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Friday, 17 August 2012

Desperate Dandy

Dan on the Dole
The Archive reported earlier this week that D C Thomson's famous Dandy comic was in trouble and likely to close. Now D C Thomson have released a press statement, part of which reads  -  "We will release a special edition of The Dandy to mark its 75th anniversary on 4 DEC 12.  This issue will be the last printed and will include a reprint of issue #1. There’s still a healthy appetite for The Dandy so we’re making it relevant for a new generation."

This is sad news indeed and something that would have been unbelievable only a few short years ago. The Dandy was one of those comics that seemed to have been around forever. Indeed in terms of the average length of a comic book title, 75 years is forever and the title has been a favourite with generation after generation. D C Thomson are not calling this the end but a new beginning given that the title is to move online - "There are exciting plans in the pipeline to take the title in a different direction & ensure that the next 75 yrs are just as popular."

No matter what spin is put on it,though it is an end and the closure of the title has even made the national press.  The Dandy, which cost tuppence when it was launched in 1937 with a free whistle, has recently included celebrities such as Harry Hill and Cheryl Cole in storylines as it battles to appeal to modern youngsters. Many people felt that this was a mistake as it took the Dandy away from the format that has made it so successful for so long. Also what self respecting kid would want to read strips featuring The Spice Girls and Jamie bloody Oliver? The Dandy should have stuck to what it did best and concentrate on classic tried and tested characters. I tend to agree with this myself - when I was a kid we got Korky the Cat or Desperate Dan on the cover, and now we get TV comedian, Harry Hill. That's just not so cool!

"Comics are where we first learned about pea shooters, mud pies and building forts in trees. They're one of the most exciting mediums around, and unrestrained by common sense or manners. Inside the pages of the best comics you will find pure, unbridled anarchy, running rampant through the world, telling hilarious stories with the naughtiest, silliest characters."  Jamie Smart, The Guardian

However this news has hit a nerve and many people are vowing to save the title, by provoking a rush of new sales for the comic. Anyone who cares about this great institution and ensuring it is around for future generations, should pick up a copy and try to force D C Thomson into a U-turn. Concerns are already mounting for the future of other iconic D C Thomson titles like, The Beano and the long running Commando comics, and it is feared that should the Dandy go then the other titles will not be far behind.

Dandy Days:

December 1937 Dundee-based publishing group DC Thompson launched the Dandy as a weekly comic aimed at boys and girls.

September 1941 Desperate Dan became a wartime hero in Britain, sinking German U-boats and fighting enemy plans with a peashooter. Wartime paper shortages force the Dandy to switch to fortnightly publication.

April 1950 The Dandy became the world's biggest-selling comic with a circulation of 2 million.

November 1997 Desperate Dan temporarily "retired" after he struck oil and sailed off with the Spice Girls. The news prompted an outcry from fans across the world, and DC Thompson later admitted it was a PR plot to coincide with the comic's 60th anniversary.

August 2012 DC Thompson announces plans to retire the Dandy.


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