Liv Siddall talks about the Dandy’s recent switch to digital, and urges the public to stop moaning about the past and get on with downloading the future. Oh and why Desperate Dan might be a bit weird…
You’ve probably been aware in the last few weeks of a Tweets and Facebook statuses, nay pub chats, proclaiming horror at the news of childhood comic The Dandy making the ominous switch to digital. You may have, like me, been initially a little dispirited and tempted to have a little rant about the good old days when you took your 30p pocket money to the village shop to pick up the latest weekly comic. But is it really such a shame?
For those who have been outraged enough to actually Tweet about it, perhaps ask yourself when was the last time you reached in past the stacks of crossword books and bogus issues of Love It! to get your precious, weekly comic? You’ll probably find that it’s been so long since you actually read a Dandy strip that the characters look very different to how you remember them, and that the stories are a bit dated and disturbing. Strange, enormous man living alone and hankering for his next hit of Cow Pie?
Mmm, sounds great. Funnily enough, it was the loss of Desperate Dan when he “retired” back in 1997 that made Twitter-free outcry bring him right back, only then to be surrounded by comics containing such TV celebrities as Jamie Oliver, Cheryl Cole and (gulp) Jeremy Clarkson — presumably for quite a bit of cash to keep the comic in print. Not surprisingly, children didn’t respond so well to Clarkson replacing Beryl The Peril, and subsequently the publication made a drastic loss and they were forced to re-think.
What we can now look forward to is a financially stable weekly comic that doesn’t have to resort to face-clawingly bad promo-strips in order to keep itself afloat. Also, correct me if I’m wrong but we’d be far more likely to download some comic strips and have a flick through them on the tube on some sort of digital device than actually go into a newsagent, buy a comic and potentially look a bit creepy.
The best part is that both the Beano and The Dandy are still creating annuals, which bring in a surprising amount of profit year by year. These enormous, hardback books full of quizzes, readers’ letters, photos and, of course, the best comic strips of the year are something we can read, collect, and pass on. Let’s all look forward to receiving a dose of nostalgia for Christmas and keeping a good, British staple afloat — but please, let’s take the time we would spend whinging about the loss of the weekly comic to actually download one and give it a read.