A COLOURBLIND Cornish cartoonist responsible for some of The Dandy's most popular modern characters has taken his creations online.
The weekly children's comic hit national headlines when its publishers DC Thomson announced the 75-year-old publication was no longer to be issued in print.
Now the first digital issue has been published, free of charge, and Nick Brennan, creator of the short-sighted, chaos-creating Blinky, the baddy Sneaker and his 'soppy' nemesis, the elegant Crawford, and his 'girlfriend' Tilda, can continue to pen his characters.
The engineer-turned-illustrator from Penryn has been working for the comic for 20 years, and introduced Blinky, the nephew of former character Colonel Blink, in 1994.
When the comic went into colour just six months after he began working there, his wife Fran took on the colouring, and has since become scriptwriter and digital animator.
"Being colourblind wasn't a problem when I first started because The Dandy was black and white," said Nick, but about six months after I started the editor rang and said, 'Great news; we're going colour' and I said, 'No, it's not'. I tried one issue but it wasn't good, so then my wife did the painting for me.
"The main character I do is Blinky; he's basically an idiot.
"Older readers may remember Colonel Blink, the Short-sighted Gink, and Blinky is his nephew.
"He started off being short-sighted and he moved away from that, and the storylines have become a bit bizarre."
The digital issue of The Dandy tells stories one cartoon cell at a time, often with added extra bits that readers can click on for games, extra content or animations, such as a goldfish swimming in a bowl.
Mr Brennan said: "Basically anything you can do online, we do.
"Working online means you have to create a storyboard to work from, instead of working out the story and drawing the strip."
The first issue of The Dandy online is available free, with an app planned in the near future.
However, for diehard fans of the venerable print version there's good news; the popular annuals will go on.
Mr Brennan added: "The annuals were a part of every Christmas – you got your annuals in your stocking – and they will continue.
"The problem with The Dandy was falling sales, but it was more about distribution; research showed children liked it when they got hold of it.
"Most children have access to the internet more than they have access to the comics."
After 20 years, he admits he has become quite attached to his characters, especially Blinky.
"I first drew him in 1994, he was in the last printed edition of The Dandy and in the first digital issue, so he's got staying power."
Find your free first digital issue of The Dandy at www.dandy.com