Desperate Dan goes digital as The Dandy comic switches to online-only edition after 75 years
DESPERATE Dan turned digital today as The Dandy celebrated its 75th anniversary by relaunching as an exclusive online publication.
Britain's longest-running comic has embraced the web and will now be available to download online and as a smartphone and tablet app.
Dundee-based publisher DC Thompson announced in August that the weekly children's comic would make the transition into cyberspace following dwindling sales in recent years.
Coinciding with the launch, the last ever printed issue also goes on sale today.
The issue features a cameo from Paul McCartney, who said in 1963 it was his ambition to appear in the comic, and a pull-out of the first issue from December 4 1937.
The website will feature old favourites Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky the Cat in new animated strips, featuring voice overs and sound effects.
Users will also be able to play interactive games, watch videos and create and care for their very own virtual pet, the Dandy Dollop.
David Bain, the comic's head of digital development said: "The Dandy is alive and well, and it's going to continue as usual it's just as of next week it's going to be available online on a regular basis, with all the famous characters and scripts and storylines and humour, as well as games, goodies and interactivity.
"It's all about fun, humour and a bit of mischief, a bit of pranking.
"We've been quite deliberate in making sure there's very little if any educational value, with the exception of reading."
Ellis Watson, chief executive of DC Thompson, said: "I appreciate it's almost a deliberately naive venture into the unknown for a publisher that's been cutting down trees for 75 years, squishing them flat and smearing ink all over them.
"We're not super slick, we're not Silicon Valley, but what we are is some pretty talented animators and story tellers that are really excited about seeing if we can introduce these wonderful characters to another couple of generations."
Mr Ellis said he hoped that the comic would continue to attract adults who read The Dandy throughout their childhood, saying: "I'm still quite happy to sit on the train with my Financial Times reading my comics inside."
The first online issue will be free of charge, with following issues being priced at £1.49 (€1.80). A yearly subscription for the digital comic will be £30, while access to the website will be free.
During its peak circulation in the 1950s, the Dandy sold two million copies each week.
This figure has dropped in recent years to around 8,000.
DC Thomson said the Dandy Annual will continue to be printed and the 2013 edition is already on the shelves.
The Cartoon Museum is hosting The Dandy: 75 years of Biffs, Bangs and Banana Skins exhibition until December 24.