It was announced this week that Britain’s longest running comic, the Dandy, will cease publication in December with a special 75th anniversary edition. Weekly readership has dropped to less than 8,000, resulting in cancellation of the printed version. (Hopefully the new electronic edition can get more readers.)
Considering the average life of British comic titles, even in their heyday of the 1970’s, was probably only a few years, people can say that it’s had a good run. But it’s still tremendously sad that something that had formed part of the fabric of British culture has passed on. (There’s even a statue of Desperate Dan in the publisher’s home town of Dundee).
However, and contrary to the impression given by some news reports, it’s not the death of British comics just yet.
But there’s not many left either.
While it’s not my place to tell the children of Britain what to read (I’ve not picked up a copy of the Dandy in almost 25 years), I do find the general British view of comics somewhat striking.
Compared with America, Europe and Japan, we generally seem to view comics as a disposable, childish medium. Kid’s stuff. And now we seem to be not even be willing to give some comics to our kids.
Maybe we should start doing that again.