Page 3 Profile: Desperate Dan, comic character


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The Independent Online

We didn't know The Dandy was still going

And neither, sadly, do the vast majority of the British public. The UK's longest-running children's comic, starring cowboy Desperate Dan, sold two million copies a week in its Fifties heyday. But now The Dandy sells fewer than 8,000 a week. No surprise, then, that it's facing closure. Its publisher, the Dundee-based DC Thomson, said: "We are carrying out a review of our magazines business to meet the challenges of the rapidly-changing publishing industry."

So that's it then?

It might just be. Some 75 years after it was first published in 1937, it's unlikely The Dandy will continue in print much longer. The publisher spoke of "the digital revolution" offering an "opportunity" for DC Thomson characters to have some sort of online presence, but it's unclear how such ventures will make money. Perhaps it's just not what kids want any more. In 1941, Dan was a war hero, despatching enemies with his peashooter. A man's man, he shaved his stubble with a blowtorch and ate "cow pie" with the horns poking out from the crust. It all seems very old-fashioned. Attempts to rejuvenate the comic – a Dandy Xtreme rebrand in 2007, comic strips featuring the likes of Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell in 2010 – have failed.

But it's a national treasure!

As the news emerged, the comic's older fans attempted to stage a rescue. Blog after blog appeared urging parents to shell out £1.99 for the latest edition. Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan said he was "very sad" to see it go, and Scottish comedian Robert Florence tweeted: "Let's see if we can save something worth saving." Will their efforts pay off? Find out in the next issue.