Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Not So Dandy...

Whilst we Brits may not have the glamorous and humorous issues of Boom! Studios Comics (including Darkwing Duck, Donald Duck & Friends and various Pixar titles) nor consistent, laugh-out-out issues of Looney Tunes (with NO puzzle pages whatsoever), we still rely on what appears to be the last remaining and long-running British Comics to keep this century's generation amused, at least for those who lack a TV, Computer, DS and/or Mobile phone for entertainment.

Unlike The Beano, however, its "rival" The Dandy - which was first published on the 4th December 1937 - has seen many major and shocking revamps over the course of 2000 and beyond. Here's a basic history of its timeline:
  • 16 October 2004 - the comic changed format and content, reflecting a more television-oriented style, now printed on glossy magazine paper instead of newsprint. 
  • August 2007 - changed its name to Dandy Xtreme, with every issue featuring celebrities and other Non-Dandy cartoon characters on the front cover fortnightly.
  • October 2010 - returned as a weekly comic and ditched the 'Xtreme' from the title.
I remember following the Dandy as long as the Beano the moment I could read. And going by the content and characters provided by the Dandy Staff in later years (not to mention the immense price of nearly £3 per issue), I thought it the kindest option to leave the Dandy well alone. If it can't please me, then at least it'll still amuse today's generation.

Then when news of its latest "revamp" came about, my curiosity peaked up again - mainly because British Comedian Harry Hill (famed for TV Burp) was helping to get its comedy values back up again - next to getting his own comic strip series, which he himself pens the scripts for, and with Nigel Parkinson drawing the comics.

So I decided to pick up a copy to satisfy my curiosity - and call me an old fogie, but sadly, Harry's comic was the ONLY story I laughed loudest at. What shocked me most of all was discovering that all the original Dandy cast had been dropped completely - bar Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky the Cat - and replaced with, in the nicest terms possible, "brain farts". Here's a list of the cast present:

  • The Mighty Bork - a stupid Blue Alien who attacks news reporter Rocky O'Flair. 
  • Kid Cops - a pair of kids on a mission to bring boring adults to justice (yeah, REAL original...!)
  •  The Phantom Pharter - "guilty of dropping a bean-bomb in Buckingham palace and ruining the Queen's Speech". Need I say more? 
  • The Bogies - based off of this latest 'net fad ----> LINK!
  •  Count Snotula - a vampire who sucks (surprise, surprise....) bogies.....
  • Pre-Skool Prime Minister - fed up of grown-up politics, the United Kingdom elected a four-year-old as the next Prime Minister...
  •  Shao Lin Punks - Avatar/Anime/Manga fad....thingy...
  • Little Simon - Adventures of "younger" versions of pop celebs. This week is Little Simon in X-factorville - who tries to be bad but can't help being good.
  • Robot on the Run - set in Ipswich in the year 5173, the world's first robot escapes from "the Museum of Ancient Really Awesome Old Things from the Olden Days of the Past". Too much dialogue, not enough funny.
  • Postman Prat - skateboarding looney parody with his unlucky cat Tess.
  • George Vs. Dragon - if I wanted to read a funnier Knight Vs. Dragon story, I'd rather read this chap's far superior work...
  •  Simples! 101 ways to use a meerkat - 'nuff said 
  • Pepperoni Pig - about the only other comic that kept my interest. A red pig working as a delivery guy at "War 'n' Pizza" takeaway place.
  • Noel or No Noel? - Noel Edmonds delivering unfunny variations on his "Deal or no Deal" catchphrase...groan-worthy even for me.

So it seems the likes of Ollie Fliptrick, Sneaker, Beryl the Peril, Cuddles and Dimples and the "new" Dandy mascot, Jak, seems to have fallen victim to the job-cut like the rest of us. There are so many new characters altogether, if you changed the name of The Dandy, it wouldn't matter at all; it'd still be an entirely different comic altogether.

And what really made my heart sink was the radical new designs Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky received here. A far cry from the wonderful, original works of Dudley Watkins, John Geering and Robert Nixon many of us still fondly remember from our faded copies of previous Dandy issues.

I'm sure many of us will give it a chance...but if you ask me: the only good entertainment I'll ever find is either from friends with sharper wit or by making my own. Have it whatever you like. But until someone over there wakes up and gives us decent stuff that's on par with Gary Northfield or Mike Pearse's stuff, then I wash my hands with the Dandy altogether.


  1. What a travesty - the artwork for Dan and Bananaman is horrendous. What a shame, I remember my days of buying The Dandy with my weekly pocket money with great fondness.

  2. Why change it so radically though? There were some brilliant characters in the Dandy back in the old days like Dinah Mo, Bully Beef & Chips, and so on... reading your blog today was an eye-opener, Chris, and it's saddened me.

    The classics they HAVE kept have been bastardised beyond belief and comprehension. DC Thomson should be bloody ashamed of themselves - it's no wonder the comic is going to the dogs in such a way...

    Here's hoping Snuffy Smith, Beetle Bailey, Krazy Kat and Cool McCool will provide some interesting reading when you receive your USB with the episodes.

  3. That's just awful. Television cartoons went down hill, regarding the artwork after the 80's. Spongebob Squarepants for example - I never gave the show a look, because of the art. This new form of drawing has even affected Disney. Doug was the first cartoon to suffer from the disease from memory. Then other shows like Disney's Recess and Kim Possible. No I just can't stand animated stuff today. It's sad.

  4. Christ, no wonder the Dandy went out of print.