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World's oldest comic goes digital at 75

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 02:24

Aug. 22 - The world's longest running children's comic The Dandy is the latest print publication to fall victim to the digital age. Its publishers DC Thomson said printing will end on the comic's 75th anniversary on 4 December but its characters will be given a new lease of life online. Hayley Platt reports.

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Phil Shrimpton has been collecting comic books since he was 10. He now has more than 15,000 copies. And one of his favourites is the world's oldest - The Dandy. But after 75 years in circulation publishers DC Thomson are calling time on the print edition. From next year The Dandy, like many other paper publications, will go digital. SOUNDBITE: Phil Shrimpton, comic collector, saying (English): "I think appeal of the Beano and The Dandy is its a fundamental Britishness, certainly during the 40s, 50s, 60s most children would at least read some form of comic." But times have changed. In 2010 the market reportedly fell by 20 percent. Most publishers now offer a digital version of their publications and some have moved entirely online. Scott Pack from Harper Collins says the comic market in particular is struggling. SOUNDBITE: Scott Pack, head of product development, Harper Collins, saying (English): "The Marvel comics, the Batman, Superman all that sort of stuff, they've got a really large market in so many areas. So people are buying comics also going to the movies, they're buying merchandise. There's lots of collectables and I think that market is probably safe. But I think that makes it harder for the more traditional comic to survive and if you look over the last 20/30 years or so nearly every comic that you would have been buying in the seventies has now gone." In the Dandy's heyday more than 2 million people were reading about Desperate Dan and his cowboy adventures. But with its circulation falling to just 8,000 it's little wonder publishers DC Thomson want to stop printing it. SOUNDBITE: Phil Shrimpton, comic collector, saying (English): "Certainly long term in 20/30 years time I think there's going to be a lack of children growing up into young adults who want to start reliving their childhood. They won't remember paper copies. They'll remember an online format." The Dandy will be 75 years old on December 4 when the last print edition will be published. That's not a bad innings and DC Thomson says it will be celebrating the rise of digital comics and leave any mourning for the paper ones to collectors like Phil. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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World's oldest comic goes digital at 75

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 02:24