(Updated 27/10/10) The Dandy - the real, comic strip driven Dandy - is back this week with a vengeance, ditching the magazine-style, TOXIC-inspired magazine format of Dandy Xtreme in favour of a weekly title with a £1.50 cover price.
As well as a price drop, the new, 32-page comic, which has also dropped cover mounted gifts, aims straight for the jugular by spoofing popular culture, with material from comedian Harry Hill (who now fronts the comic), a celebrity who is perfect match for the look of the new Dandy. He'll appear alongside old favourites such as Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat, plus new strips from cartoonists such as Nigel Parkinson (who draws Harry Hill), Andy Fanton and Lew Stringer.
"it's almost entirely comic strips," enthuses Nigel Parkinson of the new-look Dandy on his blog, which he also says will be heavily promoted – and publisher DC Thomson's use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is just the start of that. "The strips are mostly brand-new. There are pages by people new to the Dandy and by people new to comics."
The new strips include Pepperoni Pig, Clive 5, Bill Oddie-Watch, The ZZZ-Team, The Y-Factor and Bear Thrills.
Another major change for the title will see readers be given more control, allowing them to vote on The Dandy website to decide which characters stay and while will go to make way for new characters.
"The Dandy was the first comic I read as a child," says Lew Stringer of his involvement. "It helped teach me to read, so I'm very pleased and honoured to have been asked to contribute."
He's revealed he's drawing two of the strips: Kid Cops and Postman Prat, both created inhouse, with scripts on Postman Prat from Dandy editor Craig Graham and Ally Bernard. (Lew is writing and drawing Kid Cops).
Andy Fanton is to contribute George vs Dragon, which reworks the Saint George and the Dragon tale as a slapstick, Wile E. Coyote-esque farce. "I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to work for the comic, as not only is it a very well-known and prestigious title, but it’s also one of the (many) comics I read loads when growing up," he says. "... to be one of the guys now doing the comics is pretty much a dream come true, and I feel very lucky indeed. And excited. And nervous."
While some may scorn the use of celebrities to help push sales, DC Thomson are well aware how media-savvy their target audience is, and say the celebrity input is to make it more topical! "So far we’ve immortalised Cheryl Cole, Noel Edmonds, Jeremy Clarkson and we’ve even added the ultimate X-factor, Simon Cowell…," one of the team notes on their Facebook page. "You never know who’ll be next!"
“The Dandy has constantly evolved over its 73-year history, but the brand new Dandy is the best and funniest it’s ever been," claims Craig Graham, editor-in-chief. "We’re providing something quite different to our competitors in terms of content, format and price-point that’s based on the unique Dandy heritage, exceptional British cartooning talent and that’s all backed up by compelling reader insight and market research.
“The icing on the cake is having Harry Hill join the team. With a renewed focus on comedy characters, it’s a real thrill to be working with one of the nation’s favourite family comedians. As he writes the strip himself, I’m not always exactly sure what’s going to be appearing each week so I’m as eager as everyone else to find out.
“With subscribers living all across the world there’s a huge affection for The Dandy and readers can be reassured they’ll still find lots of our much loved characters like Desperate Dan and Bananaman inside. But, it was important for us to reinvigorate The Dandy and so there’s lots of new, exciting stuff to attract and delight a new generation of readers.”
First published on 4th December 1937, The Dandy is the world's longest continuously published comic and holds the record for the largest sale ever of a comic in UK history - May 1950 saw over 2 million copies of The Dandy sold.
While these days it's unlikely any British comic will ever reach that level of sale, the new look is a welcome revamp for a title some have feared was on its last legs and shows just how much faith DC Thomson has in its popular characters. We wish everyone involved the very best of luck with this new direction.
The first issue of the new look weekly Dandy is officially on sale on Wednesday 27th October 2010 and will cost £1.50.
• Official Dandy web site: www.dandy.com
• The Dandy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dandy/121479097908918
• Follow The Dandy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DandyComic
Just some of The Dandy creators...
• Andy Fanton
• Nigel Parkinson
• Jamie Smart
• Lew Stringer
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