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14 August 2012 @ 09:05 am
The Dandy to close?  

Guardian: UK's Oldest Comic The Dandy faces Closure

Well this doesn’t look so good, no. The Dandy, Britain’s oldest comic clocking in at 75 years, is on the verge of closing.

I’m not going to write about The Dandy’s incredible history or remarkable roster of artists, I’m sure other artists/bloggers will detail that far more succinctly than I could. Instead I’m going to talk about my experience with The Dandy, if you’re interested, and then end with a request of you.

I started working for them back in about 2003/2004, when they were doing a kind of relaunch, and wanted to use My Own Genie, which I’d sent in as a pitch perhaps a year or two earlier. From then on I was drawing My Own Genie every week for a good few years. I then drew a short spell of Space Raoul, did a try out on a strip called Thingummyblob, and then in 2007 did a ‘how-to-draw’ for Desperate Dan. I was pretty nervous, I wondered if it was some sort of trial to see how I drew him, and for such an iconic figure I wanted to get him right. I tried real hard to draw him in the style of those who’d come before me but eventually realised it would work better if I relaxed, and drew him how I wanted him to look. I did, I got the job, and ended up drawing Dan every week for the next five years. Free reign to write and draw what I wanted, which was a great responsibility, and I hope I stepped up to it.

When The Dandy relaunched a couple of years ago, what it did was phenomenal. It had previously tried to go a bit more ‘magaziney’, but now it was turning full circle and defiantly stating no, we are a comic, and we are proud of it. The last two years of The Dandy have been an absolute triumph for British comics, a confident love of sillyness, slapstick and mess. A great wave of ridiculous characters and stories, an unashamed love of all things absurd.

It also ushered in a host of new artists, fresh talent, being given their first break in the industry. It wanted to try new ideas, new things, giving us free reign to be as silly as we wanted. It was a playground.

For my part, I was very keen to be involved in the relaunch. I drew a style bible of sorts, including the header fonts, page borders, and an enormous pile of random pigs, blobs and half-eaten sandwiches to litter around the pages. I drew The Dandy logo on the front of every issue (THAT was an honour, let me tell you), and inside contributed a fair handful of comics. Alongside Desperate Dan, I did Arena Of Awesome, Mega-Lomaniacs, Pre-Skool Prime Minister, My Dad’s A Doofus, a pile of puzzle pages and oh well I forget, I think there were more but I can’t think of them right now.

So, to see this news emerging, it’s pretty crushing. It’s no exaggeration to say The Dandy is a British institution, and a pillar for British comics. It has been essential to our culture. As the artists involved towards what may be its final days, we are INCREDIBLY proud and honoured to work on such a comic, to be given the opportunity to entertain children. We believe we have delivered real quality comics, and that The Dandy has been a shining light in what is a shrinking industry.

So here’s what you can do. Go and buy The Dandy. Go and buy The Dandy every week. Every week until the end they’re forecasting. Grab a copy for your kids, grab a copy for yourself, or hey just grab a copy as a possible collector’s editions if you want. Just buy The Dandy. Chances are many people haven’t seen it since they were kids, so have a look and see what we’ve been doing. See how much heart we’ve been putting in.

Go and buy The Dandy, read it and enjoy it. A little bit of silliness in an otherwise somewhat overwhelming world. A custard-pie-in-the-face back to childhood, away from whatever being an adult is supposed to be. A smile and a laugh. A comic. A great comic.

And maybe, just maybe, we can show everyone involved how important comics still are to, and how much we want The Dandy to stay.

Please go and buy The Dandy.

Can't get a dime for my servicesfwing on August 14th, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
:( I'll go and buy The Dandy. You did an incredible job with it over the years. Sad news.
Nick Haussman's Hag: Eleven: demands an explanation for thisthe_willows on August 15th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
This is sad news indeed.

I feel horribly guilty for never buying it for my three kids, but the eldest two are girls, and as much as I try not to deliberately reinforce gender stereotypes, they were in to dolls and Barbie and all the other pink glittery detritus thrown at young females from an early age.

My 7 year old boy is balls deep in Star Wars and Doctor Who, and has a self-proclaimed crush on Hawkeye from Avengers; long story short, if it isn't powered by space voodoo or rockets, he isn't interested.

But that said, it's an institution that shouldn't be allowed to die. If you'd been illustrating it from the womb when I were a lass, I'd probably have crazed my mum to buy it, because the old style of illustration in the 70's offended my young, female eyes. And if I'm honest, I don't think any of the shops in my two-bit, arse-end-of-nowehere rural town even sells it, I have never seen a copy when digging around the kids' mags for Doctor Who Adventures (which we had to subscribe to in the end to guarantee getting copies, because in rural Suffolk, no-one can hear your screams of frustration when you can't find your favourite magazines).

In concluding this mini essay, I will say that 1. I hope it gets an eleventh hour reprieve, or at least some kind of mainstream media recognition to mark it's passing, and 2. I will buy a copy next time I'm in civilisation.