The D.C. Thomson & Co. wiki last edited by BumpyBoo on 09/21/13 12:10AM View full history

Summary

Based in Dundee, Scotland, D.C. Thomson was established in 1905 and continues to publish comics, newpapers and magazines to this day. Its two most famous publications are The Dandy and The Beano, both having the distinction of being among the longest running comics in the world, with The Dandy debuting back in 1937 and Beano in 1938. In 1936, their Sunday Post newspaper launched a Fun Section which included The Broons and Oor Wullie, both of which still run today.

History

In 1884 Scottish businessman William T. Thomson, already the owner of successful drapery and shipping businesses, became the major shareholder in Dundee Courier and Daily Argus newspapers in his home town of Dundee. Two years later William asked one of his sons, Douglas Coupar Thomson, to become the papers' managing editor, soon joined by his brother, Frederick. In 1905 they upgraded this small publishing venture to found D.C. Thomson, and, after Frederick's death in 1917, Douglas became the sole proprieter. During the 1920s and early 1930s they began printing boys' story papers such as Adventure, Rover, Wizard, Skipper and Hotspur (the "Big Five"); the stories within were prose strips with the occasional illustration from artists such as Dudley Dexter Watkins, but most of these titles would reinvent themselves as comic strip titles in later decades. In 1930 a free "Midget Comic" was given away with Wizard.

In 1933 Douglas' son Harold took over day to day running of D.C. Thomson, though Douglas remained the chairman of the company. Under Harold's leadership, D.C. Thomson expanded its ventures into comics. Watkins' cartoonist skills had been noticed by his editor, and in 1933 and 1934 respectively he produced the Rover Midget Comic and Skipper Midget Comic. Their success saw Watkins given a regular six-frame "filler" strip in Adventure, Percy Vere and his Trying Tricks, in 1935. A year later saw the start of the above mentioned Sunday Post Fun Section, which included Watkins' Broons and Oor Wullie, and the Fun Section's success in turn prompted D.C. Thomson to release The Dandy (again heavily featuring Watkins' work) a year later, followed eight months after that by The Beano.

Wartime shortages saw D.C. Thomson encourage people to recycle old comics and newspapers (which has contributed to the shortage of surviving copies of their older titles), and these shortages also prevented new titles being launched and forced Dandy and Beano to go bi-weekly from 1941 until 1949. However, a post-war population boom saw the market for children's comics noticably increase, prompting the launch of The Topper in 1953 and The Beezer in 1956. Though both Beano and Dandy had featured adventure strips alongside the humour strips since each comic's inception, they were dominated by the latter; the success of other publishers such as Odhams, Amalgamated Press and Hulton Press in producing more adventure-strip oriented comics for older boys, as well as comics aimed at girls, prompted D.C. Thomson to follow suit towards the end of the 1950s, with Hotspur being relaunched as a strip title, Victor and Commando focusing mostly on war-stories, and Bunty and Judy aimed at female readers. In the 1960s the merger of several of its smaller rivals into IPC challenged D.C. Thomson's position at the top of the U.K. comics market, and the two companies would remain the largest individual comics publishers in Britain for the next three decades.

The company remains very active in the publishing field to this day, and is still based in Dundee, where statues have been erected in the city centre of some of their most famous comic characters, such as Minnie the Minx and Desperate Dan.

Titles list

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