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The Dandy gets a facelift 2004-10-07

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities.
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The world’s longest-running comic — The Dandy — has relaunched itself with a cast of 21st century characters joining old pre-war favourites like “Desperate Dan” in a bid to halt sliding circulation.

Enter supersleuth “Dreadlock Holmes” and video-game nut “Jak” with the annoying big sister — cool kids aimed to appeal to young readers.

The Dandy started life in Britain in 1937 with a front page spread featuring “Korky the Cat” and built up a devoted core of readers in the English-speaking world in the days before television and computer games.

But a comic that sold almost 2_million/week in the 1950s is down to about 50 000 now and fresh blood was needed.

However The Dandy’s creators are fiercely resisting any temptation to become politically correct.

“Desperate Dan”, the grizzled Wild West hero, may find himself wrestling with bank PIN numbers rather than outlaws these days but he will still keep chomping through a cholesterol-rich diet of cow pies, horns sticking through the pastry as usual.

The Dandy, with its target audience of seven to 11-year-olds, has a place in Guinness World Records for its longevity.

Children may have other distractions now but its global appeal remains as nostalgic parents keep the tradition alive.

‘We get e-mails in from all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia and South Africa. It’s nice to know that British culture travels and has a place’, said Ben Gray, executive manager of publishers DC Thomson in Dundee, Scotland.

“Dreadlock Holmes” made his Dandy debut on Thursday as the comic’s first mainline black character.

‘He is a legend in his own mind, a kid with an overactive imagination who sees mysteries everywhere. He fancies himself as the world’s greatest sleuth’, Gray told Reuters [news agency].

Gray denied that the comic had bowed to political correctness.

‘If we became politically correct, it would be the death of The Dandy. In fact we are gunning for political correctness’, he said of the comic that revels in naughtiness.

‘I would stick my tongue out and blow a big raspberry at anyone who suggests we are politically correct’.

Children are being asked what they plan to do with this week’s ‘sticky tongue’ free gift and Gray even suggested ‘putting it in a sandwich or hanging it over the rim of a toilet’.

Above all, he said it was vital to make children laugh.

So this week, young reader James Thomson was awarded 25_GBP and a free t-shirt for telling readers:

‘I know why Robin Hood was so good at climbing trees and walls and stuff. He had a ladder in his tights’.

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