Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SCAS - what shall we do now?

Hello Super Comics Adventure Squad!

As you know, the SCAS blog was started as a place to keep alive the creative spirit and camaraderie that was instigated by The DFC upon the news of its then-imminent demise.

The blog has been a fantastic fountain of British comics goodness since then, especially in its first year, though, perhaps not surprisingly, it has dwindled somewhat in past few months (largely kept alive by those magnificent Etheringtons!).

So, with the arrival of The Phoenix - for all intents and purposes a re-birth of The DFC - I have a question for you and some related possibilities …

Should The Super Comics Adventure Squad keep going?

Here are some options:

1) We close it down but keep it online as an archive that can no longer be posted to. This is probably better than it limping along with just a monthly post from one or two creators - no new audience will come for that and the effort of posting will outweigh the return in readers, who will diminish. It was good, but things move on - that's okay!

2) We keep it as it is and try to encourage more people to post their news and drawings and see if we can kick some life back into it. I think this may work for a short while, but I don't know how sustainable it is.

3) We revamp and redecorate and connect ourselves more closely with The Phoenix, including inviting new creators that will see their work in the comic. The good thing about this is that it will bring the blog back to life probably for a longer period than option 2; the other side of the coin, however, is that there may not be a need for the blog with The Phoenix being a living thing with its own site as a point of focus.

4) Never mind The Phoenix - we open it up to any UK comics creator and it becomes a central blog/hub for ALL UK comics creators to highlight their news and post sketches and stuff. This might get a bit manic (if it works) or it might die an even more dramatic death (if it doesn't)!

What do you think? Please post your thoughts in the comments and we'll see what the consensus is (readers as well as creators, let us know what you think). 

Thanks very much for reading this, and for all your support now and in the past :-)

Best wishes -
Garen (SCAS blog admin)

PS - no apologies or feeling guilty for not posting allowed - we're all busy with stuff and have our own blogs and social networks to take care of - it's okay! :-)


  1. I think option 3 is the best hope of keeping this space alive and interesting, as it could allow creators to have a central place to share sneek-peaks of their work for the Phoenix. It all depends upon peeps posting of course!

    Otherwise, I think option 1 is cool, as you say, this site bridged the gap between the DFC and the Phoenix, and perhaps it's only right that we close it off as a time capsule for that period to be viewed but not added to...


  2. One thing that I think has had a bearing on SCAS posts is Twitter - a lot of comic creators have taken to it in the past two years; it's instant and very interactive and cross-promotional. It's difficult to juggle all these outlets.

  3. Yeah, I think you're right. I guess if there's a lack of responses in here then we can assume that option One is the one to go with!!


  4. I'd say options 1 and 3. Mothball this one, stick it on a shelf to gather dust until the comics historians need to take a look in centuries to come. Start up a new Phoenix-centred fella (even if it looks pretty much exactly like this one but starting on a blank page) where the old DFCers and the new bods can mingle on equal terms.

  5. I agree with Dave. Ending the whole thing would be sad as although the Phoenix will have all sorts of wonderful blogginess going on it will not necessarily be relevant to DFC people. I am not scheduled to have a strip in Phoenix (was, but not now) but love this new british comics communication. Option 4 may not work as it becomes too much of all things to everyone and would inevitably loop in stuff that is too US centric.
    twitter is a strange beast. Although there is all the chat and self promotion it is too instant. If you miss it in the moment its kinda gone. A blog is more like a magazine. You can ponder at your leisure.

  6. That said we definitely need something that is going to get some traffic. Maybe we are missing a trick here and there is something already ut there that we can piggy back onto OR we set up something that is very definitely DFC, Phoenix, Beano, Dandy etc and shout about it

  7. Ummm... arrrghh... gosh, I just don't know. It's a very good question, but I have absolutely no idea what the best option is.

    I would definitely be sorry to see it go, and would like to see it rejevenated / redecorated, and to spur lapsed contibutors (hands up, red face) to posting more often again. But as to what the exact membership criteria ought to be... I have no idea. I'd say everyone who was in the DFC *and* everyone who is in the Phoenix and I'd be tempted to widen it out to Beano and Dandy folks too, as I think there's a lot of common ground there. People creating kids' comics in the UK.

  8. I'm liking the idea of a new blog that looks to the British children's comic scene - The Phoenix, The Beano, The Dandy and the various books and things that seems to be a growing area. Not from a nostalgia point of view, but directed at the current readers of those comics (whether kids or adults, but suitable for both), and by the creators of those comics. Is this something people have an interest in?

    Part of the initial idea for this blog was that creators would post little snippets and then a link to their own blogs for more details of the news (or whatever) - a kind of central hub, pick'n'mix that wouldn't be too much effort for the creators involved but would hopefully lead to slightly wider exposure and the feeling of a definite community/scene.

  9. Yeah, I think there are good points here. I like the idea of it being a uk-childrens-comic-creator theme. I think it's a great forum for us to all share and comment on each other's new work, releases, or just sketchbook stuff. I'm on board with whatever peeps decide to go with!


  10. I'm definitely interested Garen's last comment suggesting we morph this into a new blog that is about UK children's comic creation, NOW. What do children really like when it comes to comics...? They can only choose from what they encounter, so, can we, as relatively independent creators, introduce them to a far richer variety of choices and experiences? Can we interest them in a greater range of types of story, a greater range of artistic styles - a greater range of comic humours?

  11. Yep. What I said. ;-) Lets create THE site for snippets about UK comics and their creators but definitely aimed at children's/family entertainment rather than adolescent/adult sci-fi. Plenty of other places for that stuff. What will be unique about this is that it will be a hub for the actual creators to drop in their news, views and insights rather than just someone reporting about it.
    So. How and who to do it? Are you happy to do this Garen? you have done a bang up job so far :-) and if so do we stick with Blogger or go some other route? I guess it makes sense to stick with what we know but there are other options. And when this news site is set up I think we get it shouted about as much as possible in as many media news areas and social networks as possible. But my suggestion is we dont do the shouting until we have it as 'right' as possible

  12. I think we're reachin a consensus of some sort! One tiny thought, if we're redecorating / housekeeping - could we make it so the main blog area is a bit wider, to allow more space for images? I usually post stuff at about 600px wide (can't stand the blogger image hosting, it shrinks everything horribly).

  13. I'm just a reader here, but I like the idea of this being a place for current childrens\all ages comics to be talked about :) And although Pheonix is taking DFC's place, we still of course have the DFC library, and this would be a nice place to give updates to those books as they are released. I think it would be nice to transform the blog into something at least, as I have it attached to my blog after all, whatever you do with it I'll have my eye on it as long as it updates, as I'm sure is the same with other readers!

  14. I think it's a great idea to broad the blog out to cover, not just The Phoenix, but all-age friendly UK comics.
    As for how quiet it's been, I do think a lot of that is down to twitter. Perhaps it's possible to create a list on twitter and use a widget to list everything? Or have a list and use a hashtag for art/news to keep it from getting to clogged? Most people here tweet quite a bit so it would help keep it fresh?

  15. Hmm, yeah - trouble with a twitter widget type thing is similar to the problems I ran into when I set up that InstaPaper thing, which is that obviously we all tend to tweet a lot, about a lot of things, not all of which are necessarily related to comics (or indeed, remotely all-ages appropriate). As you suggest, we could maybe use some hash tag to denote SCAS-appropriate tweets, but heaven knows whether we'd all remember.

    I think manually blogging here with links to our own blogs and sites is, as it was when we started, a good and useful and workable idea - just have to remember to actually do it! But hopefully the revamp / the launch of the Phoenix

  16. Hmm, that cut me off in mid ramble. As I was saying:

    ... combined with a bit of an influx of new blood will spur us into posting here more often and trying some new things!

  17. Neill - Yeah, reckon you're right.

  18. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts on all this - some great stuff. It does seem as though Andrew's idea of expanding things to encompass the wider remit of British children's comics has potential, and I personally like that idea very much.

    The only thing that worries me is it needs to have a good variety of contributors to sustain it as a living, breathing thing, and the response to this post (and the email) has been pretty limited. I don't blame anyone for this - busy times! I waited until I'd finished a big batch of work before I got round to posting this - and we should (and will) give it more time.

    To answer a couple of specific points: I'm happy to carry on with the administration of such a blog, but for that reason it has to be able to carry itself to a large degree - hence the need for contributors to keep posting (I did do a couple of posts on this blog where I pointed to news of various DFCers, but quickly realised that could be a part-time job in itself).

    As for the platform, the great thing about Blogspot is its ease to set up and administrate. With that ease comes limitations, of course. It would be great to set up a fully functional website chock-full of info, biogs and the central blog, but as I say - very time consuming.

    I really want to promote British comics as a scene that has worth - which it does. When people say 'comics' most people still think of American comics, and the other big markets are manga and European - Cinebook have been one of the highest profile new UK publishers recently, though they reprint comics from the European mainland. With that in mind, about a year ago I bought a domain and quickly put up a holding page for a project that I'm still thinking about - have a look:

    It was/is basically going to be a database-driven site of books, creators and publishers. Anyway, that may be something different entirely, but I thought I'd mention it. Maybe I should concentrate on that instead and we should put the blog idea to bed. Or maybe a simple UK creators blog could be attached to this potential UK gn project.

    The important thing is - most of our time needs to go towards actually *making* comics! :-)

  19. Hi Garen. All great stuff. Couple of things;
    Response has been low probably because people are being asked for something , Often they sit back and wait and see. If this thing is created and offers something to all our wonderful fellow creators my feeling is that they will be more than happy to jump on board.
    Like you say, Blogspot works and is as versatile as you like so might as well stick with it.
    I like your new GN site but I guess its a slightly different thing to what we are talking about. There will inevitably be adult material on there and its GN based rather than comics. That said they will be linked to each other.
    Seems like what we are going to end up with is this SCAS blog but expanded out to new creators, redesigned and then promoted ruthlessly :-)

  20. Good points, Andrew. "Build it and they will come" does seem to be a truism. I'm still not quite sure about whether to invest my time in it yet, though ... As for the GN database thing, you're right on that as well - it's a different beast and let's not get distracted from the main idea of this blog - so ignore that for now!

  21. I'd go for option 1 or 4. Those of us not in The Phoenix wouldn't be able to be part of option 3. Not that I post much anyway!

  22. Cheers, Jason. I think there is a general consensus that this blog will end - it has done its job of keeping The DFC flame alive until The Phoenix came along - and that any new blog had best be limited in some way, probably to UK children's comics, a worthy cause. I think the next thing to do is to see if there is interest in that. I may send some emails out. Any thoughts most welcome!

  23. Thanks for the heads up Garen.

    I'm not making much in the way of comics these days, but I do still love the things. The kind of UK Kids' Comics-centric blog you've discussed would be an instant bookmark, that's for sure...

  24. Cheers for the input, Mr. Evergreen :-)

  25. Sorry, I'm so late to the discussion. I'm really not sure what would be the best option but I'm leaning towards starting up something fresh and new.

    Opening up to cover UK comics in general means there would be more content and keep things moving along but could also lack the focus that centering on children's comics only would have.

    If there's a fresh start, it might be best to offer something additional to what the official sites of those comics provide already. Also, would it be a blog for children to come and look at or more for parents and kid's comic enthusiasts to get news and information, or both?

    Not sure I'm all that qualified to comment much on blogging, I've neglected to update my own for a deeply embarrassing amount of time...

  26. Hi Faz. :-)
    I think we do expand it out to comics, strips and creators other than DFC and PHOENIX but we keep it family friendly. All British, yes but not ALL British. i.e the blog is Brit content only as that is the flag we are waving but we are also waving a flag of quality and appropriateness. Some may see it as prudish but I think there are enough places for the inappropriate. Misogynistic violent sci-fi and fantasy is the domain of others. We are setting out a different stall. I think we are all about inspiring and authentic stories that fit a broad audience but will offend nobody.
    In terms of what we offer that is different to other blogs and sites is that it will not just report on content but that the 'articles' will be directly from the creators themselves. All in one tidy place with links to more info if possible. I dont think anywhere else offers that, does it?

  27. hey guys! Sorry for not being able to reply any faster. I realise I don't post here, but honestly I've had nothing to say since my lastest work has been very adult and I just didn't really feel like I could contribute anything :(

    I do like option 3 - my reasons for this is that we will have lots of new creators (some of whom will never have worked in comics before) and I think this will be a good way to give them a place to highlight themselves! With option 4, they could get swallowed up? And with 3, we still keep a semblance of what we set the blog up for, initially.

    Well... that's my thoughts, anyhow! I've not had a great chance to read through all the comments so it could be there's something decided already......... in which case, sorry for being useless again, haha!

    Kate x

  28. Hi, there! Sorry to jump in so late!

    I'm all for keeping things simple, perhaps just revamping the blog banner a bit so it brings in the Phoenix more prominently, but still keeps the DFC gang and yes, why not invite in the Beano and Dandy crowd, too? A UK blog focusing on comics for children would be a fabulous resource.

    If we had time to develop it, we could also have a link for each creator's workshop offerings, that would make for an even better package.

  29. I agree. So we just a have a revamp/relaunch :-)
    Might be relatively simple to use one of the other templates to be able to get a three column site so that there can be direct links on one side to all contributors otherwise the site is reeeeaaallly long and needs a lot of scrolling to see all the sidebar links.
    First thing would be to redesign the banner. And do we keep the same name? Seems to work although it is a little long. And maybe for the sake of a few quid we could register a URL Not essential but looks better.

  30. Thanks very much for your comments everyone - hugely appreciated! Decision time ... this blog will end (as per consensus) on 31 Dec 2011. It won't be deleted. I think that's the right decision given that The Phoenix is here as a new thing.

    I've thought hard about the proposed new blog and I've decided I won't set it up and/or be an admin. I've done my time on the SCAS blog, which was great (nay, brilliant), but if someone else feels they would like to get things going then that's fabulous - and I will be happy to contribute. For now I feel as though I have too many other things to concentrate on and I really don't need to add another major project - I'm a slow enough worker as it is!

    So with just a couple of weeks left to go on the Super Comics Adventure Squad blog - how about a post from as many of you as possible, if you're able, with a hint of what's coming from you in 2012?

  31. Presumably we dont necessarily need to nix this blog. Cant we just rename it and redesign it and archive all the existing posts. That would be the most simple way and aligns with Sarah's comments. That way we keep any followers. How many do we have?
    I am tempted to say that I am happy to take it on if no one else puts their hand up. I set up that original DFC creators blog all that time ago so I think I know how to do it :-/
    First things first. we need suggestions for the name of the new blog.

  32. And may I suggest that condition of membership is that members have a banner and link to it on their website/blog. We need to get this going as a community that drives traffic from all directions.

  33. Hi Andrew - if you think this blog should continue then I've no problem at all with that, but I did think most comments were in favour of a fresh start with something new. The advantage of that is that something new attracts more people - you get an initial explosion of interest that you might not get quite as strongly with a revamp of something that is, to be honest, limping along a bit. We had a great start to the SCAS - I even got it mentioned in The Bookseller :-) I also think it would be more attractive to potential contributors. I'm not pouring cold water on a revamp - it could work just as well, of course! A little effort goes a long way.

    It's great that you'd be willing to take on the admin, but saying you'd do it if no one else will doesn't sound massively enthusiastic - I hope you don't mind me saying that (and my apologies if you didn't mean it that way). It *can* be a big drain on time - the more effort that is put in to keeping it as a vibrant and useful thing, the better it will prosper - so it is (or can be) a commitment that is not necessarily an easy decision to jump into - so reluctance on the part of anyone is understandable! (And I haven't been able to put my time into it recently with the results you have seen - but as I say, no blame on anyone - myself or contributors - we all have our own priorities with work).

    To answer your queries: we currently have 51 Blogspot followers (5 on the LiveJournal syndication); our stats have gone from an initial flurry of almost 1000 hits a day in the first week to a rough average of 100 to 150 hits a day, gradually settling to about 50 hits a day in the past year to 6 months.

    I'll leave it at that for now - further comments and views welcome :-)

  34. Hi Andrew - I was going to send you an email but having a busy pre-Chrimbly rush! We'll get something sorted. Thanks very much for everything so far :-)


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