One of the most popular children’s comics of all time, and the oldest still in publication, The Dandy was launched on 4 December 1937 by DC Thomson of Dundee, Scotland – a family firm of Victorian values and presbyterian morality.
For 2d, you got a free gift, adventure stories and cartoon strips with speech bubbles – all part of a bold new format.
The first Dandy annual appeared in time for Christmas 1938 as The Dandy Monster Comic. Korky the Cat appeared on the front page from the first issue until 1984 (when he was ousted by Desperate Dan).
Some of the Dandy favourites were;
Korky the Cat
Since the first issue of The Dandy, Korky has gone through thousands of contortions trying to get a free feed. In the early years, he was thin and short, but by the early 1940s, he had been humanised and was being plagued by hordes of mice who continually conspired to make his life a misery.
Drawn by Dudley Dexter Watkins, Desperate Dan was a big whiskery and freakishly strong cowboy who lived with his Aunt Aggie in Cactusville and used to break things constantly due to his size and strength.
Many moments of merriment and mirth ensued when Dan adapted oversize things to make daily implements for himself (EG: Power pylons and cable from the national grid to make himself an electric blanket).
Dan had a naughty nephew and a naughty (and very ugly) niece who invariably had the last laugh which would make up for the belting Dan always gave them.
A tale of an armour-suited teacher set in mediaeval times where everyone said “ye” this and “ye” that. His class contained a witch and a wizard (and a roundhead). The teacher in the armour was called simply “Teacher” and it was actually quite a violent strip (especially for The Dandy). Teacher always won in the end and beat or whipped the kids.
Other regulars included Keyhole Kate; Winker Watson; Black Bob (a Lassie-like sheepdog who assisted his master in solving sundry rural mysteries); The Smasher; Corporal Clott; Brassneck the robot schoolboy; and strong girl Pansy Potter.
DC Thomson realised early on that they had a hit on their hands with The Dandy, and had to come up with another similar product. Just 35 weeks after the launch of The Dandy, Thomson debuted The Beano.