is succesful and I’m really glad it is – anything with some comics in is better than nothing. And yes, I may have been too hard on it. And yes, the DFC wasn’t perfect, far from it. But it’s ideals were good. Maybe the subs model would have worked in time in a better financial market. We’ll sadly never know.

    I remain hopeful that Toxic will keep trying to get more comics into the magazine, especially if they’ve got the quality of the four I’ve highlighted above.

  4. Lew Stringer says:

    Thanks for the kind words and for plugging the comic! Regarding the “lifestyle mag” aspect of Toxic, this perhaps isn’t as recent a concept as we might think. Ok, the term “lifestyle mag” itself is fairly new, but a comic/magazine featuring contemporary items of interest to boys is surely as old as the 1972 mag TARGET and, dare I suggest, the 1950 EAGLE? Is Toxic’s games cheats page not just a modern version of Eagle’s stamp collector’s page?

    As for gifts bagged/stuck to the covers of modern comics: yes, they’re a complete pain. It’s difficult to find a good condition copy of The Beano now for example because the weight of the cover mount is often too heavy for the flimsy new paper to keep the comic from creasing. Unfortunately those gifts are a necessity of childrens comics now due to requirements by supermarket retail giants and to compete with rival comics.

    Regarding the sparse amount given to comic strips in Toxic, this is due to the allocated budget unfortunately. We’d all like to see more strips in there, including the readers, but with comics selling a tenth of what they did 40 years ago it’s not feasible at present.

    Anyway, let’s hope that a positive reaction to CRAZY COMICS inspires Egmont to do more!

  5. Richard says:

    Ladies & Gentlemen; Mr Lew Stringer. Far better at this thinking about comics stuff than I is right now!

    Hi Lew. Yes, I am completely wrong about the idea of a “lifestyle” mag. It’s been around for ages, you’re completely right. Still hate the branding though.

    I’m going to drink till my brain starts working better.

  6. Lew Stringer says:

    Agree with you regarding the terminology “lifestyle magazine” Richard. It’s so pretentious.

    By the way, as you probably already know, in other countries Egmont have a good line of comics. On my last trip to Norway (albeit 6 years ago) I noted about 30 different titles. Ok, some were reprint, but many were new. Hopefully, with Crazy Comics and the upcoming Egmont reprint specials, perhaps Egmont UK will give comics more priority. It’s not a guarantee, what with the recession, but they own so many great characters that are just sitting in limbo that it’s a crime not to revive or revamp them.

  7. Garen says:

    I know I’m biased, but I have to say I’m massively surprised and delighted at the support Egmont is giving The Rainbow Orchid. I really think they’re going out on a limb publishing a brand new work in book form (despite, perhaps, a bit of a safety factor in its relation to their other ‘graphic novel’, Tintin). Great support for new comics. – Garen (rather biased on this matter).

  8. Lew Stringer says:

    The Rainbow Orchid should do well Garen. As it has a very Euro feel I presume Egmont will be releasing foreign editions too?

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