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Desperate Dan

Updated on February 10, 2011

Desperate Dan is a comic strip character from the British comic The Dandy who is a big butch cowboy. The Comic Strip first appeared in the very first issue of The Dandy on the 4th December 1937 and still appears weekly to this day.

Desperate Dan is apparently the world's strongest man who is able to lift a cow with one hand and has to shave with a blowtorch because his beard is so tough. His favourite meal is Cow Pie which is like a huge Meat Pie with Horns and occasionally a tail sticking out of it.

In the earliest strips Desperate Dan was an Outlaw always on the wrong side of the Law but overtime the character has changed and he is now a much friendlier character who helps those less fortunate and tries to do the right thing. For a brief period in early 2000 he even had a girlfriend, Little Bear, who was a native American squaw.

Dan lives at home with his Aunt Aggie and is constantly scolded for his greed and bad table manners.

Desperate Dan History

Desperate Dan was originally drawn by a gentleman called Dudley D. Watkins from 1937 up until his death in 1969 and although The Dandy Annuals had new strips drawn by other artists in Watkins style, the comic itself continued reprinting original Watkins strips until 1983. The strips were briefly drawn by Peter Davidson, until Ken H. Harrison took over the main role between 1983 and 2007. Although throughout this time many other Dandy artists would fill in. Since 2008 the regular comic strips have been drawn by Jamie Smart.

In 2004 The Dandy comic was revamped and became Dandy Xtreme and this prompted a redesigning of Desperate Dan. His eyes and chin were made much bigger and he was turned in a bit of a bumbling idiot, a change that did not last due to a readers backlash.

Desperate Dan Books available from Amazon

The Desperate Dan Book 1992
The Desperate Dan Book 1992

The Desperate Dan Book from 1992 featuring Dan eating cow pie, surrounded by small aliens saying "Ain't seen you around Cactusville before-care for a piece of cow-pie?"

"Desperate Dan" 1991
"Desperate Dan" 1991

The Desperate Dan Book from 1991 featuring Dan wearing 4 costumes- a cowboy costume, an Indian chief costume, a gambler costume and an outlaw costume. Underneath there is envelope featuring a normally dressed Dan on the stamp, saying "If you want me on a Cactusville stamp, it's got to be the real me!"


Desperate Dan in Everyday Life

Desperate Dan has been around for so long that it isnt really surprising that the name has become part of the English lexicon. Desperate Dan now turns up all over the place such as;

  1. A 1972 hit single by english group Lieutenant Pigeon which reached number 17 in the charts
  2. It has a parody in Viz magazine called "Desperately Unfunny Dan" which pokes fun at the originals predictable and unchallenging humour.
  3. There is a beer called Desperate Dan's IPA.
  4. It is Cockney Rhyming Slang for a Can.
  5. There is a Statue of Desperate Dan and Dawg in Dundee Scotland
  6. There was a Desperate Dan orange flavoured chew bar. "It's a Mighty Fine Chew". Apparently


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