Dandy drops while Beano hangs on

Many of our older readers in the UK will give a nostalgic sigh as they see a BC news item that the printed edition of that venerable comic, The Dandy, will end with a special edition released on the comic’s 75th anniversary on 4 December.

desperate dan in dundee

One of the most celebrated characters was Desperate Dan, seen above as a statue in Dundee where the publisher, DC Thomson, is located. .

The Dandy, which launched in 1937, has featured characters such as Bananaman, Korky the Cat, Cuddles and Dimples, and Beryl the Peril, along with Desperate Dan.

Apparently the final print edition will not mark the end of characters like Desperate Dan. The publisher has “exciting” online plans given that print sales have slumped to 8,000 a week from a high of two million in the 50s.

“Dan has certainly not eaten his last cow pie. All of The Dandy’s characters are just 110 days away from a new lease of life.”

A book celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Dandy was launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this week and the comic will also feature in exhibitions at the National Library of Scotland and the Cartoon Museum.

beano and dandy comics

Meanwhile, The Beano, sister publication to The Dandy, is in better shape, with circulation above 38,000 last year. Unlike The Dandy, it hasn’t been withdrawn from the industry body, Audit Bureau of Circulation, but the figures are now going annual, so we have to wait six months to find out how it’s getting on.

eagle comic

The other now defunct comic that our readers may remember is Eagle. Perhaps it is best known for its star character, Dan Dare.

Eagle was a seminal British children’s comic, first published from 1950 to 1969, and then in a relaunched format from 1982 to 1994. It was founded by Marcus Morris, an Anglican vicar from Lancashire. Morris with artist Frank Hampson created a dummy comic based on Christian values. Morris hawked the idea to several Fleet Street publishers, with little success, until Hulton Press decided to take it on.

With the challenge that all print publications are facing as more and more reading is done via the Internet, perhaps it is not surprising to see these iconic publications disappear.  Nevertheless there will be many who grieve their departures.

Photo credits:
Desperate Dan statue in Dundee courtesy of leo_leibovici via photo pin cc
Beano comics courtesy of Matt From London via photo pin cc
Eagle comic courtesy of Robin Hutton via photo pin cc

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