The Dandy profile: A morale-booster for the nation’s youth

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LAUNCHED in 1937, the Dandy has served up weekly portions of anarchic fun designed to tickle the funny bones of children, with iconic characters such as Korky the Cat, Winker Watson and Desperate Dan, who even has a statue in Dundee.

On its launch, the Dandy was intended to be the first of five “humour” titles released by DC Thomson to mirror the success enjoyed by the company’s adventure titles – Rover, Hotspur, Wizard, Adventure and Skipper.

In the end, the Second World War meant that only the Beano and Magic Comic were launched. Magic Comic was dropped, but the Dandy and the Beano were deemed too important to the morale of the nation’s youth and were allocated scarce paper.

The Dandy’s widespread readership was, in a large part, thanks to the acclaimed illustrator Dudley D Watkins.

Though continuing strong into the 1980s, the contracting market saw ailing sister publication Nutty, best-known for the Bananaman strip, merged with the Dandy in 1985.

However, in 2004, the Dandy attempted its first major overhaul, changing format – ditching newsprint for glossy, magazine paper – and shifting content towards a more television-oriented style. This came with a price hike, from 70p to £1.20.

Less than three years later, the Dandy underwent another restyling in an attempt to keep pace with its readership’s tastes and attract new ones, becoming a fortnightly publication under the new title Dandy Xtreme, cost £2.50.

But the changes did not last long, and in 2010 it returned to a weekly format, and dropped the Xtreme from its title along with most of the characters from that era.

Desperate Dan and Bananaman survived into its final form, which also saw a return of Korky the Cat.