Desperate Dandy to get new lease of life online


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The Independent Online

The Dandy will publish its last issue on its 75th birthday in December following a huge fall in sales. The UK's longest running comic, featuring the antics of cowboy strongman Desperate Dan, will then only be available online.

Publisher DC Thomson, which has seen the comic's circulation fall from 2 million in the 1950s to under 8,000 today, tried to be positive, saying there are "exciting plans in the pipeline" to take it in a "different direction".

"Dan has certainly not eaten his last cow pie," said chief executive Ellis Watson. "All of The Dandy's characters are just 110 days away from a new lease of life." But though Dan was able to lift a cow with one hand and shave his coarse beard with a blowtorch, he wasn't strong enough to withstand the onslaught of modern children's changing tastes.

In a difficult climate for magazine publishing, some comics have thrived. A Peppa Pig tie-in sold an average of 82,181 copies in the first six months of this year, but the market leader, by some distance, is Moshi Monsters. The magazine has doubled its circulation to 223,776 in just 12 months. Tellingly, it is based around an online game which allows children to look after their own virtual pets.

DC Thomson attempted to give The Dandy various makeovers as sales dwindled in recent years. In 2007, the title was rebranded as Dandy Xtreme, but the name was dropped just three years later.