The Dandy, the UK’s oldest children’s comic is mirroring it’s best loved character Desperate Dan, the cow-pie eating cowboy, as it desperately tries to avoid closure after 75 years.
In it’s pomp and glory between the 1950s and 1980s, the Dandy sold 2 million copies a week as readers followed the fortunes of Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat. The Dandy has experienced a steep circulation decline since then as successive generations of kids have evolved in their leisure habits and activities watching TV, playing video games and more recently surfing the internet and engaging with social media like Facebook..
In fairness The Dandy has outlived it’s comic rivals like the Beezer and the Topper by 20 years or more, but despite several facelifts and relaunches in the past five years including a switch to a fortnightly called Dandy Xtreme, and most recently a move in 2010 to introduce celebrity-themed comic strips featuring the likes of Harry Hill and Cheryl Cole, Desperate Dan and Dandy have not been able to put the brakes on its circulation decline.
By last year, circulation had dropped below 8,000 and the The Dandy is expected to be terminated sooner rather than later. Publisher DC Thomson confirmed that the closure of the printed version of The Dandy was “being considered as part of a review of the company’s magazine business”, but suggested that characters such as Desperate Dan would continue to exist online. It’s not all doom and gloom as Desperate Dan and some of his friends could also continue in print by switching to DC Thomson’s sister title the Beano, home to Dennis the Menace. The Beano had a circulation of 38,000 in six months to the end of December.
The Dandy first went on sale in 1937 costing 2p, with a free whistle. The Cartoon Museum in London is preparing an exhibition celebrating the 75th anniversary, which will open in October 2012. An anniversary edition book called The Art and History of The Dandy is already available for sale, and earlier this year Royal Mail released a collection of stamps commemorating Britain’s best-loved comic characters including Desperate Dan and Dennis the Menace.
But Desperate Dan is an institution and as such there was a national outcry when Dan, immortalised as an 8ft bronze statue in DC Thomson’s home town of Dundee, was briefly “retired” in a storyline involving the Spice Girls in 1997. Well as of the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, the Spice Girls are back, so I wouldn’t write off Desperate Dan quite yet!! I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this loveable rascal!!
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This might help you……How about this for an Ultimate Top Ten Comics –
3) The Dandy
4) The Beano
8 ) Valiant
10) Roy of the Rovers
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