The Phoenix rises in America: A Q&A with David and Tom Fickling

The Phoenix, the laugh-out loud, informative, for all ages, adventure filled weekly comic based in the UK is coming to America! To celebrate its arrival on our shores, acclaimed editor and publisher, David Fickling and Editor-in-chief Tom Fickling talk with us about The Phoenix’s voyage to America and how it got to where it is today. Scroll down for our Q&A!

In your own words, what is The Phoenix?

Tom: The Phoenix is the weekly comic I wish I’d had when I was a kid. Full of amazing stories, interesting facts and characters and worlds that would stay with me for life. 

David:  Without doubt most exciting, enticing, enthralling introduction to reading stories available today. Flying with The Phoenix is reading with wings.

The Phoenix, of course, is the mythological bird that is reborn from its ashes. It’s also the amazingly illustrated bird that Chris Riddell illustrated for the 200th issue! What was it about this idea behind an independent weekly comic that propelled you to revive The Phoenix comic into what it is today? 

D: When I was growing up the experience of reading my favorite weekly comic was the highlight of my week. But great comics stopped being made as publishers started to spend more on the toys on the front of the comic than the stories inside and only publishing licensed content. The Phoenix is a place where brilliant new creators can share their amazing original ideas with the world. We are deeply passionate and committed to what they make and so pour their heart and souls into it. 

By the time you reach the 300th issue, you’ll be the first independent UK comic to do so in over 40 years. How does that feel? And what are your plans for the 300th issue!?

D: The Phoenix creates so much loyalty and love in its fans.  When I hear that Phoenix love now (we get loads of fan mail from children and parents alike) my heart is full to bursting. As for plans you’ll have to ask Tom. I’m waiting for issue 300 with baited breath like the other Phoenix-ers! 

T: It feels amazing! But we’re still very young and very much looking forward to publishing many more issues. We want The Phoenix to become culturally important like the other great names in comics. We are just now starting to get emails from parents of children who used to read The Phoenix who are now off to college and university telling us that The Phoenix has inspired them and had a real impact in their development. Obviously that’s amazing and why The Phoenix exists. For issue 300 we are unbelievably excited to publishing a new story called Tale of The Dragon Boy. This is illustrated by the amazing Neill Cameron and is a story invented by a Phoenix reader as part of a competition we ran this year. The winner, Orlando, is the hero of the story so we can’t wait for the readers to meet him! 

I know this may be a hard question, but of all the comics in the world, if you could be transported into one, which would it be? What kind of character would you turn yourself into? 

T: Spiderman every day of the week! 

D: For me I am never going to top that indescribable, insatiable curiosity and hunger to read more and more that I had as a nine-year-old when I read a comic called Boys World. So that’s the one.  But right now I’d love to sign on as a crewmember on the Mary Alice as she sails the seas of time with John Blake. 

How does it feel to be entering into the American market AND the digital world by launching The Phoenix Weekly Story Comic as digital editions this fall?

T: We are absolutely over the moon to be able to share The Phoenix with American readers! After 5 years of publishing from our tiny office in Oxford we have thousands of pages of amazing comics from amazing creators to share with new readers. And these digital editions of The Phoenix are just the start, as we also have some ridiculously awesome physical books coming out next year thanks to our partnership with the masters of all ages comics – Scholastic!

What’s next for The Phoenix?!

T: Another 300 issues! Plus loads more amazing serialized stories that will inspire children and get them reading. 

D: More! And even better! The Phoenix is rising! This is its time. There are so many new and exciting stories coming from all the amazing artists and writers we work with. We want The Phoenix to be like HBO or Pixar for kids. Every series is a MUST READ!