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Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Dandy 75 Years - Special Collector's Edition

Cover illustration by Ken H. Harrison
 Priced at £5.99 and on sale now exclusively from WH Smith is an 88 page "bookazine" format collection of classic Dandy strips which will surely delight any fan of British comics. 

Although it's published to commemorate The Dandy's 75th anniversary the contents mainly focus on the early decades of the comic with nothing beyond 1980. Personally I'm fine with this, as the choices are from the golden years of the comic and as it's a nostalgia collection it makes sense to focus on the past. (Besides, the 75th anniversary hardback, also out now, is a more comprehensive overview of 75 years so there's no point in mirroring that book.) 

Art by Allan Moreley

All of the material in this bookazine is of the highest quality and the strips are superb choices. There's a good selection of Allan Morley strips and some early Desperate Dan pages by Dudley Watkins. 

Art by Davy Law.

From the 1960s there are a bunch of great strips by Davy Law (Corporal Clott), Eric Roberts (Winker Watson), Ken Reid (Big Head and Thick Head) and others. Adventure strips are also represented, including chapters of Blitz Boy, The Crimson Ball and The Umbrella Men.

Art by Charlie Grigg.

This publication would be ideal both for young fans wanting to know more about Dandy strips of the past and for older readers wishing to remind themselves of their happy childhoods. The reproduction of the strips is excellent. It looks as though they've been scanned from the actual comics but they've been cleaned up to a high standard that still retains the fine linework and original dot-screen colouring of the originals. 

Art by Ken Reid.

The last 24 pages of the bookazine are printed on a rougher, pulpier, paper stock and reprint the first issue of The Dandy. For some reason four pages have been omitted (it originally had 28 pages) which seems to defeat the object somewhat. 

Art by Dudley Watkins from The Dandy No.1

As I said at the top of this item, this Special Collectors Edition is only on sale at WH Smith due to an exclusive deal with that chain of stores. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be in every branch, and some (such as my local one) had it tucked well behind this week's Dandy, on the top shelf. If I hadn't spotted the 'D' of the classic logo I wouldn't have noticed it. I would have thought an exclusive deal would mean that Smiths should have them displayed more prominently than that, so happy hunting!


James Spiring said...

Apparently the racist word Rastus was on one of the missing pages (the jokes page). That might be the reason.

Lew Stringer said...

I'd have thought if that was the case they'd have simply changed the name, rather than the heavy handed approach of omitting four pages.

Bearing in mind that the reprint of issue 1 in the bookazine is on different paper stock to the rest of the mag my guess is it's simply down to the printing method that may have limited that section to 3 x 8 pages (24) as 28 isn't divisible by 8. In which case it would have been better to print it 4 x 8 pages (32) by adding an introductory two pages. Perhaps that wasn't possible though.

Manic Man said...

It might be a stupid question, but any idea what pages and missing and what is on them?

David Crookes said...

Two copies left in Bolton's WH Smith. It looks like a nice publication, especially given the low price.

I've heard that issue 1 will be given away with the last ever Dandy. I do hope that it's the full version.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, I hope so too. The full version is in the History of The Dandy book so I think the reason they were excluded in the special was just down to production formats as I mentioned earlier.

The missing pages are:

Pages 16 & 17 (text story 'The Two Brave Runaways')

Page 20 (jokes page)

Page 21 (Three strips: 'Wig and Wam', 'Podge', and Mugg Muggins'.)

Anonymous said...

you always get conspiracy theorists whatever the subject. some people have nothing better to do with their lives....
you are probably spot-on lew, adding 4 extra pages to make 32 page section adds cost that would eat into the bottom line. dc thomson are a business and they need to make a profit!

Lew Stringer said...

I don't think there was any conspiracy theory. It was just a natural thought that, because of the outcry over alleged racism in a past reprint, the pages may have been deleted due to similar concerns. I very much doubt this was the case here though.

Twitter @MLPasterisk said...

Picked up a copy today.

Looks good although the reprint of issue #1 is perhaps a touch redundant if they are planning to include the same reprint with the final issue of the Dandy later in the year.

I think they included the same issue with the recent Royal Mail stamp pack as well.

Barney Boko said...

Bearing in mind it's a comic for children, I doubt if they'll include the questionable content in the last issue give-away either. It's probably not a good idea to introduce to kids an insult they can use to torment their black classmates with.
In a historical overview kind of publication, like the book reviewed here, it wouldn't be as problematic, because it's a look at the past - and alsoit's not really a book for kids.

Lew Stringer said...

I take your point, although the joke in question is in text form, not illustrated, so the offensive name could easily be changed. Better that than obliterate four pages perhaps?

Lew Stringer said...

Incidentally, in case anyone was wondering, the joke itself isn't racist even though the name of a character is:

R: "You'd better keep your eyes open tomorrow"


R: "Cos you won't be able to see if you don't!"

However, I still think the four pages were missing because of production costs, not because of one tiny joke that could easily have been blanked out or changed.

Twitter @MLPasterisk said...

Even odder is that Bamboo Town and three other strips are printed twice in the special. Once at the front and then again in the Dandy #1 reprint included at the back !

Manic Man said...

I must say, i'm not very impressed with the binding of the pages.. due to the style and how Corporal Clott is printed to be 2 page spreads, it makes a fair bit of the text unreadable.. or atlest, very tricky.. It's the problem i've always had with this style of binding.. it needs a centre border, even on spreads, else you are stuff.. Alot of the newer style pocket books have the problem too.. such a shame really..

Dr Andy Oliver said...

Well Im gutted as I cant find it.The nearest WH Smiths is a small one at King's Cross and there's barely any magazines there. No doubt I'll get one at an inflated price on Ebay.

Lew Stringer said...

What about the WH Smith at Euston station? Last time I looked their comic section was a complete mess but it might be worth a look.

I think someone had copies on eBay for 9.99 plus £2 postage, but that's not too steep. eBay take 10% anyway, and a well-packaged parcel would cost more than £2 (including the cost of the envelope) so the seller isn't making a huge profit.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

Good tip Lew. I'll check Euston out. I live near Welwyn Garden City and they have big branch there as well.

Lew Stringer said...

Good luck Andy. I know they had the Beano special at Euston when I was down there a few weeks ago so hopefully they'll have the Dandy one in stock too. There's two Smiths at Euston so I would hope one of them would have it.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

Cheers Lew I'll get there at some point. I did visit another Smiths branch at Welwyn but again no luck. The Beano special looks interesting. A flcik through revealed no Ken Reid apart from the title of Rodger The Dodger strip. Have you looked yourself, whats your opinion?

Lew Stringer said...

I had a quick look at the Beano specials 2 and 3 Andy but that's all. Can't afford to buy everything. :)

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