First Issue: 4th December 1937
Last Issue: 4th December 2012
Copyright: DC Thomson
It was the job of Albert Barnes, The Dandy Comic editor to usher in a new era in British comics. On 4th December 1937, The Dandy Comic, as it was originally called, made its debut. The Dandy differed from its predecessors in a number of new and innovative ways. The Dandy rejected the broadsheet format of its contemporaries and adopted the tabloid size of the story papers. The Dandy also introduced the use of speech balloons inside some of the stories although not all of them. Some of the stories retained the traditional style of having a picture with the text written beneath.
The first issue of The Dandy introduced the public to characters that have not only become household names but national institutions. Such characters as Korky the Cat and Desperate Dan will engender fond childhood memories and a smile from grandparents to grandchildren such is their longevity and appeal. Korky the Cat (James Crichton) appeared to have took a vow of silence for the first five years of life whilst Desperate Dan who was the creation of Dudley Watkins, appeared to go from strength to strength. It is believed that Desperate Dan’s chin was modelled on the chin of The Dandy’s editor, Albert Barnes.
Unfortunately, The Dandy comic came to an end with the last print edition dated 4th December 2012. The 100 page special edition included a countdown of the comic’s ‘Top 75 Characters’. The publishers, DC Thomson, still publish a yearly annual with the most recent being 2024.
Both The Dandy and The Beano were launched prior to the war. Both comics were both effected and influenced by the onset of the Second World War. In practical terms The Dandy had to restrict its publication from once a week to once a fortnight due to paper shortages and other restrictions. The Dandy was also influenced by the war and reflected this in its story lines. Many characters were enlisted in the war effort. Desperate Dan acted as a human minesweeper, tied German aircraft to the moon and joined the RAF where he blew the Nazi air force out of the sky. The Dandy also published stories based on German characters such as “Addie and Hermy – The Nasty Nazis” (Sam Fair) who were always up to no good but always came unstuck.