The first issue of children’s comic The Dandy arrived in December 1937. The final printed edition came out on 4 December 2012, the comic’s 75th anniversary.
In the 1950s, the publication was selling two million copies a week. By 2012, it was selling 8,000.
Print is expensive. Time to go. And so it was goodbye to Bananaman, to Korky the Cat, to Beryl the Peril, as well as to wild-west character Desperate Dan, the world’s strongest man.
Comics hadn’t gone away, but the world had changed. Would kids “get” the Desperate Dan cowboy stories any more? Did kids even watch westerns? Were they living in a world where people still said “Oo-er!” and “Cripes”? Or were they all online?
The written-in sound effects — Splat! Chomp! Wham! — must have seemed gloriously quaint to a generation that grew up with video games. And a teacher taking the cane to recalcitrant pupils had become inexplicably illegal.
In 2011, Moshi Monsters magazine, a monthly print title, launched. In 2012, the year of The Dandy‘s demise, Moshi Monsters was selling around 228,000 copies every month.
(For those not familiar with Moshi World, Moshi Monsters is an online game for kids that allows them to choose a virtual pet monster and have adventures in the online world of Monstro City.)
The world’s strongest man was no match for a Moshi Monster.
BUT — my daughter, a lifetime fan, is keen to point out — The Beano is still extant!
Of course, if you miss Dan, you can always make a trip, not to Cactusville, his one-time home, but to Dundee in Scotland. Dundee is the home of DC Thomson, the company that published The Dandy. A huge bronze statue of Dan — and one of his dog, Dawg — adorn the High Street.
Reminders of another age.