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Longest running UK comic 'The Dandy' faces closure

LONDON (AP) — Britain's longest-running children's comic is facing closure after 75 years in print.

The publisher of "The Dandy" said Tuesday it is reviewing all of its magazine titles to meet the "challenges of the rapidly changing publishing industry."

Circulation of the weekly comic, first published in 1937 and best-known for cartoon character Desperate Dan, dropped to less than 7,500 in the second half of last year. At its peak in 1950 it sold some 2 million copies.

Scotland-based DC Thomson said it is yet to make a decision on the comic's future, but will ensure all of its characters live on in other platforms — hinting that the comic may soon only be available online.

"There are many challenges within the industry at present, but we're excited that the digital revolution has also given us an opportunity to innovate and develop," the publisher said in a statement.

"The Dandy" first went on sale in 1937 costing 2 pence, and became so successful its publisher launched a similar comic, "The Beano," within months.

Anita O'Brien, curator of London's Cartoon Museum, said when launched "The Dandy" offered its young readers something new — more action and more visual material than contemporary magazines.

"A lot of the publications in Britain would have been what you'd call boy's story papers — mostly text with a few illustrations," she said. "It was new in having a lot of funny strips, it was very brash and slapstick in its comedy."

But the character fell behind the times and many news agents have not stocked it for years, O'Brien added.