The Dandy (originally known more specifically as The Dandy Comic, and also known for a period as The Dandy Xtreme) is a weekly comic that has been published by DC Thomson since 1937. It came to an end as a print comic in December 2012, but continues online.
Having experimented with including short comic strips in their story papers, and successfully launched the "Fun Section" of the Sunday Post in 1936, DC Thomson launched their first weekly comic, The Dandy, in December 1937, inaugurating what is generally seen as the "golden age" of British comics. Although it followed the customary format of British comics of the day, combining humor strips, adventure strips and prose stories, The Dandy abandoned the customary, and usually redundant, text narration that accompanied most British comic strips at that time, and told stories largely in pictures and dialogue. Its social politics were more contemporary than its rivals, reflecting the inequalities of 1930s society.
Overseen by managing editor R. D. Low, The Dandy was edited from its launch by Albert Barnes, who held the position until his retirement in 1982. Its cover star was "Korky the Cat", drawn by Jimmy Crighton. The other opening strips included "Desperate Dan", drawn by Dudley D. Watkins, and "Hungry Horace", drawn by Allan Morley. During the war, paper shortages pushed it into a fortnightly schedule, released on alternating weeks with The Beano.
Other well-known strips include "Black Bob" (1944-82), originally drawn by Jack Prout; "Winker Watson" (1961-2007), originally drawn by Eric Roberts, and "Bully Beef and Chips" (1967-2010), originally drawn by Jimmy Hughes. David Torrie took over as editor in 1982. "Desperate Dan" replaced "Korky the Cat" on the cover in 1984. It absorbed Nutty in 1985, bringing characters like "Bananaman" then Hoot in 1986, whose star "Cuddles" was combined with The Dandy's "Dimples" into a new strip, "Cuddles and Dimples". "Beryl the Peril", formerly of The Topper, was co-opted into The Dandy in 1993.
For a period in 1999 "Cuddles & Dimples" replaced Desperate Dan as the cover star. A later format saw Dan's strip appearing on the front, while an image another character from the comic alongside - for example, issue 3216 had "Ollie Fliptrick" dominating the cover, while issue 3220 used "Blinky".
21st century redesigns begin...
In 2004 the comic was given an overhaul, with a trendy new look influenced by the likes of Cartoon Network and anime. There was no longer a fixed cover star: already by this time Desperate Dan was occasionally shifted off the cover spot by the likes of Cuddles and Dimples and Bananaman, but now he would also compete for prime place with low-trousered sprog Jak, who generally emerged as the comic's face during this period.
The Dandy Xtreme
In 2007 it was rebranded as the comic-cum-magazine The Dandy Xtreme. This change occured with issue 3426; the chief distinction between The Dandy and The Dandy Xtreme (aside from the shift from weekly to fortnightly publication) is that the Xtreme version had a greater emphasis on magazine-style features such as video game coverage, competitions and guides to making fake poo. This approach was particularly apparent early on in Xtreme's existence: in the first issue the comics were relegated to a 16-page pull-out, the remaining 20 pages of the publication being a kids' magazine. This format was dropped later, with comics and mag features being interspersed throughout the whole thing. New strips introduced during the Xtreme period include "The Bogies", based on a collectable toy, and "Doctor Loo".
The approach to cover stars also changed when the comic became Xtreme: the first issue featured not Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat or even Jak as the centrepiece on the front, but Bart Simpson, as the issue covered The Simpsons Movie. Later issues have picked the likes of Lara Croft, Sonic the Hedgehog and Anakin Skywalker as their cover stars.
Just plain Dandy again
In October 2010, with issue 3508, the Xtreme name and magazine format were discarded, and the publication became a weekly comic again. The strips were given an overhaul: "Desperate Dan", now drawn by Jamie Smart, "Korky the Cat", "Bananaman" and "The Bogies" all remained in one form or another (with "Doctor Loo" returning a few weeks later) but were joined by a wealth of new strips. "Harry Hill's Real-Life Adventures in TV Land" became the flagship title with its central character - a cartoon version of the comedian Harry Hill - serving as cover star (although, again, this was something of a revolving spot - some weeks saw Desperate Dan or Bananaman replace him)
This new Dandy paid tribute to its heritage, however, with decades-old strips "Harry and his Hippo" and Sparky's "Thingummy Blob" later being brought out of retirement and Greedy Pigg and Bully Beef returning for cameo appearances.
The digital Dandy
The last revamp did not improve sales, which were stuck around the 8,000 a week mark, and at the end of 2012, on its 75th anniversary, The Dandy was cancelled as a print publication, and relaunched in a new online format, combining limited animation with a traditional panels-and-balloons format.
This incarnation of the comic features the established cast - including Desperate Dan, Bananaman, Blinky and Brassneck - along with some new spins on lesser-used characters. The Numskulls were imported from The Beano, with Jamie Smart providing art; Keyhole Kate was reinvented as a schoolgirl detective; and "Retro Active" repackaged old superhero characters such as The Amazing Mr. X.
In addition, Dandy annuals are set to continue for the forseeable future.
- "Addie and Hermy"
- "Agent Dog2-Zero"
- "Ali Ha-Ha and the 40 Thieves" (first appeared 1960)
- "The Amazing Mr. X" (first appeared 1944)
- "The Arena of Awesome"
- "Bananaman" (from Nutty)
- "Bear Thrills"
- "Beryl the Peril" (from The Topper; moved to The Dandy in 1993)
- "Black Bob" (first appeared 1944)
- "The Bogies"
- "Boo!" (first appeared 2011)
- "Brassneck" (first appeared 1964)
- "Bully Beef and Chips" (first appeared 1967)
- "The Burrd"
- "Charlie the Chimp" (first appeared 1957)
- "Corporal Clott" (first appeared 1960)
- "Count Snotula" (first appeared 2010)
- "Cuddles and Dimples" (first appeared 1986)
- "Desperate Dawg" (first appeared 1973)
- "Desperate Dan" (first appeared 1937)
- "Dimples" (first appeared 1984)
- "Dinah Mo"
- "Dipper the Dodger"
- "Dizzy Rascal"
- "Doctor Loo"
- "Dreadlock Holmes"
- "Flippy the Sea Serpent"
- "Freddy the Fearless Fly" (first appeared 1937)
- "George vs Dragon" (first appeared 2010)
- "Graeme Reaper" (first appeared 2011)
- "Ham and Egghead"
- "Harry and his Hippo"
- "Harry Hill's Real-Life Adventures in TV Land" (first appeared 2010)
- "Hungry Horace" (first appeared 1937)
- "Izzie Skint"
- "Jack Silver" (first appeared 1973)
- "Jak and Todd"
- "Jibber & Steve"
- "Jimmy and his Grockle" (first appeared 1937)
- "The Jocks and the Geordies" (first appeared 1975)
- "Jolly Roger"
- "Keyhole Kate" (first appeared 1937)
- "Kid Cops" (first appeared 2010)
- "Korky the Cat" (first appeared 1937)
- "Little..." (first appeared 2010)
- "Marvo the Wonder Chicken"
- "The Mighty Bork" (first appeared 2010)
- "Mitch and his Mummy"
- "Mr Mutt" (first appeared 1959)
- "Mr. Meecher, the Uncool Teacher!"
- "Monkey Bizness"
- "Mugg Muggins: The Crazy Inventor" (first appeared 1937)
- "Nibbles" (first appeared 2011)
- "Nuke Noodle" (first appeared 2011)
- "Office Hours" (first appeared 2004)
- "Old Beaver's Brainwaves"
- "Ollie Fliptrick"
- "Our Gang" (first appeared 1937)
- "Pepperoni Pig" (first appeared 2010)
- "Podge" (first appeared 1937)
- "Postman Prat" (first appeared 2010)
- "Pre-skool Prime Minister!" (first appeared 2010)
- "Robot on the Run" (first appeared 2010)
- "Sandy Starfish"
- "Screwy Driver" (first appeared 1955)
- "Shao Lin Punks" (first appeared 2010)
- "Simples! 101 Ways to Use a Meerkat" (first appeared 2010)
- "Sir Coward de Custard"
- "The Smasher" (first appeared 1958)
- "Spooky Skaters" (first appeared 2009; originally a stand-alone comic)
- "Stan Helsing" (first appeared 2011)
- "Ten Watt Spot"
- "Thingummy Blob" (first appeared 2011; from Sparky)
- "Tom Tin and Buster Brass"
- "Tom Tum" (first appeared 1978)
- "Wig and Wam" (first appeared 1937)
- "Willie Willikin's Pobble" (first appeared 1952)
- "Willing Willie and his Pa"
- "Winker Watson" (first appeared 1961)
- "Young Dandy"
- James Chapman, British Comics: A Cultural History, Reaktion Books, 2011
- Jeremy Briggs, The Beano, The Dandy and the Nazi death list, Bear Alley, 15 September 2010
- Ultimate Book of British Comics p. 97
- Ultimate Book of British Comics p. 101-102
- Ultimate Book of British Comics p. 100-101
- Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics: Extreme Reactions to Dandy Xtreme 
- The Dandy Xtreme no. 3479
- Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics: Extreme Reactions to Dandy Xtreme