23/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 19:58

Judge Dredd writer John Wagner mourns The Dandy demise

Category: Scotland

Published: 17th Aug 2012 12:02:36

In an exclusive piece for BBC News Online, John Wagner, creator of the Judge Dredd comic strip, has paid tribute to The Dandy, which has announced it is to end its print run after 75 years.

The US-born, Scottish-raised writer began his career at the comic's publisher DC Thomson in Dundee.

One by one they've fallen, the comic icons of my youth. Hotspur, Victor, Hornet - discovered and eagerly devoured in the newsagents where I served as a paperboy.

All you customers, you never knew why your editions might look a little dog-eared, a little second hand, hurriedly thumbed through as I walked my route. Great characters, intelligent stories, from an industry so often and undeservedly derided then by the middle class press.

And later the girls' comics - for my taste even better than the boys' - Mandy, Judy, Diana and best of them all, Bunty, practically ripped from my sister's young hands before she could read a word.

I never dreamed then that one day I would start my journalistic career with the company that produced them, that canny outfit in Dundee where comic people in cramped offices laboured lovingly to create our weekly thrills, where quality was everything and 'good enough' was never good enough.

It was in Dundee that I got to know the younger publications - Topper and Beezer, and those two British institutions, The Dandy and The Beano. My roommate worked on Topper. Many a night I would lie awake trying to work out Beryl the Peril stories for him - always rejected out of hand. Clever, innocent fun.

Topper and Beezer are gone with all the rest, and sadly The Dandy is to join them - The Dandy of cow pie eating Desperate Dan, of Korky the Cat, Bananaman and Black Bob.

So important was the industry once to the city that a statue of Dan now stands on one of Dundee's main thoroughfares. Seventy-five years The Dandy has lived, Britain's longest-running comic, an important part of so many children's lives. At one point it sold over two million copies. It seemed impregnable. Though mountains may fall, The Dandy would still be there, one sure thing in a changing world.

How little we knew. Today, despite several mergers and a somewhat odd and desperate revamp to 'Dandy Xtreme', we hear that the comic is to go online only from its 75th birthday in December. In the days of computer games and multiple television channels it can no longer compete. One of the last victims in the slow death of mainstream British comics, its circulation has fallen below 8,000 copies.

And so from a once huge Dundee-based industry only The Beano will remain. With healthy sales (by today's standards) of 38,000, it is to be hoped that it will be with us for some years to come.

But for now let us turn our attention to the soon-to-be departed. Goodbye, dear Dandy. In the end few of us bought you, but millions will hear of your passing with regret. Some of us weaker souls may even shed a tear. I, for one.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Judge Dredd writer John Wagner mourns The Dandy demise [Online] (Updated 17th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1446825/Judge-Dredd-writer-John-Wagner-mourns-The-Dandy-demise [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • North-south air link inquiry 'superficial', says AM

    A member of an assembly committee that investigated the subsidised air link between Cardiff and Anglesey has warned the inquiry was 'superficial'.
  • IMF says US growth will be a "disappointing" 1.7%

    The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for US economic growth for the second time this year.
  • Obituary: Dora Bryan

    Dora Bryan was a talented character actress who could turn her hand to everything from musicals to Shakespeare, farce to tragedy.
  • Obituary: Dora Bryan

    Dora Bryan was a talented character actress who could turn her hand to everything from musicals to Shakespeare, farce to tragedy.
  • India doctors remove 232 teeth from boy's mouth

    Doctors in India have extracted 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy in a seven-hour operation.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com