The times, they are a-changing. Even in the world of children’s comics, it seems the economics behind printing physical publications simply aren’t viable anymore. The Dandy, which is Britain’s longest-running comic has produced its final print edition today (December 4, 2012), on its 75th anniversary and will now be relaunching as an online publication only.
The Dandy features well-loved characters such as Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat and Bananaman and once sold 2 million copies a week, though that has dwindled to 8,000. The publishers DC Thomson seem to be making the transition to digital with a degree of trepidation, as it’s an untested move in the world of comics. In future, The Dandy will be available to download as a smartphone and tablet application, whilst the website will have new animated strips, with voiceovers and sound effects. Website users will also be able to watch videos and play interactive games.
Access to the website will be free, but online issues of the comic will be priced at £1.49 each (€1.85 / $2.40) or for a yearly subscription of £29.99. The chief executive of DC Thompson, Ellis Watson, told Associated Press “I appreciate it's almost a deliberately naive venture into the unknown for a publisher that's been cutting down trees for 75 years, squishing them flat and smearing ink all over them. We're not super-slick, we're not Silicon Valley, but what we are is some pretty talented animators and storytellers that are really excited about seeing if we can introduce these wonderful characters to another couple of generations.”