Guardian continues British Comics coverage in wake of Dandy news

National newspaper The Guardian is continued its coverage of British comics — specifically, the future of The Dandy — throughout last week, with key writer Jacqueline Rayner stepping up to champion the lost world of girls comics like Misty and Tammy and Charlie Brooker savaging those afraid of The Dandy‘s evolution into a digital-only title. Here’s a round up of the coverage.

On Tuesday, artist Jamie Smart, who was an integral part of the comic’s re-design and relaunch in 2010, wrote on  Why The Dandy Still Matters, arguing it’s essential to keep kids reading comics.

“Comics are where we first learned about pea shooters, mud pies and building forts in trees,” he notes. “They’re one of the most exciting mediums around, and unrestrained by common sense or manners. Inside the pages of the best comics you will find pure, unbridled anarchy, running rampant through the world, telling hilarious stories with the naughtiest, silliest characters.”

Writer Charlie Brooker – who was also one of Oink‘s youngest contributors back in its day – got hot under the collar about critics of the title’s move to digital publication, arguing reports of the Dandy’s death are greatly exaggerated. Going all-digital is the best thing that could happen to Britain’s longest-running comic, he argued in The Guardian‘s sister paper, The Observer, yesterday.

“Why is The Dandy going all-digital? Because it’s a magazine for children, and today’s children don’t seem to want magazines any more than I wanted a 1920s whirligig when I was their age,” he said. “Kids today have Moshi Monsters and the Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster. Traditional ink on paper looks like medieval tapestry to them. This is the price you pay for technological advancement. On the plus side: fewer cases of rickets.”

Meanwhile, acclaimed author Jacqueline Rayner noted that at least Dandy fans were still going to have the chance to read their favourite comic – an opportunity not afforded fans of  Jinty, Tammy, Misty from the golden age of girls’ comics. The decline of the Dandy is sad news, her article noted, but let’s not forget the plucky young heroines who have already perished in the Great Comics Bloodbath, from Diving Belle to Lisa the Lonely Ballerina

“The news this week that the Dandy‘s 75th anniversary issue in December would be its last in print must have been a blow to its readers, but at least they had the consolation of knowing it would continue online,” she mused. “For some of us, this summer has only reminded us how much we have lost.”

Her article prompted a flurry of memories of mainly 1970s and 80s from girls comics fans, including a post from comic artist Sean Phillips who cut his teeth in professional comic work by drawing many of them.

The Guardian also published a round up of Twitter to the news that The Dandy was quitting print, noting it was a decision that has got a few Desperate Dan fans a bit misty eyed. The round up included a note about DC Thomson’s Chief Executive Ellie Watson’s continued fuming at the alleged ‘leak’ of the company’s plans for title; links to The Dandy‘s YouTube channel’s videos offering how to draw Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat – and the Guardian’s Media Editor Dan Sabbagh noting it’s not just kids comics in trouble on the news stand. Word magazine closed a few weeks ago, and the men’s magazine market is in big trouble. The dead trees business is not a happy place to be for many publishers.

Moshi Monsters mag is the best performing magazine,” he commented (with reported sales of 223,000).

• Links to earlier news stories about the demise of The Dandy are posted here as part of an ongoing discussion on our forum about the title and its future. Contributors include Dandy artist Nigel Parkinson; Kid Robson, an outspoken critic of The Dandy in its current form, who outlines his vision for the future of British comics; and Dandy, TOXIC and Viz artist Lew Stringer

Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers

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1 reply

  1. While I have a lot of time for Brooker, in this instance he’s very much wrong – probably guided by the fact that he doesn’t have children himself. Both my boys (3 and 5) love their paper copies of Dandy and Beano – but then thats to be expected as it is just a simple extension of the wide range of books they also have access to. We also have an iPad and while I do use this to read comics on (200Ad mainly, some Marvel) my boys prefer to access kiddies stuff on YouTube. I have tried to interest them in reading comics on the Mac, but again they prefer to use the computer for things other than reading static text from. And of course not least because its easier to handle a comic in paper form! As I have said before the Dandy is not going to get bought if it is hard to find and not distributed. The parents have to make an extra effort here – as I did when I took out a subscription.

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