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Desperate Dandy hits hard times

August 14, 2012 in General, News

The future of The Dandy as a weekly printed comic appears to be in jeopardy. Its publisher says that no decision has been made, but Procartoonists.org understands that the comic is likely to be coming to an end in September.

The Dandy cover

The Dandy © DC Thomson

A Dandy cartoonist told us: “They emailed me last week saying that in all likelihood it would be ending in September and they were sad about it.

“For the last issue they are going to revive a whole load of old characters.”

First published by DC Thomson in December 1937, the comic is celebrating its 75th birthday this year.

Comics fans and creators have been rallying around online, and a #SaveTheDandy campaign is already under way on Twitter. Reaction to the news has been posted online by the Dandy cartoonists Jamie Smart and Phil Corbett. Many are passing around a link to a blog post written some months ago on praise of The Dandy, which reminds us that it is currently a vibrant and creative comic.

The Guardian media site reported yesterday that the comic is now selling 8,000 copies a week, down from two million in its heyday. Like all print media companies in the current climate, DC Thomson has been having problems.

Updated: 2pm, August 14

In the modern fashion there has been a lot of reaction online, notably with the #SaveTheDandy campaign. Of course, the single best way to do this is by buying the product but, as this excellent piece of work at Down the Tubes (derived from the Audited Bureau of Circulation figures) shows, the decline of print comic sales is a widespread and longstanding phenomenon.

You can see the comics historian Paul Gravett interviewed alongside cartoonist Gary Northfield at Sky News here.

Reaction from cartoonists and readers has varied from the sad to the conflicted. The latter not least about the business of the print industry which lies at the heart of this sad story.

Updated: 2pm 16th August. Publishers DC Thomson have confirmed The Dandy will cease print publication from December 2012. You can read their statement released using twitter, here.

The Round-up

August 3, 2012 in General, Links, News

Drawn points us to a public reply by cartoonist and illustrator Alec Longstreth, in response to a request for spec work. It’s always worth remembering that cartoonists should be paid for their endeavours, so be sure to give it a read.

Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has won his claim against the country’s government over the seizure of 66 of his books and a collage in 2010. Read more about the case here.

British comics enthusiast Phil Shrimpton – who has more than 4,500 copies of The Beano and Dandy – has started trading his collection online. Meanwhile, Procartoonists.org member Tim Harries gets nostalgic about the Beano on his blog.

As always, please feel free to comment below – and also to point us towards any stories we might have missed.

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

November 25, 2011 in Links

The prolific cartoonist David Langdon, whose long career included work for The New Yorker, Punch and The Spectator,  has died at the age of 97. Among his achievements, Langdon claimed to have originated the ‘open mouth’ expression now used by almost every gag cartoonist to clarify who is speaking in their compositions. See The Guardian for an extensive obituary, while the Bucks Free Press has more here.

Gerald Scarfe‘s savage and iconic depictions of Margaret Thatcher have led to a newly discovered species of pterosaur being named after the caricaturist. The Portsmouth News explains all here.

DC Thomson has announced a digital subscription service for its weekly comics, The Dandy and The Beano, allowing readers to get their fix via iPad or iPhone. The Courier has more details here.

Finally, while writing about the recent sale of a Roy Lichtenstein painting, ArtInfo.com questions the value – or lack of it – that is placed on original comic art, compared with the ‘fine art’ it inspires.

The Dandy relaunches (again)

October 20, 2010 in News

The Dandy, Britain’s longest running comic, published by DC Thomson, is due to relaunch next week with a new look.

Not much has been made public about the makeover, but the current unpopular fortnightly magazine-style incarnation,  Dandy Xtreme, is expected to be ditched in favour of a return to a weekly comic almost entirely composed of cartoons and strips.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that there’ll be new strips by Beano and Viz cartoonist Lew Stringer (but not, apparently, called ‘Blurp’), newcomer Andy Fenton and the PCO’s very own Alexander Matthews, alongside current favourites Cuddles and Dimples by Nigel Parkinson and Desperate Dan by Jamie Smart, who also drew the new logo, above.

The Dandy‘s website, www.dandy.com, is also expected to be revamped, and you can follow developments on its Twitter stream as well. The new-look Dandy goes on sale on 27th October at the new price of £1.50.

Artist of the Month – Steve Bright

August 21, 2009 in Events

The PCO Artist of the month for August is Steve Bright and Bloghorn asked him which other cartoonists’ work he admired.

There are far too many names to list here, and yet I’m neither a follower nor expert in any other cartoonist’s work. I have a few books by other cartoonists I enjoy, but no definitive collection.

There are also many little known names whose work almost certainly influenced a large percentage to pick up a pencil and begin drawing cartoons. They seldom get a mention beyond the forums populated by UK comics geeks, so I’ll mention a few here.

Cartoon greats such as David Sutherland, Robert Nixon, Ron Spencer, Bob McGrath, Ken Harrison, John K. Geering, Jim Petrie, Reg Parlett and Tom Paterson may reside deeper in the shadows than the more famous comic greats such as Ken Reid, Leo Baxendale and Dudley Watkins, but they have had every bit as profound an influence on me as any other cartoonist.

Many cartoonists cut their cartoon teeth (like me) on the likes of the Beano, Dandy and Whizzer & Chips. They may not know the names, but they certainly were influenced by them.

Bloghorn_Steve_Bright_No2
Did Steve have any tips for wannabe cartoonists?

These days, I would not advise anyone to take up drawing cartoons as a full-time career, no matter how talented they were. I actually feel it would be irresponsible and my conscience won’t allow me to do it. Very different to how I viewed it less than 20 years ago.

However, assuming we’re talking about wannabes who are already beyond the Dissuasion Stage, and are focussed, determined and single-bloody-minded enough to have a go regardless, the only really sound advice I think I could give them would be … to copy!

Studying other cartoonists is important, but only by copying (or even tracing) their work will you begin to appreciate the nuances of how they draw, and it will teach you more than any verbal advice can ever come close to. Naturally, I’m not suggesting that anything you copy can be claimed (or sold) as your own, but as a learning device, there is no better in my opinion.

Much of the early part of my career was built on an ability to “ghost” the work of other artists, and that skill was developed by copying the characters as closely as I could, even (and especially) down to the thickness of line they used, and emulating those characteristics as a style, and not just as the odd figure or two.

My own style is a hybrid of many others, and I can vary it significantly from project to project. Certainly, there are many cartoonists who have managed to earn a good living with one particular style throughout their career, but I do think they are the exception.

Being adaptable opens many more doors, some more inspiring than others, but when there are bills to be paid, there’s little room for tying your integrity to one style of drawing. Sometimes a writing ability can be a real asset too.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Beano is too PC, says former editor

September 15, 2008 in General


Beano characters in action (Copyright DC Thomson)

Euan Kerr, former editor of The Beano, tells the Daily Telegraph today that he was asked to tone down many characters during his time at the head of the comic.

Political correctness, he says, is ruining the Beano and the Dandy. Amazingly, he had to stop Dennis the Menace’s attacks on Walter the Softy in the 1980s amid fears that they encouraged “gay bashing”.

You can read the Telegraph interview here.

A hat-tip for this link goes to the Forbidden Planet bog.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Cartoon Exhibition: The Beano in Dundee

August 4, 2008 in General


Amid the coverage of the London launch of the Beano and Dandy Birthday Bash last week at the Cartoon Museum, we should mention that there’s a parallel exhibition in the Beano and Dandy’s home town of Dundee. The exhibition is being held at the Lamb Gallery at the University of Dundee until the 20th September, Monday to Friday 9.30-20.30, Sat 9.30-12.00, and best of all, it’s free to enter!

More details at the University of Dundee’s website. Not being able to attend ourselves, Bloghorn would be keen to hear any reports from the exhibition.

Getting back to the London event, ITN sent a reporter along to cover the event last week, and here’s their report.

Thanks to Lew Stringer for his Blimey! It’s another blog about comics for the above links.

UPDATED:
PCO member Steve Bright, who worked for the comics for more than twenty years, asks us to point out that ITN have made a clanger in their copy. The current editor of The Beano is Alan Digby, not Rigby. Independent Television News, what can you say … thanks for pointing that out Steve.

It’s British cartoon talent

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoon exhibition: Beano and Dandy Birthday Bash

July 30, 2008 in General

Click the above image to enlarge it, and see how many characters you can name

The Beano and Dandy Birthday Bash exhibition opens today at the Cartoon Museum in London.

PCOer Royston Robertson writes: I attended the preview of the show last night and can report that, as you would expect, it’s great fun.

For the cartoonist geeks among us it’s a chance to peer up close at original artwork drawn by some of the much-loved masters of comic art, such as Ken Reid and Dudley Watkins.

But there’s plenty for the younger comic readers too, including activities and quizzes. Can you name all nine Bash Street Kids?

The exhibition spans eight decades and takes in all the Beano and Dandy characters you’d expect to see, from the iconic figureheads of Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan to much-loved characters from the past such as Brassneck, Winker Watson and Pansy Potter (The Strongman’s Daughter, of course).

A highlight for me was the wartime strip showing Lord Snooty taking on Adolf Hitler. Der Führer is unhappy that the Beano is keeping the British nation cheerful and vows to get rid of it. But Snooty and his pals have other ideas. A classic.

I’ll certainly be returning with my kids, and I suggest that anyone with a love of British comics puts it on their must-see list for the summer and autumn. The exhibition runs until November 2.

The museum is running Beano and Dandy events for children throughout August, including family fun days, cartooning masterclass sessions, and chances to meet Beano artists. For more, visit the Cartoon Museum website.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoon exhibition: Beano and Dandy

July 1, 2008 in General

While we’re busy marking 60 years of the NHS this week, let’s not forget that another much-cherished British institution has a significant birthday approaching.

On July 30, The Beano will be 70 years old. London’s Cartoon Museum will be holding a major Beano and Dandy exhibition to celebrate. It will run until November 2 and will feature Dennis the Menace, the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, Lord Snooty, and all the gang. More on this nearer the time.

The Cartoon Museum

The PCO: British cartoon talent

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