The Art and History of The Dandy – so this magazine-format special, exclusive to W. H. Smith, is here to tide me over. It's a nostalgic roller-coaster ride through some of the most fondly remembered of the Dandy's heritage of strips and stories and wraps up with a reprint of the very first issue.
With the book readily available, there has been little attempt to cover the history of the comic again, so this is more of a pick 'n' mix selection. I'm not quite sure why the first few pages reprint strips from the first issue as they reappear again at the back of the book but I'm sure there are plenty of other pages that will please even the most jaded reader, whether you prefer slapstick humour or edge-of-the-seat adventure.
Now, I was not a Dandy reader when I was a kid, although I've seen plenty of issues since – I'm loath to say "since I grew up" because the jury's still out on that. My point is that while I don't have the same nostalgia for the strips that a former reader may have (and I suspect there won't be many who remember Addie and Hermy from their first appearances in the 1940s), I can still appreciate the talents that combined to create the strips and stories on display. Can you really go wrong when you have Ken Reid putting out top quality strips like "Big Head and Thick Head".
There has been some speculation of censorship over on Lew Stringer's Blimey! blog, but the explanation (as the later comments suggest) is more likely to be down to the way the new version has been printed: the original from 1937 was probably printed as a 24 page inner plus 4 page "cover" as the front was printed in full colour (well, four colour). Most presses nowadays print colour and an additional four page section would have meant piecing together four elements – the cover, the front section, the 4-page section and the 24-page section – to create a cheap, nostalgic, magazine-format reprint book. The increased production costs would perhaps have raised the price to £6.99 rather than the £5.99 it set me back. And I don't regret a single penny.