It's been ten years this autumn since The Dandy was revamped and I was invited to contribute. An exciting time, as the UK's longest-running comic was to be completely rebooted with a new look but taking it back to its roots as a comic. (It had previously been running as a magazine for a few years, titled Dandy Xtreme which didn't quite work.)
The characters I did for the Dandy in 2010 were two concepts created in-house by the editors. Kid Cops, about two kids bringing justice to their neighbourhood in daft ways, and Postman Prat.
I recently found a memory stick containing my Dandy strips so I thouyght I'd show you a couple of pieces. Above are my initial roughs for Postman Prat and his colleagues. I'm sure I must have submitted finished drawings too but I seem to have lost those. As you can see, Prat was originally a much shorter, chubbier character to the one he developed into. Not sure why I changed it. Perhaps I felt a leaner figure had more flexibility for slapstick. His proportions were a bit odd originally. Comic characters often evolve as time goes on, as you'll see if you look at early versions of Dennis the Menace or Buster for example.
Prat was still a fairly chubby character in the first episode, seen below. This is the art as I submitted it, with balloons and captions added later by the D.C. Thomson designers. Postman Prat was originally written by editor Craig Graham but he's had a few writers over the years. I write the stories myself these days for The Dandy Summer Special and Dandy Annual.
Sadly The Dandy didn't last too long in its final revamp. It had already lost many readers in previous years and never recovered from its declining sales. Ironically the final issue in 2012 sold so many copies it had to be reprinted to meet demand! Where were all those readers weeks before? Some said they weren't even aware it was still being published! Ah well, so it goes!
Today, The Dandy survives in specials and annuals and Postman Prat appears in a new story in The Dandy Summer Special that's out now. He'll also be back in The Dandy Annual 2021, on sale in July!
Below: Postman Prat as he appears today, in the upcoming Dandy Annual 2021.