Save The Dandy – A call to arms

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Again.

There’s been quite a lot written about the decline in Dandy sales lately, a lot of it in the form of mouth-foaming ravings on blog comments. These basically split into the “the artwork isn’t that great” camp and the “it’s just what the modern style is like and besides sales of everything are dropping” camp. (The third camp being bewildered casual fans wondering what on earth provoked such fury, such as me). If you ask me in amongst all the molten lolva flowing from the trollcano there were some valid points. However neither side seemed willing to accept the other viewpoint at all, meeting it with circular arguments and personal attacks. (NB: I’ll spare you the links as they were all full of swearing and I want to keep this blog clean, it’s part of my self-publishing site… at the moment the only working part!)

All of this actually made me stop caring about the Dandy. But then I thought why let that get me down? I’m jingoistic and patriotic and usually champion century-old story papers nobody’s even heard of. Of course I should be standing up for our longest-running comic!

What can we do?

Comments from people who work on the Dandy, and parents of children who get it regularly, seem to suggest that actually kids do like it as it is at present. Of course there may be room for improvement and perhaps they’d like it even better if it had 1960’s style Dudley D Watkins artwork. BUT if it goes to the wall it will never have a chance to improve. Lets get the sales up first and worry about the details afterwards.

How can we get the sales up? Well DC Thomson haven’t exactly got Marvel or DC money behind them, they can’t afford mass advertising campaigns to raise awareness of their titles. These are often poorly distributed (not seen the Dandy in Tesco for a while now, for instance) or buried under a ton of stupid toy-covered tie-in rubbish. So, let’s not rely on DC Thomson buying adverts, lets use the oldest trick in the book…

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It was ancient when this was printed!

What trick is that? The trick that they had to rely on when newspapers and magazines were full of ads for quack remedies, there was maybe 3 radio receivers in the whole world and television was a charming theory…

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Yes, lets advertise the comic ourselves! Lets assume out of the 7,500-odd readers that 6,500 are “regulars” and the others might get it one week and not the next. It’s possible that the regulars will know the irregulars and may be able to persuade them to get it more often. And of course there are the friends at school who may not get any comics. If anybody from the Dandy is out there it’s certainly worth a go!

And for those of us “rather beyond” the target age group, we must know somebody with young children! Comic fans are the best-placed to remind new parents that combined words and pictures help develop to literacy. You could even mention that you are trying to learn a foreign language and want to buy comics in that language, then idly add “it’s how I learned English in the first place!”

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Koko, then something about listening… erm…

And then of course there are other comic forums populated by people who may live in Britain but who primarily read American, Franco-Belgian or Japanese comics. Are you a member? Try and get people to rally around one of their home-grown icons!

Finally there’s a slightly more unorthodox tactic. Ever hear of guerrilla gardening? What about guerrilla comic placing? I may have subscribed to the Dandy now (£15 for 15 issues and free delivery!) but, well, I don’t exactly have much room…

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Oh dear

…nor am I really that interested in modern comedy comics, preferring 100 year old adventure papers. So once I’ve read the Dandy’s I’ll be leaving them in places that kids or parents might find them. Because if they read it themselves and decide they want more, the job’s done! (Mind you, make sure that your “guerrilla comic placing” doesn’t get confused with “littering”! )

And before I go, that subscription link again!

http://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/Group-Dandy.aspx

4 Comments

  1. I have been collecting British story papers and comics for decades. In my opinion the poor old Dandy is no longer worth saving. My own collection shows a steady decline in artistic talent after the 1940s onward, after the demise of many of Thomson’s artists. However the publishers have all suffered after the advent of television in Britain at around the same time. Story papers were replaced with picture-story weeklies. The small publishers of irregulars such as G.G. Swan quietly faded away. Also the import of American comic certainly took its toll on the less slick and colorless, outdated local products. The same reasons killed off our Canadian comics. Boys Own, Dandys and Beanos have also vanished. So after the collapse of the Empire British publishers suffered a huge loss of readership. It certainly helped the demise of Boys Own Paper. Like many other old addicts I still enjoy reading my Chums the best of British story papers and comics with the beautiful art work of the genius Roy Wison and other great British artists. Ah, the Good Old Happy Days will they no come back again?

  2. The Dandy has now gone to the wall, well, it\’s become digital-only, but that amounts to the same thing to me. The internet is awash with great comics that cost nothing, why would I pay for one? I wouldn\’t agree that the decline in artistic talent started in the 1940\’s, though. The 50\’s and 60\’s were the best decades! There\’s still some good artists around now, though they either \’work\’ in the small press, or don\’t get their dues for some reason (the Etheringtons are amazing!). The British comic industry does need a good kick up the backside, though. Shame all the cards are stacked against it, the retailers don\’t want to know, the people don\’t care and the media are circling like vultures. It\’s going to take an investment of hundreds of millions from somebody who genuinely cares (not some bigoted Manga fan who just wants the British industry to pump out Naruto copies). I\’m buying lottery tickets as hard as I can XD

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