Monday, 3 December 2012

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old comic paper,'The Dandy' and its cowboy called Desperate Dan

The kids' comic, 'The DANDY' is about to disappear from newsagent shelves and the final printed edition will be issued tomorrow on 4 December on its 75th anniversary, after sales have slumped to 8,000 a week from a high of two million a week and the World's biggest selling comic, when old men like me and Sir Paul McCartney were boys in the 1950s. It will, however, continue to be available online, but it won't be the same as the rustle of paper page.

The 70-year-old is starring alongside Desperate Dan and friends in next week's final print issue of The DandyIn a recent letter to the comic, Sir Paul said:
'The Dandy was a favourite comic of mine when growing up in Liverpool and each week I would look forward to the exploits of Desperate Dan... I feel a little sadness that I see its final issue is appearing in December'.

In February 1963, a month before The Beatles released their first LP Paul told music magazine NME that his personal ambition was : "To have my picture in The Dandy!" and in tomorrow's issue he appears alongside Desperate Dan where he will lead a sing-along with the comic’s most famous characters at a farewell party.
The Dandy’s print editor, Craig Graham, said: '"Sir Paul wrote a lovely letter to us, wishing 'The Dandy' well and hoping it wasn’t too late to make an appearance. How could we refuse?"

What you possibly didn't know about 'The Dandy', that :

* it was initially designed to compete not with other comics, but early American cinema cartoons such as 'Steamboat Willy'.

* differed from other comics with its use of speech balloons captions under the frame.

* it came out every week from its launch in 1937 until 1941, when paper shortages forced it to alternate weeks with sister title 'The Beano'.

* its former editor, Albert Barnes, designed Dan as 'the roughest, toughest cowboy. A man who can chew iron and spit rust' and Albert's own face was said to have provided the inspiration for Dan's large and jutting chin.

* over the decades it also provided a home for characters such as Beryl the Peril, Bananaman and Cuddles, who were adopted from defunct DC Thomson titles 'Nutty' and 'Hoot'.

*in The Second World War, in 1941, Desperate Dan became a wartime hero, sinking U-boats and bringing down enemy planes with a peashooter and Hitler and Göring were ridiculed in a strip called 'Addie and Hermy, The Nasty Nazis'.

* it caused an outcry among fans in 1997, when Desperate Dan was temporarily 'retired', following an edition in which he was shown sailing off into the sunset with the Spice Girls with DC Thomson, the publisher, later admitting this was a ruse to grab publicity for the comic's 60th anniversary.

* it had a revamp in 2010, with old favourites elbowed aside to make room for new celebrity-based comic strips, featuring Harry Hill, Cheryl Cole, Simon Cowell, Jamie Oliver and Jeremy Clarkson.

* its sales continued to fall and by the end of 2011 were down 50% and at the beginning of this year DC Thomson announced it would drop the print edition for good.

*  its remaining inky paper fans will be pleased to know there are still plans for a printed annual.

* Dan shared the cover of a first class postage stamp alongside the silhouette of the Queen this year to commemorate his 75th anniversary,

I gratefully acknowledge the work of the publisher D.C.Thompson in this posting.


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