The Dandy: 75 Years of Biffs, Bangs and Banana Skins at the Cartoon Museum

By Andy Squires | 19 November 2012
An image of a cartoon of a large cowboy in a red top jumping in the air and laughing
Dandy Characters (2005)© DC Thomson & Co Ltd
Exhibition Preview: The Dandy: 75 Years of Biffs, Bangs and Banana Skins, Cartoon Museum, London, until December 24 2012

The Dandy Comic is 75 years old on December 4, and this display looks back to the comic’s creation in 1937, when publishers DC Thomson – under editor Albert Barnes and artist Dudley D Watkins – first introduced the public to characters such as Korky the Cat, Keyhole Kate and, of course, Desperate Dan, the roughest toughest cowboy on the planet.

It charts its progress through the decades; as a morale boosting tool for the public during the Second World War, through the golden age of comics during the 1950s and 1960s when the record circulation figure stood at an astonishing 2,035,210 copies, and on to new characters introduced during the 1970s and 1980s, such as Bananaman , as well as redesigns bought on by the battle with rival publication The Beano.

Barnes retired as editor in 1982, and two years later a remodelled Dan replaced Korky the Kat on the front cover.

During the past ten years the publication has experimented with a number of alternative formats and platforms. 2007’s Dandy Xtreme appeared with a number of TV and film tie-ins, and this will culminate on its birthday, when a final print issue is released before it re-launches as Dandy in a new digital format.

This new style will combine some favourites from the comic’s great heritage with new material specially created for today’s younger generation.

  • Open 10.30am-5.30pm (12pm-5.30pm Sunday, opens 11am December 3). Admission free. Follow the museum on Twitter @Cartoonmuseumuk.

More pictures:

An image of a black and white illustration of a cowboy jumping from a second world war ship
Dudley D Watkins, Desperate Dan (1940)© DC Thomson & Co Ltd
An image of a colour comic illustration of a cartoon cat playing guitar and having adventures
Charlie Grigg, Korky the Cat (1964)© DC Thomson & Co Ltd
An image of a colour illustration of a cartoon strip featuring a bald man up to capers
Harry Hill, Nigel Parkinson© Harry Hill and Nigel Parkinson under licence to DC Thomson & Co Ltd
An image of a black and white ink cartoon illustration of various farming scenes
Jack Prout, Black Bob (The Dandy) (1949)© DC Thomson & Co Ltd
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