Comics victims of a changing world

GREAT sadness this week with news that part of my boyhood is about to disappear – Desperate Dan may have eaten his last cow pie.

Every week as a child I read the Dandy, and the Beano, Topper, Shoot!, and Look and Learn, all bought for me by my grandparents.

Friends would pass on Goal, Beezer and Whizzer and Chips.

Later I became a fan of Tiger – mainly because of Roy of the Rovers and Billy’s Boots – and the Marvel comics with Batman, Superman and Spiderman. I devoted large chunks of my pocket money to a little comic shop in Bolton Lane, Ipswich.

As a fanatical reader, I absolutely loved comics. My mother loved them, too – they kept chatterbox Cedric (as I was nicknamed in the family) quiet for hours.

Now Dandy – home of Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat – is to cease publication. Back in the 1950s, it sold two million copies a week – now, staggeringly, it only sells 8,000.

Publishers DC Thomson – of Dundee, where we had our photos taken frolicking with the statues of Minnie the Minx and Desperate Dan in the city centre – have decided Dandy is no longer viable.

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All my comics were read from cover to cover, and several times over. They were full of larger-than-life characters children loved – naughty kids like Rodger the Dodger, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Beryl the Peril, Bash St Kids, and their outrageous pranks.

Others offered adventure, sporting derring-do, or – like General Jumbo, whose toy soldiers came alive – fuelled the imagination for playtime.

Today’s children have a very different lifestyle. While I read comics, books, invented games with our few toys, and played outside almost every daylight hour, today’s youngsters have non-stop TV or are glued to computer games and web.

It’s a different world and one which sadly Dandy may not be a part – though, ironically, it could continue on the internet.

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