|Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd|
The DANDY first appeared 80 years ago in 1937 and ended its run 5 years ago in 2012. There's no arguing with the fact that a 75 year life-span is a great achievement for a comic, but why did it die? Forget what you read elsewhere from people determined to rewrite history - The Dandy came to an end because it eventually failed to appeal to a large enough readership to sustain itself. Simple as that. But there's more to the story.
Immediately after its 2010 relaunch, it actually increased its circulation for a short time before dissatisfied readers simply lost interest and stopped buying, leaving newsagents with no option but to reduce their orders accordingly. Sales had been in general decline for years, but what killed the comic at that specific point in time was that it failed to deliver the goods. A few exceptions aside, bad art and poor stories meant that readers old and new abandoned the comic in droves. You can forget talk about all those who enjoyed the new Dandy as proof it was great. Remember, they were in the minority - the majority voted with their feet (and their wallets) and walked away.
Yet still a few deluded former contributors persist in perpetuating the myth that the relaunched Dandy was absolutely brilliant and deserved to succeed, and that other factors were mainly responsible for the comic's cancellation. (Being hard to find on the shelves apparently. Well, not in any WHS I was ever in.) The facts speak for themselves. The 'great save' designed to rescue the comic from oblivion failed. That's the important thing to remember here - the relaunch ultimately proved to be inadequate and the wrong direction in which to go. DCT themselves never denied that the comic lost around half its readers - only some disgruntled contributors and fans have tried to put a different spin on the facts.
If you're a singer and only manage to sell a fraction of the available tickets - and then half the audience walks out during the show, to deny that the songs you sing and the way you sing them is most likely the primary reason for such a sorry situation is ludicrous. Yet that's what the apologists for The Dandy's failure claim - it wasn't the content, it was everything else but, they say.
Anyway, you can safely ignore their deluded witterings, secure in the knowledge of the facts. However, let's not dwell on The Dandy's demise - let's take a look at some pages from its very first issue from 80 years ago. It was still to achieve the greatness for which it became acclaimed in its heyday, but it's interesting to see it take its first steps on that journey into legend.