The Dandy's Dan goes digital: After 75 years Britain's one-time favourite comic is replaced with online version
The Dandy, the world's third-longest-running comic magazine will switch to online publication on TuesdayThe comic, which launched in 1937, was once the nation's favourite and sold two million a weekRecent sales figures have slumped to around 8,000
13:03 GMT, 2 December 2012
13:52 GMT, 2 December 2012
For many the sight of his grinning face tucking into a 'cow pie' brings back memories of a happier and simpler time – the golden age of comics when children would excitedly part with pocket money for the next installment of their hero's escapades.
In the wake of World War Two, the Dandy Comic was the nation's children's best loved buy, and despite households still relying on ration books, the magazine had a circulation which topped two million.
But now, as Dandy Dan – the comics best known character – approaches his 75th birthday and following a steep drop in circulation in recent years, the world's third-longest-running comic magazine will switch to online only publication.
Seventy-five years after Desperate Dan ate his first cow pie, he is set to settle into his new home on the internet
From Tuesday, gone will be the inky weekly paper comic, and Dan will settle into his new home in a digital edition, which is expected to cost a little over a pound if bought singly, according to DC Thomson & Co, the comic's Dundee-based publisher.
The team have been busily putting the secret finishing touches to its new website, drawing on the help of some of the comics biggest fans and former workers.
Morris Heggie, 62-year-old archivist and former editor, told the Observer he believed the best was yet to come.
'It is a long time since I have had sleepless nights over the Dandy, but this new site is classic Dandy and just fabulous.'
The Dandy, which launched in 1937, has featured characters such as Bananaman, Korky the Cat, Cuddles and Dimples, and Beryl the Peril
While enthusiastic, Mr Heggie said he admits his heart remains with the print edition, from loving the bad quality paper that the comic was printed on after the war, to championing the look of the original pen-and-ink illustrations, which he says have never been bettered.
He said he still remembers the smell of a new DC Thomson Christmas annual, a passion his grown up children still tease him over, adding: 'There was this inky smell the first couple of times you opened it. It was a unique British style, too.'
The Dandy, best known for cartoon character Desperate Dan, is being pulled from shelves and replaced with an online version. The comic has had several overhauls (left) since it was first released (right)
Over the years the magazine has won a legion of celebrity fans, including Sir Paul McCartney, who were raised on the comics and eagerly bought them at the height of their popularity
The Dandy, which launched in 1937, has featured characters such as Bananaman, Korky the Cat, Cuddles and Dimples, and Beryl the Peril.
THE RISE, FALL AND FUTURE OF BRITAIN'S BEST LOVED COMIC
The first edition of the Dandy Comic cost just tuppence – and there was a free whistle on the cover
The print title came out every week from its launch in 1937 until 1941, when paper shortages forced it to alternate weeks with sister title the Beano.
By 1949 it had gone back to weekly editions and a year later it changed its name to simply the Dandy – the first in a series of infrequent efforts to modernise.
With a circulation of 2m in 1950, the Dandy became the world's biggestselling comic
On Tuesday the world's third-longest-running comic magazine will switch to online publication
A bronze statue of Desperate Dan
stands in Dundee city centre, alongside Minnie the Minx, from The
Dandy’s sister title The Beano
Throughout 75 years of change the comic has reflected world events, all with its own inimitable, and very British, humour.
In 1941 Desperate Dan even helped the war efforts, by sinking U-boats and bringing down enemy planes with a peashooter.
Hitler and Gring were also taken apart in a strip called Addie and Hermy, The Nasty Nazis.
It saw Desperate Dan, who is rumoured to have been modeled on Former editor Albert Barnes, punch Hitler all the way back to Germany.
In 1997, Dan fans rallied for a return of their hero when he was 'temporarily retired' following an edition in which he was shown disappearing off into the sunset with the Spice Girls.
DC Thomson later admitted this was a publicity stunt to garner attention for their 60th anniversary title.
And Dan also caused a stir during the BSE outbreak when he famously gave up his cow pies.
A Dandy revamp in 2010 saw some of the magazine's old favourites pushed aside to make room for new celebrity-based comic strips, featuring Harry Hill, Cheryl Cole, Simon Cowell, Jamie Oliver and Jeremy Clarkson.
DC Thomson has said while there will be no more weekly comics, there are still plans for a printed Dandy annual for those not quite ready to go completely digital.
Over the years the magazine has won a legion of celebrity fans who were raised on the comics and eagerly bought them at the height of their popularity.
Sir Paul McCartney is reportedly a fan and in a recent letter to the publication, 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 and his other comic book colleagues.
'I feel a little sadness that I see its final issue is appearing in December.
'In 1963, in the NME, when asked what my personal ambition was, I replied – to have my picture in The Dandy! I hope it’s not too late!’
In the final issue, Sir Paul’s cartoon persona leads a sing-along with the comic’s most famous characters at a farewell party.
The Dandy’s print editor, Craig Graham, said: ‘When the decision was taken to stop printing The Dandy and take it online earlier this year, it really was a case of now or never.
'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’
The last print issue of The Dandy will go on sale on Tuesday.
The first digital issue will go live on www.dandy.com on the same day.