WHEN Oxford’s The DFC comic folded less than a year after it was created, young readers were devastated.

Now a new comic – aimed at improving literacy for reluctant young readers – is rising from the ashes.

Called The Phoenix, it is about to be launched and its publishers hope it will last a lot longer.

The DFC was produced by a team of artists and writers in the offices of publisher David Fickling, based in Beaumont Street, but the comic closed in 2009 due to the recession.

Just a few doors down, The Phoenix is now being produced and issue one is due out on January 7.

Managers have struck a deal with supermarket chain Waitrose for space on the shelves at selected stores and a mystery benefactor is guaranteeing production for a minimum of two years.

Managing director of The Phoenix is David Fickling’s wife Caro Fickling, who said: “Some of the artists working for The Phoenix also worked for The DFC but the new comic will contain all-new material, including the work of Oxford-based artists.

“Thanks to our benefactor we know that The Phoenix is going to be here for two years.

“The Phoenix will mainly be sold by subscription but we will also get some retail space in Waitrose.

“Waitrose has commissioned an issue zero for people who sign up by using a special code in Waitrose’s in-store magazine.”

Assistant editor Will Fickling said he hoped parents would use the comic as a tool to improve literacy for readers aged eight to 11.

He added: “I was a reluctant reader myself at first but I really started to enjoy it after discovering comic strips like Asterix and Tintin.

“We want children to think of The Phoenix as being something fun rather than a learning tool but we hope it helps improve their reading at the same time.”

Ross Fraser, marketing manager for The Phoenix, said: “We have confirmation of some retail space in selected Waitrose stores and we assume that will include Oxfordshire stores, as we are an Oxford-based company.

“Kids were devastated when The DFC closed so there will be lots of well-wishers for the new comic.”

The comic will be published weekly and will cost £2.99.

For further information regarding subscription, visit thephoenixcomic.co.uk