Desperate dan comic strip
As the Beano celebrates its 80th birthday, Andy Smart remembers the Nottingham man behind some of publisher DC Thomson's most famous characters. He was only six when his talent was singled out for commendation by the Mayor of Nottingham and by the age of ten he was exhibiting in the Castle gallery and being described in a city newspaper as a 'schoolboy genius'. But it would be as a cartoonist that he would achieve ever-lasting fame, creating comic book characters that charmed generations of youngsters from the late s through to the Sixties. The face of Desperate Dan was sketched out as Dudley Watkins sat at his desk in Dundee, combining inspiration from the Wild West and English policemen.
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Desperate Dan started out as something of an anti-hero, as can be seen in these two panels from his very first strip art by Dudley D. This panel from a strip drawn by Dudley D. Watkins shows a more good-natured Dan, who only causes trouble when he lets his strength get the better of him. Dan then proceeded to attack the unfortunate dealer "Aw gee, Dan! You wouldn't beat me up would you? As the strip progressed Dan mellowed out into a more upstanding citizen, leaving generations of kids wondering exactly what he was so desperate about.
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Desperate Dan is a wild west character in the British comic magazine The Dandy and has become their mascot. He made his appearance in the first issue which was dated 4 December The pillow of his reinforced bed is filled with building rubble and his beard is so tough he shaves with a blowtorch. The character was created by Dudley D.
The Dandy, the UK's oldest children's comic and home to cartoon strip characters including Desperate Dan, the cow-pie eating cowboy, is facing closure after 75 years. In its heyday between the s and s, the Dandy sold 2m copies a week as young fans lapped up stories of Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat. But it has suffered circulation decline since then as successive generations of children have grown out of the habit of reading weekly comics, with their free time given over instead to watching TV and more recently playing video games and surfing the internet. The Dandy has outlasted children's comic titles such as the Beezer and the Topper by 20 years or more.