It’s an obscure title here in the US, but in the UK, The Dandy is akin to Sesame Street and Peanuts all rolled into one. It’s the UK’s longest running comic, but it’s 75 year run might just be at an end, the Guardian reports. With sales that have slipped from 2 million a week to in 50s to 8000 today, you can see why.
The Dandy was launched in 1937 as a children’s magazine, and featured such much-loved (and mocked) characters as Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat—and came packaged with a whistle. If these characters aren’t usually mentioned among the medium’s shining stars they were still reliable friends for kids from the 30s on. However the market for kids comics magazines just isn’t what it used to be.
The Dandy has outlasted children’s comic titles such as the Beezer and the Topper by 20 years or more. But a series of relaunches in the past five years – including a switch to a fortnightly called Dandy Xtreme, and most recently a move in 2010 to introduce celebrity-themed comic strips featuring the likes of Harry Hill and Cheryl Cole – have failed to halt its circulation decline.
By the second half of 2011, circulation had dipped below 8,000, according to the most recent official figures, and the title is expected to cease publication shortly, according to insiders.
A spokeswoman for Dandy publisher DC Thomson confirmed that the closure of the print title was being considered as part of a review of the company’s magazine business, but indicated that characters such as Desperate Dan would continue to exist online.
The Dandy’s stablemate, The Beano, also published by DC Thompson, has also suffered a vast decline in sales, but has levelled out at 38,000 a month. Thompson is making sounds about going digital with the title. Will it be enough to save Beryl the Peril and her pals? Stay tuned.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.