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Desperate Dan and The Dandy relaunch online

Desperate Dan is relaunching online after 75 years Photo: DC THOMSON PUBLICITY

Desperate Dan turned digital today 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.

Sir Paul McCartney Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coinciding with the launch, the last ever printed issue also goes on sale today.

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 Dandy sold two million copies each week in its peak Credit: DC THOMSON PUBLICITY

The website will feature old favourites Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky the Cat in new animated strips, featuring voice overs 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.

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.

– David Bain, the comic's head of digital development

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.

I appreciate it's almost a deliberately naive venture into the unknown for a publisher that's been cutting down trees for 75 years, squishing them flat and smearing ink all over them.

We're not super slick, we're not Silicon Valley, but what we are is some pretty talented animators and story tellers that are really excited about seeing if we can introduce these wonderful characters to another couple of generations.

– Ellis Watson, chief executive of DC Thomson