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The Dandy – Issue 3598 REVIEW

September 12, 2012

The Dandy – Issue 3598 by Andy Fanton. Photo also from his website.

Well, it’s all over now isn’t it. And now it really is completely official. Britain’s top humour comic, The Dandy, is ending this December as announced in this week’s issue in a subscription offer which allows you to begin subscribing to The Dandy and then The Beano in 2013. But when the Dandy goes, I don’t think comics will be the same ever again. 

Anyway, more on my views and memories with the beloved Dandy soon – now it’s time for a review of this week’s issue – issue 3598.

The Dandy has been on rough ground recently with its announcement of its upcoming closure – this means less new stories are being commissioned and instead, more reprints are being used. Last week’s issue had thirteen pages of reprints – and quite frankly, some of the worst choices ever for reprints: Fiddle O’Diddle, Keyhole Kate, Silly Moo, Puss ‘n’ Boots, Bad Max, Pinky’s Crackpot Circus, Spotted Dick and Cuddles and Dimples to be precise.

This week’s issue however really does take the biscuit. Fourteen pages of reprinted comics. Yes, that’s right. Fourteen. That’s almost half of the comic. In fact, there are also fifteen pages of new artwork this week including Sekret Diary of a Dandy Editor and the Madvert so really, only thirteen of those new pages of artwork are actually proper comic strips! Luckily, there is a plus side to this week’s reprint roster. They’re pretty good choices, this week’s featuring: Blubba and the Bear, Cuddles and Dimples, Pinky’s Crackpot Circus, Keyhole Kate, Puss ‘n’ Boots, Silly Moo, Winker Watson, Beryl the Peril and Brassneck. And the best bit is, they’re all actually quite funny this week. I’m just glad to see no Bad Max stinking up the issue.

But it’s still not good, is it? After using up 6 weeks of Rocky Roller in 3 issues and already 10 Grrrls stories in roughly 5 issues as well as also using up what was initially meant to be the final Desperate Dan story by Jamie Smart – it’s become clear that The Dandy have messed up and now after a top issue of new back-to-back stories, we’re back to another onslaught of reprints.

On the plus side, this week’s issue does have its good parts. Firstly beginning with the front cover which this week has been raided by Bad Grandad meaning this is Andy Fanton’s first ever Dandy cover meaning he is now one of the only five artists who have got to draw a cover for a Dandy issue. It’s nice to see how up to date it also is, even including Helena  from Grrrls and Andy’s own Constable Clod plus Dave the Squirrel! Inside we’re treated to a brilliant one-page story bring-back of Corporal Clott by the hilarious Nigel Auchterlounie which was a real treat among the 14 pages of reprints! Also new are ‘The Dangerous Life of a Paperboy’, ‘Odd One Out’, ‘How the Dinosaurs Really Went Extinct’, ‘The Shrimpsons’, ‘Fart Wars’ and ‘I Pity the School’ – that’s 6 new mini-strips plus one new one page classic so I suppose there are some nice little surprises in there!

As well as that there are also the regulars, Desperate Dan, The Bogies and Bananaman – plus Bully Beef and Chips, Mr. Meecher, the Uncool Teacher, Grrrls, Bad Grandad, My Dad’s a Doofus as well as loads of great mini-strips. But enough with all of that, let’s get to the main attraction – the REVIEW!

PG 1: Cover (starring Bad Grandad) – Andy Fanton

– An amazing cover by Andy Fanton which just goes to show why The Dandy was so brilliant – it allowed new talent to be shown off and due to its revamp, I’m now familiar with the incredible Andy Fanton who’s one of the friendliest and funniest artists of all time! I really liked the cameos included – especially as the majority currently feature in the comic. I’m also so glad Andy has finally managed to get a Dandy cover as I honestly couldn’t think of a more worthy artist who joined after the 2010 revamp to draw a cover. A  brilliant cover, easily one of my favourites! GOOD

PG 2: Blubba and the Bear – Andrew Christine (reprint) (thanks to Oliver Forde for informing me of the artist!)

– I really like Blubba and the Bear. It always felt different to the rest and seemed like it never fitted in with the era of its time as a new story. It almost reminds me of a European comic style or Mike Pearse’s style but more simplified and not as impressive. A good choice for a reprint in my opinion and one which works nicely Page 2. GOOD

PG 3: What’s Inside?/The Sekret Diary of a Dandy Editor – Jamie Smart

– I loved this week’s Sekret Diary, like all of them really. This one really made me laugh, especially Wednesday’s diary entry which just seemed so pointless yet so logical! I also loved the ending of it, poor Craig! GOOD

PG 4: Cuddles and Dimples – Nigel Parkinson (reprint)

– When a main story goes to being a reprint, you know something’s up. It was easily recognisable as a reprint with its awful Xtreme logo and awkward humour. Still, it was an improvement on last week’s awful story but still seemed tiresome. Still, Nigel’s artwork was tops and it was also printed in good quality – hooray! AVERAGE

PG 6: Corporal Clott – Nigel Auchterlounie NEW!

– Now here’s a story I’m glad to see back! Nigel Auchterlounie’s ‘Corporal Clott’! Of course, the nostalgists will hate it as it doesn’t represent Davey Law’s flat artwork whatsoever but in my opinion, Davey Law was an overrated artist and while Nigel Auchterlounie may not be the greatest artist ever – his style matches his humour perfectly and this week’s story has some wonderful 3D in it on the tank and truck. It’s actually possibly Nigel’s best artwork yet for The Dandy and I for one absolutely loved it. TOP 5

PG 7: Shorts #1:

  • Mr. Meecher, the Uncool Teacher – Will Dawbarn GOOD
  • Jibber & Steve – Nigel Auchterlounie GOOD
  • The Dangerous Life of a Paperboy – Stu Munro NEW! GOOD 
  • Odd One Out – Graham Howie NEW! GOOD 

– It’s all a big surprise for the minis this week starting from mini-strip 1/12 with Will Dawbarn’s incredibly popular ‘Mr. Meecher, the Uncool Teacher’ back for a third season – only this time as a mini-strip and not as a full page! I quite like the new format of Meech in the minis but I find it a shame as the one thing I loved about Mr. Meecher was that Will would make a special episode every now and again and try something new (Captain Cool, the border story etc.) – but the story was very funny I felt and worked really well! Jibber & Steve wasn’t as good as usual but still felt so silly and surreal that it deserved its place in the ‘GOOD’ section with some brilliant-looking aliens drawn by Nigel Auchterlounie. Stu Munro’s ‘The Dangerous Life of a Paper Boy’ was also very good and I feel Stu did a really good job with the backgrounds and perspective within the panels – the story was also very funny and a good succeeder to Barbarian Librarian which I personally feel was Stu’s greatest strip of all time. Finally is Graham Howie’s ‘Odd One Out’ which looked far nicer in style and colour to Angry Ducks (which also features this week).  While the story isn’t funny, I felt the idea was well-executed and Graham’s artwork had a massive improvement – if you’re going to do comic strips like this, make them like this – not like Knock! Knock! or The Adult Code. OVERALL: GOOD

PG 8: Winker Watson – Terry Bave (reprint)

– It#s nice to see Winker Watson back and I’m glad if they had to reprint a series, they chose Terry Bave’s over Stephen White’s because I’m a big fan of Terry Bave! Personally, I’d have preferred to have seen Will Dawbarn drawing more Winker Watson but for the reprint run, Bave was the perfect choice. The story is one I’m definitely familiar with as I clearly remember the beginning and ‘Surprise, Surprise!’ cake part. The story wasn’t too funny but hey, traditional humour comics aren’t normally funny besides. GOOD

PG 10: Madvert: The Story of Tracy Beaknose – Stu Munro

–  Stu Munro has had a wonderful reputation for his hilarious Madverts. This week’s is no exception with some funny humour and parody book covers – I particularly found ‘Flatulent Stanley’ ticked my funny bone as it was a good use of toilet humour. GOOD 

PG 11: Bully Beef and Chips – Wayne Thompson

– And finally, Bully Beef and Chips gets into my good books! The surreal humour and breaking the fourth wall made this one fantastic story with some great artwork by Wayne and definitely the funniest ending of the 16 week series yet! TOP 5

PG 12: Bananaman – Wayne Thompson

– Bananaman wasn’t too funny this week I felt with no evident joke at the end but luckily due to the Bananaman artwork being absolute tops this week with some of Wayne’s best Bananaman work yet as well as a good-looking new bad guy –  I’m going to rate it at a higher level than usual! GOOD

PG 14: Subscription Page

– Ooh! A new subscription page – and this one announces the end of The Dandy in December 2012 plus also advertises The Beano! Seeing this page actually made me feel quite upset – all you have to do is compare the two covers shown and my eyes immediately want to ignore The Beano. It’s so sad to know a frankly appalling comic is going to outlive a brilliant, experimental comic. Interestingly, Little Plum is next to Dennis in the advert – are we about to see the return of Little Plum in The Beano? I sure hope so! AVERAGE

PG 15: My Dad’s a Doofus – Jamie Smart

– My Dad’s a Doofus was hilarious this week and shows that maybe Ty’s Dad isn’t as dumb as we thought he was! A very funny story which reminded me of something which Roger the Dodger would have done! TOP 5

PG 16: Comps!

– Oh wow. That Mario Kart K-Nex prize sure looks awesome. AVERAGE

PG 17: Shorts #2:

  • How the Dinosaurs Really Went Extinct – Stu Munro NEW! GOOD 
  • Teacher Training – Andy Fanton AVERAGE
  • Scary Bikers – Rick Eades GOOD
  • The Shrimpsons – Dean Rankine NEW! AVERAGE 

– The mini pages really are good this week starting off with Stu Munro’s ‘How the Dinosaurs Really Went Extinct’ – which I’ve known about for some time after being contacted by Stu mentioning the name change of ‘How the Dinosaurs Died Out’ to ‘How the Dinosaurs Really Went Extinct’  due to the fact he didn’t want to use the same name as one of the mini-strips in our comic, The Wizzo – what a jolly nice guy! The story was quite funny as well but I didn’t really understand how that lead to extinction but I still liked it! Andy Fanton’s ‘Teacher Training’ was better than the ones from before but is still easily my least favourite series by Andy for The Dandy even though the artwork is great. ‘Scary Bikers’ by Rick Eades was very funny and narrowly misses out along with Mr. Meecher for a spot in my ‘Top 5 of this week’ – the artwork and colours are marvellous and a loved the dark ending – the poor vegetarian! The Shrimpsons seems like the perfect series for Dean Rankine with Dean being one of the artists behind the popular Simpsons Comics so no wonder he pitched this! My only problem is, I didn’t get the joke – I’m sure the joke is actually really clear but I just can’t see it! OVERALL: GOOD

PG 18: Brassneck – Nick Brennan (reprint)

– Hooray! Another good choice for a reprint – although I’d have preferred to see some new Brassneck with both Nick Brennan and Steve Beckett fully active for either to draw more episodes of Brassneck! The story was quite funny but I also found the ending was quite… alarming… for The Dandy so I’m surprised it was even allowed to appear! Still, the story was good and the artwork was full of that familiar Brennan life in his characters. GOOD

PG 20: Keyhole Kate – Tom Paterson (reprint)

– I never really knew that Tom Paterson did a series of Keyhole Kate stories but it turns out he did! The story was quite decent but I felt the final panel was certainly not needed and actually ruined the ending for me as it was unnecessary. Still, Tom’s work is amazing and I think he did a very good Keyhole Kate. AVERAGE

PG 21: Mailbag

– Some more great artwork and photos this week – especially from Arran Kettles (for his George VS. Dragon picture) and Zoe Irwin (for her Dark Newt picture). Also loved Dylan Bowman’s photo he sent in, a true Dandy fan judging by that photo! GOOD

PG 22: Silly Moo – Wayne Thompson (reprint)

– I never knew about Silly Moo before this reprint run but from my understanding, it was from Wayne’s ‘Animal Asylum’ way back in the early 2000s if I’m correct? Easily the best Silly Moo yet and after a bad start to its run, it’s really starting to pick up the pace I feel – I wonder how many he did of it and what’ll be next – I’m betting on Jumbo of the Jungle but Ham and Eggs might also be likely. GOOD

PG 24: The Bogies – Nigel Auchterlounie (starring Astrosnot)

– I love The Bogies so much – someone posted on ComicsUK that they hated how gross The Bogies was, clearly not an avid reader as The Bogies completely bypasses any gross “humour” and concentrates fully on making the reader feel entertained and in hysterics with its surreality and cleverness. I loved this week’s story, a very funny story indeed with some of the best Bogies work yet with some awesome aliens and wacky alien city backgrounds! With almost a joke in every panel, surreality all over and high entertainment overall – it’s certainly worthy of where I’m putting it on my rating system. BEST

PG 26: The Dandy Annual 2013 Advert

– A very crowded advert for The Dandy Annual 2013 (which is honestly amazing!) – not a very good advert though with around five different fonts being used and way too much going on! BAD

PG 27: Shorts #3:

  • Fart Wars – Stu Munro NEW! AVERAGE
  • Constable Clod, he’s a Little Bit Odd! – Andy Fanton GOOD
  • Angry Ducks – Graham Howie AVERAGE
  • I Pity the School – Alexander Matthews NEW!  AVERAGE

– Not nearly as good as the previous mini pages with only Constable Clod being good in my opinion, although Fart Wars was also decent and I quite liked the artwork for this week’s Angry Ducks. Fart Wars was probably commissioned by The Dandy after Stu’s Star Wars parody Madvert a few issues back. The story wasn’t too funny but I really liked Stu’s artwork and shading on the characters – overall, quite good. But not good enough to escape from being in the ‘AVERAGE’ section. Constable Clod is apparently new this week despite it actually being the fourth Clod story so far! A funny story overall with some great artwork and facial expressions supplied by Mr. Fanton! Angry Ducks wasn’t funny whatsoever but I felt Graham Howie’s artwork was far better this week than most weeks with some good colour choices and nice perspective. I Pity the School sadly, despite being a Alexander Matthews comic strip, was surprisingly bad and not at all funny – in fact, the only reason it gets in the ‘AVERAGE’ section because I found the artwork was very good. OVERALL: AVERAGE

PG 28: Puss ‘n’ Boots – Barrie Appleby (reprint)

– Puss ‘n’ Boots was surprisingly good this week unlike the awful ones so far of this reprint run – and it actually has some good colour choices, a good title and it’s also actually quite funny! Barrie’s artwork is incredible as usual, full of life and fun and even though it may be a reprint, I actually quite liked it! GOOD

PG 30: Pinky’s Crackpot Circus – Nick Brennan (reprint)

– Another funny reprint for this issue with Pinky and his crackpot circus! This week’s reprint was very funny, I loved how the fat lady also chased him as well as the lions and tigers! Nick’s artwork is also top notch filled with life as usual! GOOD

PG 31: Grrrls! – Alexander Matthews

– Grrrls has been interesting so far – starting off weak and improving week by week usually. This week’s story was fairly good but I wasn’t sure on my overall opinion of it. The artwork though, is incredible. AVERAGE

PG 32: Beryl the Peril – Steve Bright (reprint)

– Points to The Dandy for sneakiness here. Using the same Beryl design and same artist, any new fan would be certain to think it was second extended page series for Beryl the Peril but in reality, all it is is another incredibly average reprint. At a first glance, many may think it’s new when in fact, it clearly is not. The title is the old ‘the Peril’-less one, there’s no shading on the characters plus he doesn’t refer to himself as Brighty – this only coming in what I believe was 2011 but I could be wrong.The story isn’t even that good and just felt unnecessary and unfair to me. AVERAGE

PG 34: Bad Grandad – Andy Fanton

– Bad Grandad was brilliant this week and actually made me chuckle in parts – I really liked the ending, looks blimmin’ painful though! Some great humour and overall a great story well worthy to get the cover spot this week! TOP 5

PG 35: Next Week!

– Uh oh! That’s not a good sign, the next week page is crammed with reprints! Beryl, C&D, Brassneck and Winker Watson are all definitely in next week’s issue as well as the only other announcement, ‘My Dad’s a Doofus’ which doesn’t fit in whatsoever as the page is overridden with traditional reprint artwork! Oh calamity! And besides, why is C&D the main story – surely Mega-Lo Maniacs hasn’t ended with Ghost Machine – surely it’s a continued story? Right? AVERAGE

PG 36: Desperate Dan – Jamie Smart

– Desperate Dan is brilliant. Every nostalgist is ridiculous and just want things like it was when they were old back in the day. If someone took the time to read Jamie’s stories and familiarise themselves with his humour – I’m sure they’d soon love it instead of hate it. This week’s Desperate Dan is also fairly traditional in writing style – as are the majority, so why do people hate it so. I for one loved it and will continue to love it every week until its final episode. TOP 5

The Dandy, Issue 3598 is out now and is on the whole, absolutely dandy! With The Dandy now having death written on its doorstep – time is running out so buy The Dandy in its last few months starting from this issue and I promise you – you will not be disappointed.

I’m going to miss this comic so much when it’s gone. It’s done so much but the majority of people simply are idiots are either want it as traditional or dead. But no matter what, I will keep on buying it right up to the final issue.

– Harry Rickard

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Oliver Forde permalink
    September 12, 2012 17:04

    The Bluuba & The Bear artist is Roger Kettle. Also, there’s 12 mini-strips, not 9! But I myself do make that mistake often.

  2. September 12, 2012 19:31

    Hey Harry! Appreciate your reviews of Angry Ducks and Odd One Out. Food for thought. Thanks.

  3. January 11, 2013 19:09

    Hi, i hope you do not mind me posting this here, but seeing the interest in the Dandy, I thought you may be interested in the following…

    Terry Bave, who was at the heart of English cartooning and had a long, successful career as an artist working on children’s comics, such as Whizzer and Chips, Cor!!, Buster, Whoopee, Dandy and Beano, has just published a book!

    From the heyday of the sixties and seventies, Terry saw the rise, and eventual decline, of creative cartooning for children’s comics. His story is not just a tale of one artist, working in creative partnership with his wife Shiela, but the story of comics themselves

    The book can be purchased from http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-bave/cartoons-and-comic-strips/paperback/product-20625272.html

    His blog can be seen at http://terrybave.blogspot.co.uk/

    Please feel free to pass on this information to anyone who you feel may be interested.

    All the best. Russell (Terry’s son).

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