Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The 2010 Dandy Revamp

This blog wasn't around when the Dandy Xtreme changed back into The Dandy, a revamp that partly inspired the launch of this blog. I've never taken a proper look at this revamp on Wacky Comics, so I will today, starting with the last issue of The Dandy Xtreme. Dated 6th October - 26th October the Dandy Xtreme was on sale for a whopping 20 days giving it plenty of time to reach maximum sales. One thing you may notice is that the last Dandy Xtreme was presented with a free gift of a "light sword" whereas the revamped Dandy was presented with no free gift at all, which is strange as I'd have thought a free gift could have helped with the re-launch.

I'm not going to spend too long on the last Dandy Xtreme as there isn't much of interest regarding the revamp itself, but I don't want to skip it either so I'll show this one-page Marvo the Wonder Chicken strip illustrated wonderfully by Nigel Parkinson.

Just inside the back cover was a comic strip advertising the revamped Dandy on sale the following week. I'm not too sure that this was the best way to advertise the revamp as readers would be looking for the Xtreme title and probably overlook the Dandy itself. A better way to advertise (I'd have thought) was to show the cover so that people know what they're looking for. But that's just my thoughts and I've never studied advertisement strategies in much depth.

It was clear that D.C Thomson weren't very proud of the Xtreme years as they dismissed it with only single page in the 280+ page book The Art and History of The Dandy.

And thus entered the new look Dandy - an exciting and bright revamp that easily put the shabby, and absolutely awful, dearer Dandy Xtreme to shame. Reception to the new-look Dandy was mixed, with some very negative comments towards it but also a lot of enthusiasm as well. I personally loved it, and it's up there with my top three comics: 1) Whizzer and Chips, 2) Wham, 3) New Look Dandy.

At £1.50 the new Dandy was 50p cheaper than the Dandy
Xtreme - the pocket money equivalent of a bag of sweets.

It was a highly promising start with the comic being printed on nice heavy, high quality paper and (in my opinion) content that was just as good. I personally loved the Harry Hill strip and when it was cancelled I was gutted, and the lowering of the paper quality later on through the run was a blow, but the standard of the strips remained high right until the end.

Other than Harry Hill the comic introduced a number of new characters and strips, highlights included Lew Stringer's Postman Prat...

...Robot on the Run by Alexander Matthews... 

... and Andy Fanton's George Vs. Dragon. Andy improved considerably throughout the two years he was drawing for The Dandy, just compare the first episode below to a later one.

That just about sums up the 2010 Dandy revamp. It seems that the new look Dandy was a bit like marmite in the way that people either loved it or hated it and, just like marmite, I loved it. However, the only way to determine whether you love it or loathe it is to try it out for yourself. Back issues can easily be found on ebay at reasonable prices. 


Lew Stringer said...

It's also worth mentioning again that some of the Dandy strips from that era are now collected as pull-out comics in the new Dennis and Gnasher Megazine every month. Andy's George and Dragon is in this month's issue.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on The Dandy. A dream come true, and I was proud to be part of the revamp alongside such great talent.

Kid said...

It's strange that two of my very favourite comics are also Wham! and Whizzer & Chips, and - using them as the standard - The relaunched Dandy wasn't anywhere in the same league, in my famously, well-respected humble opinion.

Some artists may have improved as time wore on, but as they were never that good to begin with, any improvement was minimal.

As for great talent, Nigel Parkinson and one or two others certainly qualify, but the rest were rookies, chosen, in all probability, because they were more than willing to work for the pitifully low DCT wages and the (diminishing) prestige of working for a once-great comic.

And that's the sad truth - 'once- great' - because by the time The Dandy shuffled off this mortal coil, it was a great big steaming pile of poo.

If only the readers who shunned the comic had enjoyed reading the revamped title half as much as some contributors enjoyed working on it, then its fate may have been entirely different. Nobody should be proud of contributing to its demise, it was a totally shameful affair.

Anonymous said...

I loved The Dandy revamp. It'd probably been around 15 years since I'd bought any comics, though I'd regularly seen Xtreme in the newsagents, and not been impressed. It got me interested in picking up some of the comics I'd loved in the 80s and 90s. too, and I started buying The Beano again as the Bananaman reprints started in 2012. I've now got over 600 comics - Dandys, Beanos, Beezers, Toppers, Whizzer and Chips. Whoopees, Busters, Wows. Nuttys and a load of my beloved Oink!s. And it's all thanks to the Dandy revamp. :D

Fanton said...

Ah, happy memories! I personally was very proud of working on The Dandy - better to have a shot at doing something new than to do nothing at all, I say. It was great to work with lots of talented folk, all of whom seemed to relish the chance to try out a variety of different styles and crazy ideas, in a marketplace currently awash with licensed material. It felt fresh and anarchic to me, the sort of thing I loved as a child. It's the sort of thing comics should be doing, and encouraged to do, in my opinion. Let's hope companies don't get put off trying something different again in the future.

David Leach said...

The re-launched Dandy comic was an impressive attempt to save an ailing comic. Filled with some exceeding good art from the likes of Smart, Dawbarn, Stringer, Mathews, Parkinson and Fanton, in particular I was impressed with Smart's revised Desperate Dan, I've always found it odd when old artists were just replaced with new artists who just mimicked the style of the original and Jamie's fresh take, although clearly not everyone's cup of tea was, in my opinion, a breath of fresh air - original and most of all fun. And although there were elements of the comic I wasn't a huge fan of, I still applaud the effort and passion that went into relaunching the Dandy.

I found it astonishing to read the negativity the relaunch caused, the amount of bile and rage that spewed from some circles was truly surprising and rather depressing and just goes to prove it's always far easier to critise than to actually do. It's just a shame that the same amount of energy that went into vilifying the title couldn't be better harnessed to promote and support the Dandy revamp.

But then of course we have so many originated kids comics in this country that we can happily afford to lose 50% of them in one go.

Well, at least we still have the excellent Dandy annual.

I would like to thank all those who worked on the revamp, you've become a part of history and should be rightly proud of your contribution.

Anonymous said...

They sure are part of history...they killed the Dandy with below par artwork and should have the decency to be ashamed of their contribution to its demise. Of all the artists named in the above whitewash only a couple of them are worth a damn.

Lew Stringer said...

You forgot to sign your post.

Were the artists you dislike also responsible for the demise of the thousands of other comics over the past 100 plus years?

The Dandy had begun losing sales long before any of us started working on it. Y'think there might be other factors involved in its demise after its 75 year run?

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign my post? I'd say that's kind of presumptuous on your part. Your question is a fatuous non-point. None of them worked on thousands of other comics over the past 100 years. Yes, the comic had begun to lose sales before any of you had started working on it and there were certainly other factors, but after the relaunch and an initial jump, the comic hemorrhaged readers like nobody's business. Seems some people just can't accept the simple fact of cause and effect.

Real Dandy lover.

Lew Stringer said...

I thought my point was fairly obvious but I'll clarify it. Thousands of titles have folded throughout the history of comics, despite the quality of their contributors. For you to say a few artists you didn't like "killed The Dandy" is what's presumptuous.

Stu Munro said...

Nice blog George! I quite liked the Xtreme years, there was some ace comics during thoat time. Mind you, I didn't buy it very often though, as it was so hard to find!

Plus I was in my thirties :P

Anonymous said...

Yes, your attempted point was obvious, but still far from convincing. There could be many reasons for past comics' success or failure, despite the quality or otherwise of the contributors. In the Dandy's case, however, here are the facts, of which you're well aware.

1) Dandy is relaunched and actually sells more than previously for a while.

2) Sales then start to drop off, resulting in shops ordering fewer copies because they're not selling.

3) Comic is cancelled due to poor sales. Why? Not enough people liked it, pure and simple.

For you to say a few artists you DO like wasn't the overriding factor in the comics fate at that particular point in time is what's presumptuous, if not ridiculous. The comic was operating under the exact same conditions after the relaunch as before, so why the almost sudden drastic drop in sales? Obviously it was some OTHER factor that made the difference, and reader disappointment with the comic is the logical and obvious explanation.

The relaunched comic attracted unprecedented levels of criticism in the media and on the internet for a reason. It's mainly those who provoked that criticism who won't accept the obvious truth.

Nice chatting with you.

Lew Stringer said...

Yet those exact same artists you said "are not worth a damn" are now working for The Beano and its sales haven't had the same "drastic drop" as The Dandy. Just the sort of steady dip that most other comics and magazines (that none of us work for) have had in the same period.

You'd think that if those artists were comic-killers to the extent you claim, The Beano's sales would have also plummeted to the same significant degree wouldn't you?

Better luck with your next theory.

Jaks said...

The Dandy must of done something right to last 75 yrs.

George Shiers said...

Wham lasted for just three and a half years which isn't too long a run but is still considered on of the greatest British comics to date.

@Stu - The Dandy Xtreme did have some good comic strips in it but they were overpowered but all the filler material which made the product as a whole feel as though it was put together on a very limited budget. The new Dandy was far better content wise (in my opinion) as it had far more original material.

Stu Munro said...

Oh yes, the new Dandy was much better, I agree. I bought it every week from the relaunch and looked forward to it too. Such a shame it didn't last.

I didn't read Wham! and I'm not sure I ever have! The shame! I used to get Whizzer & Chips and Buster as when I was a kid I thought all the others were boring! I didn't like the fact that so many of the strips looked the same, had the same story every week and they were less anarchic.

Strangely, I always bought the Beano and Dandy comic libraries! I think it was because I knew I wouldn't have to read anything but the characters I liked (Mainly Pup Parade, Calamity James, Minnie The Minx and Beryl The Peril).

My Mum and Sisiter used to work in a newsagent, so I could go in at the weekends and sit and read all the comics (even Viz and it's various knock-offs)! Great fun!

Anonymous said...

No Lew, because those artists so far haven't been allowed to overwhelm the look of the Beano like they did the Dandy, simple as that. However, let's look at your theory for a moment. The Beano is subject to the same factors you claim were responsible for the Dandy's situation, so, according to your explanation, the Beano should also have suffered the same significant drop in sales as its former companion. It hasn't, which blows your rationalization out of the water. Fact remains though, Beano sales are down in the last six months, not up. If you're saying that none of those lost sales are as a result of readers not liking changes in the comic, then that's a triumph of optimism in the face of experience and is totally unrealistic. Think about it. You'd have expected more of those 7,000 Dandy readers who weren't already buying the Beano to have started when they're favourite artists came on board, but sales haven't increased, they've gone down. And you seem to be suggesting that because other comics are also down the Beano's decrease isn't significant. So, as all four engines on the plane are dead instead of just one there's no need to worry? You're obviously a glass half full person, but you're ignoring the fact the glass has a crack in the base. Better luck with your next attempt at patronization.

Jaks, the Dandy must have done something right for most of those 75 years, just not in the last few.

Lew Stringer said...

It's easy to go anonymous and point the finger of blame after the comic's folded isn't it? How would you have saved The Dandy, bearing in mind its sales were falling considerably for years before the artists you dislike came on board?

Kid said...

A fight! I'll hold the coats.

Anonymous said...


Kid said...

While we're waiting for Anon's response, I'll weigh in with an observation of my own, if I may.

Giving poison to a patient who's already dying doesn't mean that it's not the poison that kills him. The Dandy's circulation may have been in decline for years, but the temporary increase in sales after its relaunch proves that interest in the comic was stimulated. Sadly, it just couldn't be sustained, which tends to suggest that, despite any other factors at play, it was the content that drove readers away (in droves, to indulge in a pun).

Anyway, everyone knows my views on the matter, so I'll leave the other two to battle it out on their own.

Lew Stringer said...

It's not a "fight" or a "battle". Just a discussion. Thanks for your response.

There was a massive print run on the first new-look Dandy, so sales would naturally drop off afterwards, just as they do after any new launch.

Another factor to consider is that Dandy Xtreme was a fortnightly. The new Dandy was a weekly. Expecting readers to adjust to the weekly frequency, in an age when most comics are monthly, would play a part in sales too. The fact that The Dandy's relaunch wasn't promoted in Thomson's other publications would also play a part.

Of course *some* readers would be put off by some new stories. That has always been the case with comics since day one! But to constantly focus on blaming the artists, calling their work "shameful", whilst playing down all the other factors just comes across as mean-spirited and too simplistic.

Kid said...

As you're addressing me, I'll respond. The print-run wouldn't have dropped off if the relaunch issue had completely sold out (which it didn't). Naturally enough, once DCT saw what had sold, they tapered subsequent print runs accordingly.

The Dandy may not have been promoted in other DCT publications, but there was certainly media attention, doubtless initiated by Thomson's themselves. It was that public awareness of the relaunch which ensured more copies of the increased print-run actually shifted.

Also, I believe you're making too much of the change in frequency. Readers now had the chance of buying their favourite comic twice as often, which would surely lead to increased sales on that basis alone. Even if some of them continued to only buy it fortnightly, that wouldn't necessarily mean reduced sales per issue, only ever other issue, but the overall result would still be higher.

Somebody else may have alluded to this, but I think it's significant. No other comic which failed over the years ever generated the intense criticism that The Dandy received. That's pretty unique. Therefore, to say that negative reaction had nothing to do with the comic's ultimate failure is what seems too simplistic to me.

Instead of all blowing your own trumpets, it would be much more honest if you put your hands up and said "We got it wrong! Sorry, we'll try and do better in future!" However, you're all shifting the blame elsewhere and washing your hands of any culpability.

Of course, not all contributors were below par, but some undoubtedly were. And that's not just the opinion of a few 'bitter nostalgists', that seemed to be the general public reaction to it.

And nobody's playing down all the other factors - it's just that, in The Dandy's specific case, they're not as relevant as you and others make out.

Alan said...

kid anonymous what killed sparky?

Anonymous said...

Sparky would be considered a runaway success today if it had the circulation figures it did when it was cancelled. Who killed it? DC Thomson. How would I have saved the Dandy? Better artists than some of the ones they used for a start. It would still have been a gamble but there's no harm in stacking the odds in your favour.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to look at the full sales figures (from Down The Tubes) which shows The Beano started recent records (in July-Dec 2006) with 74,567 sales. By July-Dec 2012, that was down to 36,081 - a loss of 40,000 or so readers over 6 years. I wonder how those who maintain that not changing anything, keeping a traditional look, explain that? It hardly seems to be the key to success some suggest. Between July-Dec 2007 and Jan-June 2008 alone, the circulation dropped from 74,419 to 61,931 - a loss of some 13,000 readers, yet (as far as I can recall) there were no massive style changes or anything then- what happened there?

By comparison, a drop of some 4,000 readers this year is relatively stable for the comic, despite Dandy artists now drawing Roger the Dodger, Bananaman, Numskulls and Ball Boy, and drawing many of the mini strips, and writing the scripts for Dennis, The Bash Street Kids and Minnie. They're in the comic far more than they were, yet we're not seeing a Dandy-style exodus...not like the 13,000 who vanished for some reason above.

Number Cruncher.

Leonard Phillips said...

Weirdly, the abominable, terminal Sh*teness of Xtreme is always played down or ignored by the folks saying the 2010 Dandy relaunch was a travesty or similar.

Imo, The Dandy was already dead between 2007 and 2010 anyway.. if anything,the 2010-12 version was a pleasantly unexpected if ultimately unsuccessful revival of something MUCH closer to the original spirit of the comic.

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between losing about half your readers in six years compared to losing them in six months. Part of the explanation in Beano's case might be readers growing up and moving on without new readers replacing them. Also rising prices may well be a factor, which can't explain Dandy's drop in sales as the price actually decreased with the relaunch. And nobody's saying don't change anything. All I'm saying is if they use different artists they should be good ones. These Dandy artists haven't increased sales on Beano, that much is sure.

Anonymous said...

The Dandy lost 7,000 readers, that's true...what of The Beano losing 13,000 in the same length of time, as detailed above? I'm genuinely interested as to what happened there. A price rise? Why did good artists not stop the loss there? Why was The Dandy losing half that number pounced upon, but The Beano's (almost double) loss at that time seemingly ignored and deemed okay?

What should The Beano do? I hear a lot of crowing about losing readers, but no solutions. Should it remain traditional, and keep losing readers albeit at a slower pace? Or have kids' humour comics like these just had their time, and nothing will reverse the decline?

Number Cruncher

Lew Stringer said...

That's a very good point, Leonard.

For three years the Xtreme revamp had attracted readers who expected a feature-dominated magazine and a free gift every issue. But even that was losing sales. So when it changed back to a pure comic those Xtreme readers were probably quite disappointed their magazine + free gift package had vanished.

Most of the readers who *did* like comic strips, who had left in 2007, when it went Xtreme, were never going to come back because they were older by then and had moved on. So it was all hinging on a new generation of readers to suddenly like a 'new', non-licensed traditional comic, and, as we know from the evidence of The Beano being the only other one left, that wasn't going to be easy *whatever* the standard of the contributions.

As others have said, we should praise it for being a brave venture, not condemn the people who tried to rescue the comic.

Kid said...

Nobody's blaming them for trying - it's the failing and even hastening the comic to its doom that some people take issue with. (As well as pointing the finger of blame at everything else for their failure.)

The Beano losing 13,000 in six months could be down to a price rise, reprint material, a mixture of anything in fact - truth is, we just don't really know. However, just because one comic loses readers for no discernible reason doesn't necessarily mean we can't determine the reasons for another comic's decline - and there's still a significant difference between the two scenarios.

In The Dandy's case, sales actually rose after the relaunch, demonstrating that it had made a difference - that wasn't so in The Beano's case. That's why I and others think the relaunch not keeping new readers and losing old ones is relevant in this specific case.

However, if The Dandy had been a huge success, it still wouldn't alter my opinion on some of the strips. It would merely have demonstrated that, in my opinion, readers were less discerning than they used to be.

As someone has already pointed out, when other comics lose readers, there isn't a big hullabaloo in the press about it, nor is there fevered debate on the internet. I think the fact that there was in The Dandy's case is connected to its fairly swift decline after the revamp.

As for Dandy Xtreme, I don't think its awfulness has been played down at all. However, when The Dandy said it was returning to its comic roots, I think a lot of people were expecting The Dandy of old and were put off when that didn't happen. It was too radical and just not The Dandy that most people wanted.

Anyway, I've said most of this before and I'm not out to change anyone's mind on the subject, so unless someone says something that's worth addressing, I'm out.

J said...

The kiddies it was pitched for wouldn't be expecting the Dandy of old. Why? It was before their times.

Anonymous said...

The parents who bought it for them would be.

Jim said...

The same parents who didn't buy Classics from the Comics?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the same parents who obviously DID buy Classics from the Comics for a good many years. Anyway, I suppose the Dandy not being what parents or oldies were expecting accounts for the public reaction the comic generated, while the fact it was rotten explains why younger readers abandoned it. Both were factors in the relaunch being unsuccessful.

Jim said...

Them parents and kids didn't like the old style Dandy enough kid or it would not have been revamped in 2004. And 2007. And 2010. You 're welcome .

Kid said...

I think you're getting your commenters mixed up, but seeing as you aimed your remark at me, I'll respond to it.

Firstly, I would say that The Dandy didn't need revamped at any time in its history, it merely needed publicity.

Secondly, it's obvious that the kids it was aimed at didn't like the new-style Dandy enough or it would not have been cancelled.

Did you have a point?

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

You're right, it didn't need revamped, it should've stayed just as it was in 1937 and never changed.

Anonymous said...

Evolving is different from revamping. How long are you going to keep sniping inane comments, 'anon' above? Might as well give it up, you've lost the argument when you resort to this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Not inane. Dandy was revamped in 1960 or 1961. Change is necessary. v

Lew Stringer said...

I think this thread has wandered off track a little but I just want to mention something:

Kid, bear in mind that the 2004 revamp took place *because* the old traditional style was losing readers. The spiraling down of readers started with the classic version you liked, despite it featuring fantastically talented artists. How does that sit with your insistence that modern artists caused its downfall? It means there must be other factors more to blame, surely?

We get that you didn't like the art styles in the new Dandy, Kid, but to call it "a great big steaming pile of poo" and to say those of us involved should be ashamed is just unnecessarily insulting. You've been saying numerous things like this online about The Dandy's artists for over three years now. Children's comics haven't been aimed at you since you left that target group over 40 years ago. Let it be.

Anonymous said...

Change happens anyway, at its own pace, and no one objects to that. Although the Dandy changed over the years, it happened almost imperceptibly, giving the impression that it hadn't changed at all. It was only obvious when a seventies issue was directly compared with a forties one for example. (Dandy Xtreme was an exception to this of course.) The 2010 revamp was just too drastic a change at the one time and succeeded only in offending parents and alienating readers. Dandy Xtreme was awful, but the revamp was just as bad in a different way. Now, I really think everything has been covered, addressed and dealt with. Let's not drag this out any longer than is necessary by going round in circles.

Kid said...

Just before we all jump off the merry-go-round, I trust no one will mind me responding to Lew's last comment.

Lew you're merely repeating points that have already been demonstrated to have been stretched beyond that which they can be legitimately applied to, so I rather think you're the one who should "let it be". Also, you seem to want it both ways. On the one hand you vigorously deny that the style of the new Dandy lost enough readers to cause its cancellation, but dogmatically claim that the style of the old Dandy was responsible for it losing its audience down through the years to the point of cancellation.

There are, as you have correctly pointed out, many factors in the steady, gradual decline of a comic's circulation. Such as, other things for kids to spend their pocketmoney on, changing tastes, readers growing up and moving on, price rises, etc., etc. No one, to my knowledge, has ever disputed this. However as has already been pointed out, the situation with the relaunched Dandy was unique, and 'though the above factors doubtless had an effect on The Dandy's long-term decline, they cannot adequately account for its sudden, rapid descent after the relaunch; a relaunch that actually saw circulatiuon increase for a short while.

This can surely only be explained by - after an initial surge in interest - readers not liking what the comic had become and abandoning it. True, readers are capable of disliking even well-drawn, well-written stuff if it's not to their tastes, but the public outcry which followed in the new Dandy's wake testifies to the fact that the comic was regarded as an offensive aberration to all but a diehard, minority group of readers. However, my tastes in art are based on objective criteria and not just on what I like or dislike. Having said that, I tend to like good art and dislike bad art, and some of the strips in The Dandy were not fit for purpose. Flat, basic, poorly-rendered art fighting with the lettering for space; too many close-ups of talking heads, repetitive panels, with none of the grace, fluidity or skill that a comic strip page requires to do its job as effectively as it can.

It's interesting that you say it's insulting of me to describe the comic as "poo", but readily agree that Dandy Xtreme was "terminal sh*teness" - double standards, surely. I'll tell you what is truly insulting - a bunch of self-serving cartoonists bleating on about what a magnificent job they did and blaming everything but themselves for the comic's failure, despite the evidence to the contrary. True, the ultimate responsibility rests with the editor for giving work to inexperienced artists of limited ability to begin with, but they contributed to the comic's downfall, sure enough. You say the comic wasn't aimed at my age group, which may well be true, but what you're conveniently forgetting is that the target audience didn't like it either, which is why they abandoned it. That's worth reiterating: the very audience it was aimed at rejected it, which, given the alacrity with which they jumped ship, proves its failure was not due to the gradual, long-term erosion that comics are usually heir to, but a much more immediate cause. Had the comic not been revamped, it would probably have trudged on to cancellation anyway, but the process would have taken longer.

You're always saying that kids liked the new Dandy, and it's true that some did. However, more kids didn't, so the comic failed on the very level that you're so fond of touting as proof of it being a quality product. It wasn't - the balance of evidence is against you, so chill out, stop flogging a dead horse and just learn to live with it.

You'll be much happier. Trust me, I'm a Doctor (Who fan).

Lew Stringer said...

Kid said:
"It's interesting that you say it's insulting of me to describe the comic as "poo", but readily agree that Dandy Xtreme was "terminal sh*teness" - double standards, surely."

I didn't say that! I agreed with Leonard Phillips when he said that The Dandy was already dead during the Xtreme years, and my comment clearly followed up on that.

Kid said:
"I'll tell you what is truly insulting - a bunch of self-serving cartoonists bleating on about what a magnificent job they did and blaming everything but themselves for the comic's failure, despite the evidence to the contrary."

That may be the way you've perceived it, but it's wrong. Artists saying they're proud or pleased to work on a comic is not boasting. But you've had that low opinion of us for three years now so no one will convince you otherwise.

Kid said:
"the public outcry which followed in the new Dandy's wake..."

There was no "public outcry". It was mainly you and a few others banging on about it on various blogs and forums. Many people said they liked the new material, including George the owner of this blog. The negative comments did not outweigh the positives.

No more to add.

Kid said...

Sadly, when you indulge in those kind of disingenuous gymnastics, there's quite a bit more to add.

You didn't say that you disagreed with Leonard's assessment of the comic, but more to the point, you didn't upbraid him for referring to the comic as "terminal sh*teness", whereas you felt quite free to try and take me to task for my similar comment. That's double-standards in anyone's book.

Also, another misrepresentation: I didn't say that artists being proud of their involvement were "boasting", I said that (in some cases) their refusal to even consider the possibility that their efforts might've helped in the comic's earlier-than-expected demise was insulting. What's beyond argument is that they certainly didn't prevent it. Once again, a difference in what I said and what you claim I said.

And again, yet another misrepresentation: I was a late visitor to the party, an outcry was already under way in some sections of the press, I believe, and on the internet before I added my voice.

I'm afraid that the negatives far outweighed the positives; it was an extremely telling "comment" when half the readers registered their opinion of the new Dandy by walking away from it. That's the reality, m'boy - live with it.

Anyway, before you drag the tone of the discussion down as you always manage to do when you don't get the last word, I'll gracefully bow out.

There really is nothing more to add, but I doubt that will stop you.

Jim said...

Don't waist your breath Lew, Kid can twist things more than Chubby Checker.

Anonymous said...

George, well done in taking a neutral stance in the discussion even 'though you share lew's opinion on the Dandy revamp. Both sides made some interesting points, but kid's cover the facts better and he twists nothing that I can see. Shame about *jim's* interruptions, which never added anything useful to the discussion. Some people can't just accept the facts and move on.

orknoZ said...

its nice when you can agree with yourself

Stu Campbell said...

Sez you, with no sense of irony.

Lew Stringer said...

Final comment: Kid Robson, play the ball, not the man. I've misrepresented nothing, nor am I disingenuous, so that's quite *enough* of those smear tactics. OK?

George, thanks for allowing the discussion on your blog. I'll take up no more of your time.

George Shiers said...

I think this conversation has just about reached the end but if it does continue please stick to the topic.

Kid said...

George, with your kind indulgence, I'll just address Lew's misleading remarks in what I hope will be my final comment on the matter.

Lew, you're the one who's playing the man and not the ball. You singled me out for criticism for calling The Dandy "a great big steaming pile of poo", saying it was insulting, yet gave Leonard a free pass on calling Dandy Xtreme "terminal sh*teness". That's double standards - and as fine an example of playing the man as I've ever seen.

I have given two specific instances where you misrepresented the facts, yet while you deny it, you fail to address it. You know exactly what I said, and you also know it wasn't what you claim I said. That's disingenuous misrepresentation - end of story.

And the only person indulging in smear tactics is you, by trying to suggest that I'm indulging in smear tactics. Once again, playing the man instead of the ball.

Perhaps, in your inevitable response, you can get back on topic by talking about The Dandy, and not me. I'll accord you the same courtesy. Okay?

Good. Hopefully normal service can now be resumed.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that when it comes to The Beano's 13,000 loss in circulation we're open to all ideas as to the cause, but for The Dandy's there's only one.

A price rise was mentioned as a possible cause for The Beano's slip (I think, looking back, the comic rose from 85p to 99p over the period in question) so why is the same not considered for The Dandy? Sure, per issue The Dandy cost less than before at £1.50, but the comic was fortnightly and not weekly beforehand, where it cost £2.50 every two weeks. Post-relaunch, over the same two-week period, getting The Dandy actually would set someone back an extra 50p - or an extra pound over a month. Perhaps this also factored into things? It's not entirely impossible, and I wonder why such things aren't considered.

I also wonder, seeing how The Beano's latest figures reveal that the lowest-selling issue of the recent period was the 'Richard Hammond' issue (down around 4,000 readers on a normal issue) whether the celeb-heavy focus of the relaunched Dandy also put some people off? Maybe celebrities don't quite have the pull in comics these days? Once upon a time, seeing a celeb outside of TV was a novelty - unless you had a video recorder to rewatch your favourites on tape! - but these days it's much easier to catch up with the 'real deal' (and even interact with them!) via the internet et al...possibly the novelty has worn off.

I think it is a mite simplistic to claim that The Dandy's loss was definitely down to just one thing, especially given the variables I've mentioned above. I think it's much more complicated than we may think.

Number Cruncher.

Anonymous said...

Number Cruncher: "Dandy artists now ... writing the scripts for Dennis, The Bash Street Kids and Minnie."
Which Dandy artist writes the scripts for Minnie?

From MJ

Kid said...
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Kid said...
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Kid said...

With respect, 'Number Cruncher', the points you raise have already been addressed a number of times on this page, but allow me to reiterate in case I wasn't as clear as I should have been ('though I don't see how).

No one has actually suggested that The Dandy's decline was down to just one thing; only that, given the circumstances (along with other contributing factors), the main reason seems to have been that readers grew dissatisfied with the comic after the relaunch. It seems highly unlikely that this dissatisfaction was unconnected to some of the contents being, in my opinion, below par, causing readers to abandon ship.

In the instance of The Beano losing 13,000 readers, unlike The Dandy it had not just gained an increased circulation after a relaunch only to see it rapidly dissipate, so the two cases are not exactly comparable in my view.

As for The weekly Dandy costing readers £3 a fortnight as opposed to the previous £2.50 (due to increased frequency), this has also been considered and addressed. Readers were hardly obliged to buy the comic every week (no continued stories) - they could quite happily have continued to buy a copy every two weeks as before. However, the fact that it was now available every week made it likely that more copies would sell, which is indeed what seems to have happened - at least for a while. A cheaper comic at twice the frequency creates twice the opportunity for it to sell, but the initial surge in sales soon fell away. To suggest that this decline was due to every other factor but reader dissatisfaction is what seems simplistic to me.

No one disputes that the gradual decline of The Dandy (or any other periodical) was down to various long-term factors of which we are all aware. However, The Dandy's swift decline so soon after a relaunch that initially increased sales is a rather unique scenario, and should be assessed according to the specific context peculiar to its situation.

(Apologies - repost due to typos in previous two submissions.)

Jim said...

Sales always drop a lot after the curiosity of a launch subsides.

Anonymous said...

It certainly happens with brand new comics with no previous readership. However, the difference is the Dandy was selling around 15,000 per issue before the relaunch, which then increased for a short while. Then it nosedived to around half of its previous circulation figure, NOT to what it had been before. Any way you look at it, the relaunch was a failure. Even DC Thomson don't deny the fact.

Anonymous said...

Due to many equal factors not mainly the content.

MBM said...

Harry Hill put my kids off it.

Anonymous said...

Various factors led to its slow but steady decline over the years. However, when the decision was taken to cancel it, it was mainly because, AT THAT POINT IN TIME, the content had failed to keep new readers and chased away old ones. Why? It was awful.

George Shiers said...

It could well have been the celebrity strips such as Harry Hill that drove readers away, MBM. Even though I enjoyed the Harry Hill strip there were issues when I thought that the celebrity content was too much, I remember a few issues that were almost 100% celebrity filled, and it all felt a bit overwhelming.

Anon, please can we stay away from saying things like "it was awful". That's an opinion and it doesn't really help out the debate in any way.

Anonymous said...

Readers react to content in different ways don't they. Some love stories that some people hate and some people hate stories other people love. That's the same for every comic yes? The new look style Dandy lasted for two years and two months. That's longer than some comics like Monster Fun or Shiver and Shake or Hoot and they were around when comics were very popular. The quality of those old comics was top draw, so we can't point at content for their demise can we? So why is The Dandy always picked on by one or two people for its content mainly causing its death?

Anonymous said...

But it WAS awful. That's the opinion of myself and others, and just as valid as those who express the opposite opinion that it was good. In what way does people saying they thought the comic was wonderful help the debate?

Actually, Anon 2, yes we can point at content for the demise of other comics like the ones you mention, in as much as clearly not enough readers liked the content regardless of them being *top drawer* to keep those comics going. The question isn't really about whether readers not liking the content killed the Dandy, but whether the content was deserving of being better received than it was.

The answer? No, it wasn't. The Dandy took a huge chance by employing artists of a far lower calibre than it usually did and that was the chief reason it chased away readers at that particular point in time, regardless of how the comic got into that position to begin with.

The comic is relaunched, gains new readers, loses new readers, loses regular readers, gets cancelled. It's as plain as Ally Sloper's nose.

Anon2 said...

Lower calibre artists?? Most of them had worked for Thompsons for years already. Readers wouldn't stop buying a 32 page comic just for one or two pages by new artists. I think it was mainly down to the sudden lack of free gifts that made people stop buying every issue.

Kid said...

I'm surprised that this topic is still running, to be honest - everything's been covered by now, more than once. Some of the last few commenters should read what's already been said and think things through to their logical conclusions. The application of a little thought would show them that their repeated objections are redundant.

For instance: If the majority of people stopped buying the comic because there were no bagged giveaways, then it's unlikely that the circulation would have initially increased, so that idea doesn't adequately account for things. However (for the point of discussion), if we imagine for a moment that it did, then that suggests that the content (by those same artists according to Anon2) was never what attracted readers to begin with.

Therefore, if it didn't attract readers in the former case, then it's unlikely that it attracted them in the latter case either. That tends to confirm that, either way you look at it, based on Anon2's thinking, the content failed to attract and hold readers from the very start.

So that means that the content was to 'blame', but it doesn't necessarily mean that the content (not all of it anyway) was inferior - that must be judged on different criteria. And looking at the obvious shortcomings of quite a few strips in the relaunched Dandy and comparing them to patently far more competently rendered work, then the truth of the matter seems unassailable. (The unprecedented stushie that followed in the wake of the relaunch tends to confirm that on its own.)

Anon2 said...

At the end of the day The Dandy lasted for 75 years, longest living comic ever. It was bound to end one day.

George Shiers said...

I think that sums up everything wonderfully, and all that's left to say is...

The End.

Anonymous said...

Very true, but it's what ended it that we were discussing.

The Beano has now overtaken it as the longest-lasting comic ever. I wonder how long it's got left.

George Shiers said...

It's be nice if the Beano could reach 100 years. It's a long way off but that'd be really special!