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The Dandy comic relaunches online

Desperate Dan has turned digital as The Dandy celebrated its 75th anniversary by relaunching as an exclusive online publication.

Britain's longest-running comic has embraced the world wide web and will now be available to download online and as a smartphone and tablet app.

Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson announced in August that the weekly children's comic would make the transition into cyberspace following dwindling sales in recent years.

Coinciding with the launch, the last ever printed issue also goes on sale on Tuesday. The issue features a cameo from Sir Paul McCartney, who said in 1963 it was his ambition to appear in the comic, and a pull-out of the first issue from December 4 1937.

The website will feature old favourites Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky the Cat in new animated strips, featuring voiceovers and sound effects. Users will also be able to play interactive games, watch videos and create and care for their very own virtual pet, the Dandy Dollop.

David Bain, the comic's head of digital development said: "The Dandy is alive and well, and it's going to continue as usual it's just as of next week it's going to be available online on a regular basis, with all the famous characters and scripts and storylines and humour, as well as games, goodies and interactivity.

"It's all about fun, humour and a bit of mischief, a bit of pranking. We've been quite deliberate in making sure there's very little if any educational value, with the exception of reading."

Ellis Watson, chief executive of DC Thomson, said he hoped that the comic would continue to attract adults who read The Dandy throughout their childhood, saying: "I'm still quite happy to sit on the train with my Financial Times reading my comics inside."

The first online issue will be free of charge, with following issues being priced at 1.49. A yearly subscription for the digital comic will be 29.99, while access to the website will be free.

During its peak circulation in the 1950s, the Dandy sold two million copies each week. This figure has dropped in recent years to around 8,000. DC Thomson said the Dandy Annual will continue to be printed and the 2013 edition is already on the shelves.

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