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The Phoenix – Issue 13

March 31, 2012

The Phoenix Comic - Issue 13

The Phoenix Comic - Issue 13

It’s been a while since my last Phoenix post – I’ve been intending to go back to reviewing the issues for a while now but things keep on getting in the way. What I can promise you are reviews of Issue 13, 14 and 15 which will be released during the Easter Holidays. 

Of course, just because I stopped reviewing the comic, doesn’t mean I don’t like it any more. If I’m totally honest, The Phoenix is actually my favourite comic out there now – sweeping past The Dandy by a milestone. The content, the artwork, the detail and the detail put into every issue is astounding. 

This week’s issue was of no exception to the continuing beauty of this comic. The comic is experiencing some turbulence at the moment with that darn owl, Barnaby Knowles up to no good – creating widespread chaos throughout the comic – hypnotising the staff, taking over as editor, taking over Big News, Little News, Fanfare and How to Make Awesome Comics – somebody stop him quickly! Hurry Inspector Inspector, Chops Piggerton and Iris Bloodhound – the fate of The Phoenix is in your hands!

It’s a really exciting storyline – incredibly keeping me gripped despite not actually being a comic strip – it’s one of the things that makes The Phoenix so unique! Plus I don’t think I’ve ever seen as brilliant staff characters as the ones Matt Baxter draws. Absolutely fantastic.

Exciting news this week for me, the return of my favourite canine detective duo, Bergman and McBoo in all-new Good Dog, Bad Dog by Dave Shelton! Originally from The DFC, Good Dog, Bad Dog had three separate adventures in the past comic – my favourite being the Christmas Special which honestly had the most beautiful story I have ever read. I’m so happy to see it back!

Good Dog, Bad Dog

Good Dog, Bad Dog - THEY'RE BACK!

But what’s the content I hear you chant – well, actually I can’t hear you – but just go along with it…

PG 1: Front Cover (starring Captain Ford from Pirates of Pangaea) – Neill Cameron

– Wow. Just wow. Such an amazing image – possibly my favourite one yet. GOOD

PG 2: Welcome! (Are you ready for Barnaby time?) (with illustrations by Matt Baxter)

– Very exciting – Matt’s illustrations are perfect accompanied with the brilliant writing. Especially like ‘The Hare-larious Boxer and Spring Thing this week. GOOD

PG 3: The Pirates of Pangaea – Neill Cameron and Daniel Hartwell

– Not too much happened and the pace is fairly slow – but the story itself has been fantastic so far. Daniel and Neill should be proud! GOOD

PG 7: The Big Knowles (The Big News) (with illustrations by Matt Baxter)/Planet of the Shapes – Ricardo Tangle

– The Big Knowles page was a clever idea with a load of waffle about Barnaby which made the whole thing funnier yet more exciting at the same time. Planet of the Shapes was once again bloomin’ fantastic as well! GOOD

PG 8: Bunny VS. Monkey – Jamie Smart

– Bunny VS. Monkey was beautifully done, the trees liked magnificent and the strip was full of Jamie Smart humour and craziness. Possibly my favourite yet! Then again, Issue 11’s was also brilliant! GOOD

PG 10: Tale Feathers: Goblins – Philip Reeve

– I haven’t actually read this yet – I usually read these when in bed where I’m most comfortable. But the fact it’s by Philip Reeve makes it look promising.

PG 12: Cogg and Sprokit – Jamie Littler

– What an incredible story to replace Long Gone Don – both are brilliant in their own ways. Jamie’s artwork is astounding, his writing is exciting and his humour is funny. Plus, the cliffhangers are fantastic! GOOD

PG 15: Corpse Talk – Adam Murphy

– An interesting story once again, this time about Marie Antoinette. What I love about these pages is that I learn a bit of history whilst enjoying reading the story. Adam’s on to a winner with this ‘un! GOOD 

PG 16: What Will Happen Next?! – Patrice Aggs

– Except here it’s named, ‘Blimpville’ – a bit confusing… I love it when things start happening in the pages and then the pages come to life. This one’s even crazier than the School Open Day! GOOD

PG 18: How To Make Awesome Comics (How to Draw… Barnaby Knowles!) – Matt Baxter

– Ooh! That evil villain – Matt’s done an amazing job at making him pure evil – fantastic artwork as well, not really too much help on how to draw him though – but then again, that was probably intentional. GOOD

PG 19: Fanfare (with illustrations by Matt Baxter)

– More Barnaby take-over! I’m very curious about this page – what I’m wondering is whether readers (except for Narney Bowles) actually sent the pictures in or whether they’re all made up…. Hmm…. GOOD

PG 20: The Lost Boy – Kate Brown 

– Oh boy! Now it’s really starting to get into its stride and *gulp!* those final few panels are straight from a nightmare! Fantastically done, Kate! GOOD

PG 22: Feature Length: Gary’s Garden – Gary Northfield

– Ah! Gary’s Garden – now there’s a sight for sore eyes! Welcome back! A fantastic story this time around with some great references back to the Chompy story in Issue 5! The worm/caterpillar bit made me chuckle – nice one, Gary! GOOD

PG 26: The Little News (with illustrations by Matt Baxter)/Lucie – Simone Lia

– Possibly the weakest page in the comic this week – the interview was quite dull, certainly not as interesting as the interviews with the artists. Plus Lucie was pretty boring – all that long build-up for a stupid joke like that. Such a shame. AVERAGE

PG 27: Good Dog, Bad Dog – Dave Shelton NEW!

– Straight from the DFC, Bergman and McBoo are back! Hurrah! So happy to see them back – maybe this means we’ll see more of the other DFC favourites? Fish-Head Steve? Bodkin and the Bear? The Adventures of John Blake? Violet? The Boss? Mo-Bot High? The prince of Baghdad? Frontier? Monkey Nuts? Oh boy, I sure hope so! The story this week was fantastic too with a good introduction that really gets you in the mood. GOOD

PG 30: The Dangerous Adventures of Von Doogan – Lorenzo Etherington

– I haven’t actually read/cracked this one yet. The amount of words puts me off of it immediately. I would like to see Von Doogan end shortly though – or at least not on page 30 – the comic doesn’t really end on a very exciting page. AVERAGE

PG 31: Elsewhere – Chris Riddell/Next Week in Your Phoenix! – Matt Baxter

– This week’s Elsewhere was just as strange as the rest of them but was still quite good – I don’t really understand the concept of it though… Next Week looks interesting, there’s nothing there! Just an amazing illustration by Matt Baxter – Matt must do so many pictures for the Phoenix! GOOD

PG 32: Phoenix Subscription Page

-They still have Issue 8 and 9 round the wrong way! This page looks so neat and actually works nicely on the back. GOOD

Issue 13 Taster

A little taster of what's in this brilliant issue!

In order of worst to best, here’s my opinion on the comic strips:

1. Gary’s Garden

2. Good Dog, Bad Dog

3. Cogg and Sprokit

4. The Lost Boy

5. Bunny VS. Monkey

6. Planet of the Shapes

7. Corpse Talk

8. The Pirates of Pangaea

9. Elsewhere

10. Lucie

Sadly, Star Cat was absent this week as the first series has ended. *sob* But at least the crew of the Star Cat and Lone Gone Don will both be returning soon!

This week’s issue was as brilliant as always, I strongly suggest you get down to your nearest Waitrose store and pay your £2.99 to grab a copy before they’re all gone! Alternatively, why not subscribe?

The Phoenix, Issue 13 of The Weekly Story Comic is out now with 32 pages for £2.99 – totally worth it!

That’s all for now, folks!

– Harry Rickard

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2012 21:10

    I got the DFC Library book of The Boss the other day and would love to see him come back! Mind you the “we never take any risks!” angle is played up a little too much, generic “Thingy Book for Boys” annuals from the 50’s never needed that!

    • April 6, 2012 09:36

      It was a great series during it’s one story in the DFC – I would really like to see it back. I think I liked it as it felt like something I wanted to happen at my school – these are usually the best stories, ones that the reader wishes to be a part of.

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