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Will The Dandy ever return? 
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I reckon the 'old-fashioned' aspects of the DANDY especially was much of the appeal: offering up to readers an alternative world of fantasy and relative innocence, uncorrupted by everyday realities, which often offer a boring, limited way of living for many people.

The innocence of the comic world was tempered by lashings of Anarchy, [again, a refreshing change from real-world mundanities] and this blend of bygone eras fused with fantasy appears to be the comics' main strength, when sales figures were high.

Later on, of course, the mix was altered dramatically, with a more modern approach, however this was not enough to save the comics' dwindling readership, unfortunately.

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:20 pm
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Lew Stringer wrote:
Raven, oddly enough I never minded the captions on the artwork. Even when The Dandy was the only humour comic still doing them. They did sometimes provide valuable information that wasn't in the pictures.


That would make sense, but it's quite rare - I couldn't find any in the samples I flicked through before posting ("Meanwhile, Winker and his chums were tucking into a big feed," etc.), and there wasn't a story that couldn't be followed just as easily without them - same with Jack Silver and Brassneck. I think part of the fun of humour strips is that they're a brisk and breezy read, and text like that bogged them down.

Lew Stringer wrote:
The old 1930s AP comics were worse culprits for having text that stated the obvious I think.


It's an odd thing that seemed to be a throwback to that era's story paper days, as if they weren't entirely convinced that the readers were visually literate enough to fully understand the subtleties of the images in this "new fangled comics medium" - despite most of the other strips in the comic being without explanatory text!


Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:31 pm
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
I reckon the 'old-fashioned' aspects of the DANDY especially was much of the appeal: offering up to readers an alternative world of fantasy and relative innocence, uncorrupted by everyday realities ...


Thing is, though, the '60s and '70s were quite colourful times in terms of pop/youth culture, and that '30s/'40s depression feel wasn't exactly exotic, or the kind of fantasy life you'd likely aspire to, not like the US TV exotica that was so alluring to kids - it could be a bit depressing in its way!


Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:37 pm
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The 60s gave us the Kray Twins, Myra Hyndley and much other unsavouries, Raven, not including dubious drug cultures and a general feeling that society was crumbling apart from the point of view of the Establishment. [I personally like the 60s though, but it was still an austere time for many---I myself had to wear a battleship grey school uniform in 1966!]

When I say 'fantasy' I really mean walking talking robots like Brassneck, or Desperate Dan tying up a street lampost like a bowtie----

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:48 pm
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
The 60s gave us the Kray Twins, Myra Hyndley and much other unsavouries, Raven, not including dubious drug cultures and a general feeling that society was crumbling apart from the point of view of the Establishment. [I personally like the 60s though, but it was still an austere time for many---I myself had to wear a battleship grey school uniform in 1966!]


For kids, though, there was a burgeoning, colourful pop culture of psychedelic ice lollies and snazzier looking products.

ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
When I say 'fantasy' I really mean walking talking robots like Brassneck, or Desperate Dan tying up a street lampost like a bowtie----


Sure, but you didn't need the ancient look for that, with young Danny wearing a bowtie over a frilly bib, and you'd said it was the old fashioned look that offered up the fantasy. Brassneck looked like a 1940s idea of a robot, and his boy mate Charley Brand wore a tie - in the Seventies!

I can understand '60s kids finding the escapist exotica of contemporary Americana (Flipper, Batman, etc.) on TV alluring, and the modern design and contemporary styles that had been the visual vocabulary of animation since the 1950s, but a lot of those strips seemed to hark back to a drabber, harsher, more authoritarian era.


Last edited by Raven on Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:27 pm
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Raven wrote:
I liked/like Eric Roberts's artwork, too, though much preferred Dirty Dick. It was also the format of Winker Watson that seemed especially dated, like Brassneck, with the unnecessary text-heavy captions, pointlessly describing what you could see in the actual picture: 'Winker and company stared as a large crate was humped through the dormitory and into Boodle's room', etc.

Lew Stringer wrote:
I really liked the 'dated' look to The Dandy, and even by 1980 most strips still looked like they were set in 1959.


Yes, the present day Dandy kid characters usually looked and dressed like they were from anywhere between the 1930s and 1950s. Black Bob seemed 1940s-ish or earlier!
Bob started in the 40s. If they never updated the setting, then the look is justified. Desperate Dan's nephew Danny's outfit probably seemed appropriate for the wild west setting, except that Dan's strip doesn't actually take place in the 1880s, but in the present day (he debuted in the 1940s). At least he later updated to a much more modern ensemble of jumper and jeans. Winker Watson's school uniform wouldn't be dated at all if only he had long trousers.

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Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:48 am
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Raven wrote:

Sure, but you didn't need the ancient look for that, with young Danny wearing a bowtie over a 1920s frilly bib, and you'd said it was the old fashioned look that offered up the fantasy. Brassneck looked like a 1940s idea of a robot, and his boy mate Charley Brand wore a tie - in the Seventies!

I can understand '60s kids finding the escapist exotica of contemporary Americana (Flipper, Batman, etc.) on TV alluring, and the modern design and contemporary styles that had been the visual vocabulary of animation since the 1950s, but a lot of those strips seemed to hark back to a drabber, harsher, more authoritarian era.


Raven: there is nothing wrong in applying a 'retro' look to futuristic concepts like robots: it offers up a refreshing alternative to sterile-looking technologies, which many folk find off-putting. 2000 AD do this a lot to great effect, and even Hollywood have put great production design into CGI features like ROBOTS, which benefit greatly from a deliberately dated look and design of a futuristic idea [namely, robots, would you believe].

Even FUTURAMA is designed with a retro ambience, there is nothing wrong with this approach, and it's more charm-filled than many attempts at trying to accurately predict what real future-technology will look like. Indeed, 'accurate' attempts at predicting real-life futuristic hardware is often more unintentionally laughable, so it's often better to go the deliberately retro direction on this score.


The concept of Brassneck [a solitary robot in a 40s-looking world] was more modest than entire retro-worlds, however, even this all-out retro fantasy look was explored at the DANDY, with JACK SILVER.

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Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:10 am
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Digifiend wrote:
Desperate Dan's nephew Danny's outfit probably seemed appropriate for the wild west setting, except that Dan's strip doesn't actually take place in the 1880s, but in the present day (he debuted in the 1940s).


Danny's outfit is nothing to do with the wild west - that's not how kids dressed on the frontier! It's actually the English Little Lord Fauntleroy (from Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1885 novel) outfit of black velvet jacket and lace collar with bow, a get-up that reached its peak of popularity just before the 20th century.


Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:26 am
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
The concept of Brassneck [a solitary robot in a 40s-looking world] was more modest than entire retro-worlds, however, even this all-out retro fantasy look was explored at the DANDY, with JACK SILVER.



I agree about retro-robots, always loved them, but beyond that, I was talking about the wider look of earlier depression/post war periods in the Dandy, as late as the Seventies.

Do you really think they were purposely exploring "all out retro-fantasy" looks? I get the impression they tended to use the same artists, like Bill Holroyd, from the Forties, who simply never updated their style and drew exactly the same way decades later.

It would be interesting if the broad 'stuck in a timewarp' feel of the Thomson comics turned out to be a self-conscious exercise in retro-chic, but I don't think I'm buying that!


Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:34 am
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Muffy wrote:
I bought the Dandy Summer Special 2014 for the oldest nephew. Previously he was an occasional Dandy reader in 2012.

He just turned 11 and starting secondary in September. The thing that disappointed him was that so much of the material was reprinted. He found old-school 'Winker Watson' stories very dated. I imagine that it was aimed at the occasional reader at £4.99.

Did anyone else read this new special and either enjoyed it or thought that more new material would have made it that much more special?


I didn't think it was terrible. I liked how not all of the material was 1960s-1980s and ventured into 1990s and 2000s territory. However, I think there was too much material from 2001 or thereabouts. A lot of the material that wasn't from the sixties and seventies is from around this time.

Had I put the special together, I'd have probably distributed "eras" more evenly, with some more material from 1988-1998, perhaps a bit of 2004-2007 material, and maybe one or two 2010-2012 strips (but not many because there's the chance that a lot of readers would be familiar with the stories).

I'd also add in some of the more obscure characters from the Dandy's history. The thing with the Dandy is that, because its roster was ever-changing, it produced far more characters than The Beano, and it's a shame that hardly any of these characters get to appear in the specials and annuals nowadays. Some are products of their time and are best forgotten, but at the same time there are lots of strips with timeless premises that could easily be introduced to the modern day reader. (this was something I liked about the Golden Years books during the 90s and 2000s, as it introduced me to characters I'd never heard of before)

The mini strips in my opinion were poor choices. I mean, Dino Vet? Seriously? I'd have put stuff like My Mum's a Brain Eating Zombie or Flatman and Ribbon. At least there's some Saint Evils there though, so it's not all bad.

I hope next years Summer Special has some new material. Not just new strips featuring classic characters but some of the 2010-2012 characters too, like Mr. Meecher and Nuke Noodle. I hope the demise of the weekly hasn't killed them off for good.

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Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:07 pm
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The comic was always my second favourite junior title (behind Sparky) I loved stuff like the Crimson Ball and the Red Wrecker and the Smasher was always ahead of Dennis the Menace for me!

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Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:14 am
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I always found the stories/strips in The Dandy more innovative than in The Beano.

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Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:02 pm
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SID wrote:
I always found the stories/strips in The Dandy more innovative than in The Beano.


I know a lot of people thought The Dandy was old fashioned but that's exactly what appealed to me as a kid. The environment of Brassneck, Smasher, The Crimson Ball, Big Head and Thick Head, etc looked like the post-war working class 1960s of my childhood more than the slightly more middle class world of The Beano. (And yes, I know public schoolboy Winker Watson is the anomaly in that opinion, but we just assumed that was what life was like for posh kids and they seemed a likeable bunch.)

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Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:51 am
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Aw, I was hoping there'd be new information there. :cry:


Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:00 pm
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Aah! Big head and Thick Head!! Very much favourites! Also-don't forget Corporal Clott. Often overshadowed by Davy Laws Dennis in the Beano- but I rate Clott very highly.

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