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Saturday, August 10, 2019


This has been out for a few weeks now but I only bought mine the other day when I was on holiday in Blackpool. You see, having The Dandy Summer Special in Blackpool was a tradition when I was a child so I thought I'd wait until I got there this year too. 
Sadly they're not as plentiful in Blackpool as they were in the 1960s when you'd find them everywhere from temporary bookstalls to numerous newsagents. Now, only the town's WH Smiths stock it, and they only have one copy left after I bought mine. 

Like this very post, this year's Dandy Summer Special is a nostalgic journey through Summer Specials of the past. Editor John Anderson has selected various stories from the 1960s to the early part of this Century, accompanied with some brief background to the history of the publication and galleries of six covers from each decade. (Yes, even the 1968 cover is shown, showing Korky smoking an "El Pongo" cigar.)
It's a very good selection of strips, and works better than last year's which limited itself to seven characters. This time we get a lot more characters unearthed from the vaults, including some forgotten ones such as Bodger the Bookworm, Robin Hood's Schooldays, and Izzy Skint
The standard favourites are here too of course, including Korky the Cat, Desperate Dan, Cuddles and Dimples, and more. 

The pages are all scanned from the old specials, with thankfully no digital recolouring or bodged redrawing. I like the look of it, as we can even see the paper grain in places which adds to the authenticity. I'm a little disappointed that a few pages from the squatter-sized 1980s/90s Specials were stretched to fit the A4 dimensions of this Special but that might be something only artists will be bothered by, not the target readership. 
The front cover is by Ken H. Harrison, inspired by a 1960s illustration by Dudley Watkins. The back cover is by Nigel Parkinson. The Dandy Summer Special 2019 is squarebound, with 68 pages for £6.99.


Robert Carnegie said...

The "Speak Your Weight" machine also belongs in antiquity surely? ;-)

Lew Stringer said...

Yes but the joke still works.

SID said...

Buying your Summer Special while at the seaside brings back good memories.

I do similar with The Dandy Annual. My parents bought it for me as a kid at Xmas and I now buy it every Christmas Eve.

Back to the Special; I enjoyed it and a good historical document too.

Lew Stringer said...

Aren't you worried about missing the annual if it's sold out by Christmas, Sid? With print runs being lower than they used to be, and shops ordering less, The Dandy Annual is usually long gone from my WHS by Christmas Eve.

James Spiring said...

I bet Sid's just after saving some money. If they do have annuals left at that point, they reduce them to two quid.

Robert Carnegie said...

I peeked in the newsagent, winced at the price, went home to think it over... but now I've seen that the cover is based on a pose from bygones.

I still think that today's younger reader will be wondering if it's a sort of cactus (as it may appear if I buy and read) or a bewildered space alien that got on the wrong side of Dan... the underside.

Lew Stringer said...

That tiny drawing of a cactus seems an odd thing to focus on. I'm sure kids today know what a cactus is considering you can buy them from shops.

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