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The Dandy (originally known more specifically as The Dandy Comic, and also known for a period as The Dandy Xtreme) is a weekly comic that has been published by DC Thomson since 1937. It came to an end as a print comic in December 2012, but continues online.

HistoryEdit

DandyIssue1

The Dandy's very first issue.

Dandy3348

Cover of the January 28 2006 issue of The Dandy, following the 2004 revamp.

Original guiseEdit

Having experimented with including short comic strips in their story papers, and successfully launched the "Fun Section" of the Sunday Post in 1936, DC Thomson launched their first weekly comic, The Dandy, in December 1937, inaugurating what is generally seen as the "golden age" of British comics. Although it followed the customary format of British comics of the day, combining humor strips, adventure strips and prose stories, The Dandy abandoned the customary, and usually redundant, text narration that accompanied most British comic strips at that time, and told stories largely in pictures and dialogue. Its social politics were more contemporary than its rivals, reflecting the inequalities of 1930s society.[1]

Overseen by managing editor R. D. Low, The Dandy was edited from its launch by Albert Barnes, who held the position until his retirement in 1982.[2] Its cover star was "Korky the Cat", drawn by Jimmy Crighton. The other opening strips included "Desperate Dan", drawn by Dudley D. Watkins, and "Hungry Horace", drawn by Allan Morley. During the war, paper shortages pushed it into a fortnightly schedule, released on alternating weeks with The Beano.[3]

Other well-known strips include "Black Bob" (1944-82), originally drawn by Jack Prout; "Winker Watson" (1961-2007), originally drawn by Eric Roberts, and "Bully Beef and Chips" (1967-2010), originally drawn by Jimmy Hughes. David Torrie took over as editor in 1982.[2] "Desperate Dan" replaced "Korky the Cat" on the cover in 1984.[4] It absorbed Nutty in 1985, bringing characters like "Bananaman" then Hoot in 1986, whose star "Cuddles" was combined with The Dandy's "Dimples" into a new strip, "Cuddles and Dimples". "Beryl the Peril", formerly of The Topper, was co-opted into The Dandy in 1993.

For a period in 1999 "Cuddles & Dimples" replaced Desperate Dan as the cover star. A later format saw Dan's strip appearing on the front, while an image another character from the comic alongside - for example, issue 3216 had "Ollie Fliptrick" dominating the cover, while issue 3220 used "Blinky".

21st century redesigns begin...Edit

In 2004 the comic was given an overhaul,[5] with a trendy new look influenced by the likes of Cartoon Network and anime. There was no longer a fixed cover star: already by this time Desperate Dan was occasionally shifted off the cover spot by the likes of Cuddles and Dimples and Bananaman,[6] but now he would also compete for prime place with low-trousered sprog Jak, who generally emerged as the comic's face during this period.

Dandyxtreme3493

Cover of the March 27 2010 issue of The Dandy Xtreme, depicting characters from the DreamWorks animated film How to Train your Dragon.

The Dandy XtremeEdit

In 2007 it was rebranded as the comic-cum-magazine The Dandy Xtreme[7]. This change occured with issue 3426; the chief distinction between The Dandy and The Dandy Xtreme (aside from the shift from weekly to fortnightly publication) is that the Xtreme version had a greater emphasis on magazine-style features such as video game coverage, competitions and guides to making fake poo.[8] This approach was particularly apparent early on in Xtreme's existence: in the first issue the comics were relegated to a 16-page pull-out, the remaining 20 pages of the publication being a kids' magazine.[9] This format was dropped later, with comics and mag features being interspersed throughout the whole thing. New strips introduced during the Xtreme period include "The Bogies", based on a collectable toy, and "Doctor Loo".

The approach to cover stars also changed when the comic became Xtreme: the first issue featured not Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat or even Jak as the centrepiece on the front, but Bart Simpson, as the issue covered The Simpsons Movie. Later issues have picked the likes of Lara Croft, Sonic the Hedgehog and Anakin Skywalker as their cover stars.

Just plain Dandy againEdit

Dandy3508

Issue 3508, the first of the post-Xtreme era.

In October 2010, with issue 3508, the Xtreme name and magazine format were discarded, and the publication became a weekly comic again. The strips were given an overhaul: "Desperate Dan", now drawn by Jamie Smart, "Korky the Cat", "Bananaman" and "The Bogies" all remained in one form or another (with "Doctor Loo" returning a few weeks later) but were joined by a wealth of new strips. "Harry Hill's Real-Life Adventures in TV Land" became the flagship title with its central character - a cartoon version of the comedian Harry Hill - serving as cover star (although, again, this was something of a revolving spot - some weeks saw Desperate Dan or Bananaman replace him)

This new Dandy paid tribute to its heritage, however, with decades-old strips "Harry and his Hippo" and Sparky's "Thingummy Blob" later being brought out of retirement and Greedy Pigg and Bully Beef returning for cameo appearances.

The digital DandyEdit

The last revamp did not improve sales, which were stuck around the 8,000 a week mark, and at the end of 2012, on its 75th anniversary, The Dandy was cancelled as a print publication, and relaunched in a new online format, combining limited animation with a traditional panels-and-balloons format.

This incarnation of the comic features the established cast - including Desperate Dan, Bananaman, Blinky and Brassneck - along with some new spins on lesser-used characters. The Numskulls were imported from The Beano, with Jamie Smart providing art; Keyhole Kate was reinvented as a schoolgirl detective; and "Retro Active" repackaged old superhero characters such as The Amazing Mr. X.

At the time of writing the digital Dandy is on hiatus and its future is unclear. Although it was reported cancelled,[10] DC Thomson issued a statement that it is not necessarily gone for good.[11]

In addition, Dandy annuals are set to continue for the forseeable future.

FeaturesEdit

(Partial listing)

ReferencesEdit

  1. James Chapman, British Comics: A Cultural History, Reaktion Books, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jeremy Briggs, The Beano, The Dandy and the Nazi death list, Bear Alley, 15 September 2010
  3. Ultimate Book of British Comics p. 97
  4. http://www.comicvine.com/desperate-dan/29-21479/
  5. Ultimate Book of British Comics p. 101-102
  6. Ultimate Book of British Comics p. 100-101
  7. Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics: Extreme Reactions to Dandy Xtreme [1]
  8. The Dandy Xtreme no. 3479
  9. Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics: Extreme Reactions to Dandy Xtreme [2]
  10. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/comics/news/a495682/the-dandy-digital-edition-cancelled.html
  11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-23183603

Official websitesEdit

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