Saturday, 4 December 2010

Happy 73rd to The Dandy!

Today, I'm going to celebrate the anniversary on one of Britain's most famous comic, The Dandy. The first ever issue of The Dandy was first published and at the shops on December 4th 1937 - and at the time, it was called The Dandy Comic and the star of the comic was Korky the Cat (who was in the front cover), and they had so many memorable strips like Desperate Dan, Keyhole Kate, Hungry Horace, Freddie the Fearless Fly, etc. They also had text stories in it, with comics but done in text with no word bubbles, and often written with serious narrative. I don't have the first issue of the Dandy, because it's so rare to find and there's only about 12 copies that are in existence, and plus: mint condition copies like these are like £4,500 each, not 2 pence or 2 shillings!

The Dandy no. 1 - the first ever Dandy!

I really like the comics of The Dandy (mainly in the early '90s), and I always thought it was very entertaining, and there wasn't a lot of comic strips with menacing characters like in The Beano like Dennis the Menace, The Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx or Ivy the Terrible; but there were great characters in there and they had great personalities; and I often enjoyed the puns very much; and the stories are just brilliant and they inspire me to write and draw comics, (even The Beano), although I do prefer the Beano than The Dandy probably because of the menacing characters, but The Dandy did have a few menacing characters like Dinah Mo, Dirty Dick, Cuddles and Dimples, and Growing Paynes (Percy Paynes). The Dandy is even the world's longest continuously publishing comic EVER! 

Probably the most famous cartoon strip of the comic all those years is probably, Desperate Dan, and he was a cowboy who lived in the settlement "Cactusville", and he was known to be the strongest man or cowboy alive, he was "strong as a bull", and often having him really strong comes in handy for people, but at times he can be "too tough". His favourite food is "cow pie", and he's very fond of eating it, and over the years, Desperate Dan is seen eating cow pies; and when I used to read him and he's eating it; I always thought that cow pie looked delicious; although in 2004 when The Dandy was more updated and a new look, Dan seemed to have stopped eating cow pies, probably because of the mad cow disease that year. He first appeared in The Dandy way back in issue no. 1, and he was a rather tough-looking fellow and hard and very menace looking! However, as Dan has been in the Dandy though the years, he didn't become too menace looking, and was often sometimes a fool and mainly a town hero. He lived with her aunt named Aunt Aggie, who cooked his cow pies. Dan had two nephews named Katie and Danny. Desperate Dan is still in the Dandy, and he's still going strong.

Here is Desperate Dan in his first ever appearance of The Dandy (I don't own that copy, so rare to find)

Korky the Cat was the first cover star of the first ever Dandy drawn originally by James Crichton, and taken over by various artists, and even today is still in the comic, and is still going strong, and he didn't much of a personality; but he was a rather wise character; and often made mistakes; and in early strips of Korky, at times he was caught and was taught a lesson in a bad way. However, in the 1980's and 1990's, he was taken over by an artist named Robert Nixon who also drew for The Beano (the sister comic), and he was still drawing Korky, but with a new title called "Korky and the Kits", and the stories mainly showed Korky and he was three nephews living with him called "Nip", "Lip", and "Rrip", and at times the kits do nothing but cause trouble; or do wrong stuff when Korky tells them not to and regret it; and even they get on with their uncle Korky. Korky the Cat had quietly retired from the comic in 2006, but he very recently returned to the comic in October 2010 and is now drawn by Phil Corbett. 

However, probably the most famous text-strip on the Dandy is Black Bob, who is a sheepdog who rescues people when they are in danger, but he didn't come on the Dandy until 1944, and lasted for forty years, when the text ended in 1984. 

Although, in 2004 The Dandy was given a complete new look and a new design, with new characters; and it was even given a motto: THE DANDY: Can you handle it? I don't really like the new style probably because that it's so crude and even the humour has changed; from the years and before 2004; the Dandy had classic puns and the characters were great; but when it was given a new look the humour sort of changed into like American jokes, the jokes were similar to something you'd see on Cartoon Network, and I preferred the Dandy as it was before. I guess the reason why it changed is because that sales were declining and kids were more interested in the humour of The Simpsons, The Naked Gun, or stuff like Sonic the Hedgehog, and they wanted to follow that routine, but in my opinion; I thought it declined a lot. They even removed Desperate Dan as the star, and the new star was some 10-year old chav named "Jak" who used to be in the Dandy several times, and has blonde spiky hair and was like another Dennis the Menace, but not popular! They basically added an unpopular before character as the main star, what's the point?!

The new Dandy look - known as the "Glossy" era.

As the Dandy is now 73 years old; although I do not have an issue where they celebrated 70 years, but I do have a copy of an issue of the Dandy in 1997 where they celebrated their 60th birthday; and I scanned a few pages of it, and I scanned a few comic strips of Desperate Dan.

Here is the 60th anniversaty of the Dandy pages: (I only scanned two, and one page of Korky and the Kits)
 The front page of the 60th anniversary of the Dandy. Issue no. 2924 - dated December 6th 1997
 A section of old strips back in 1937. I tried to scan the rest, but I had struggles!
Korky and the Kits at the back cover!

Here are a few Desperate Dan strips from 1993.

Here is issue no. 2684 - dated May 8th 1993

The Dandy - issue no. 2669 - dated January 16th 1993.

The Dandy - issue no. 2678 - dated Match 20th 1993.

That's it for me to say - it's a great comic, and to those who's overlooked it or never heard of it, or is interested, I suggest you read the comics if you can find old ones - I recommend it!


Peter Gray said...

I agree with you about Jak..not one of my favourites..

Did you like Tom Patersons work..on Hyde and Shriek..Duane Brain..he is one of my top 3 of the best..

I've put you in my follow list..

Steven Hartley said...

Yes, Tom Paterson is a brilliant artist, I love his caricature in his drawings and I love how much details he puts in his backgrounds like a smelly sock, or a pair of underpants saying, "RETURN TO COL. POOPER WHEN NOT IN USE", very funny.

Probably my favourite Paterson strip is Calamity James; it's so hilarious and I love the details in it - I might post some Calamity James stuff soon.

Stay tuned ;).

Eric Noble said...

Happy 73rd to the Dandy!! I like what you post here. You give me a feeling for some of the British humor comics.

Steven Hartley said...

Yes, I often prefer British humour; probably because I understand the humour more, as I'm British.

Anonymous said...

See that cover with Jak on there? That's from the 2004 revamp, and the comic has changed massively twice since, in August 2007 and in October 2010. The current Dandy has strips such as Mr Meecher, Pepperoni Pig and George vs Dragon so that Jak cover is'nt from the "new look" at all, in fact, it's a very old look now. However, i'm hoping to get some Dandys from that era for Christmas, reason being i've never seen one issue. I have the 2006, 2007 and 2008 annuals but they don't have Tootuff, Tony & Alberto, Office Hours or The Eggs Files in them.

Steven Hartley said...

As for me - I only really care about Dandy comics from the late 1980's and the early 90's, but I do enjoy some early 2000 ones.

I'm like that with the Beano - I only care about the ones before 2000, and between 1985. Good luck with those Dandys you'll be getting - I don't purchase comics anymore, since the secondhand bookshop that used to sell them are not available anymore, and that I've grown out of them.