New era for the UK’s longest-running comic after 75-years in print
The UK's longest-running comic has released its final print edition and will now be online only. The Dandy was first published 75 years ago, and is known for iconic characters Korky the Cat, Desperate Dan and Bananaman. According to a press release, the new weekly online edition attempts to reboot the comic for a new era, and 'issue zero' is available to download for free from www.dandy.com. Subsequent issues will cost £1.99.
The online edition of the comic will follow in its print predecessor's footsteps by being weekly, but it will also take advantage of the web by including 'motion effects' and comics featuring gameplay. Craig Ferguson, Editor of the new Dandy said: "We all know how popular digital devices have become with children so we're drawing on our traditional heritage and updating our product to make it relevant for today's children."
Characters appearing in the new format include the aforementioned Desperate Dan and Bananaman, along with The Numskulls, Keyhole Kate, Blinky and Brassneck. Superhero team Retro-Active will also debut in a Dandy first, and the launch issue also includes Dandy Dollop, a "digital pet that you can feed, dance and play with".
Nathan Pitman, founder of Nine Four and also a father of three, questioned the launch site: "Surely the target audience mainly surfs the web using mobile devices, yet the site isn't optimised for mobile. Had it been, it would have been genius—kids could have read it on the bus. They didn't reimagine—they just republished."
The Dandy press release does note that moving beyond the desktop is on the road map, with issue one destined for tablets and smartphones. However, this support will come in app form and with (admittedly adult-oriented) titles like FT blazing the HTML5 trial and succeeding, it's curious the new Dandy launches without any obvious mobile optimisation.