How The Beano Survived War And The Web To Reach Its 80th Birthday




By David Anderson in The Conversation.


The British economy was in a volatile state 80 years ago, as the world teetered on the brink of war. Business was tough for all, and yet printing and publishing was expanding with Dundee-based DC Thomson & Co, publisher of newspapers, magazines and comics, especially prominent.

Spurred on by the success of weekly newspaper comic strips Oor Wullie and The Broons, and its “big five” action story papers for boys, Thomson decided in 1937 to create another quintet of comics for boys and girls, this time focused on humour.

The Dandy became the first of these comics to launch in December 1937, featuring characters Korky the Cat, Keyhole Kate, Hungry Horace and the enduring Desperate Dan. Under the editorship of the indomitable Albert Barnes (whom the square-jawed Desperate Dan is said to be modelled on), The Dandy introduced a new style of comic drawing to generations of schoolchildren. Taking inspiration from existing British and American styles, such as the use of hand drawn speech bubbles, The Dandy’s team of experienced scriptwriters and talented artists developed a humour that celebrated slapstick and derided authority figures.


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