HistoryThe company was founded in 1905 in Dundee, Scotland, and originally published a number of Scottish newspapers including The Sunday Post, The Dundee Courier and The Weekly News.
In the 1920s the company diversified into story papers. Their story papers became known as The Big Five, the five being Adventure, The Wizard, The Rover, The Skipper and The Hotspur. Over the years they began to feature more and more comic content, and so did their newspapers with the classic newspaper comic strips The Broons and Oor Wullie first appearing in 1936. This lead DC Thomson to attempt to release a Big Five but for comics as opposed to story papers. They first released The Dandy, in 1937, followed by The Beano a year later and then The Magic Comic in 1939. They originally all featured story paper style serial text stories, and they also all released large hardback annual versions of the comics every year. Then World War II lead to a reduction in the number of pages in most of their comics, their formats changing from weekly to fortnightly, and the closure of The Magic Comic. But the war also lead to numerous propaganda comic strips including Musso the Wop in The Beano and Addie and Hermy in The Dandy. Many of these WW2 era strips were quite bizarre, with The Dandy's Korky the Cat fighting Nazi mice and The Beano's Big Eggo (an Ostrich) also helping fight the war.
It took a while for the company to recover from the effects of the war note , but The '50s is often though as a golden age for DC Thomson's comics. The decade saw sales reach their peak, the introduction of a number of long running comics such as The Topper in 1953, The Beezer in 1956 and Bunty in 1958 note ; it also saw the introduction of a number of classic comic strips such as Dennis the Menace, first appearing in The Beano in 1951, The Bash Street Kids, first appearing in The Beano in 1954, and Beryl the Peril and Minnie the Minx, both in 1953 and in The Topper and Beano respectively. This period also saw some of the most iconic artists start drawing for the comics including Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid and David Law.
However The '50s also saw a decline in the traditional story papers, with a number of papers switching to the comic format and text stories disappearing from the comics. The real decline for the story papers took place in The '60s when the Big Fournote , all now comics, began merging into one another, although The Hotspur survived until 1981. They were being replaced by a new breed of adventure comics including The Victor, Hornet and Commando, the latter of which is still running.
The '60s, The '70s and early Eighties was also something of a good period for the company's comics. The period saw a number of new comics being introduced. Most did not last very long before being merged, but there were some notable exceptions to this, including the Sci-Fi comic Starblazer (1979-1991), the war comic Warlord (1974-1986), the girls comic Mandy (1967-1991), the girls magazine Jackie (1964-1993), Bimbo (1961-1972) and Twinkle (1968-1999), the latter two both aimed at young children. This period also saw the release of Nutty (1980-1985) home to Bananaman who went on to be the first DC Thomson character to get his own cartoon.
The late Eighties and early nineties proved to be a dark period for DC Thomson's comics as this period saw the end of a large number of their comics and a large number of mergers. By the mid nineties the only comics left were The Dandy, The Beano, Bunty, and Commando as well as a number of Beano related spin-offs. These spinoffs included Beano Superstars note , Classics from the Comics note , and the Beano Fun Size Comics, which also had a Dandy version note . Some of the now defunct comics continued their annuals a short while after their closure, with The Beezer's last annual being released in 2002 almost ten years after the comic's closure. This period was not all bad, though, as it saw the beginning of the Dennis the Menace TV series, as well as another TV series based on DC Thomson characters called The Blobs (themselves based on a series of books published by the company in 1980).
The Turn of the Millennium saw the closure of Bunty and Beano Superstars, but DC Thomson's other comics lingered on. This period, however, also saw the release of the monthly Beano spin-off BeanoMAX, and The Beano continued to top the Christmas book sales charts every year with the sale of The Beano Annual. The Dandy's circulation dwindled, leading to a disastrous revamp in 2007 as The Dandy Xtreme.
The New '10s did not start off well for DC Thomson's comics, with the end of the Fun Size Comics and Classics from the Comics in 2010 and the end of The Dandy in 2012 on its 75th anniversary. The company still had three comics left with The Beano, BeanoMAX and Commando, as well as their newspapers and a few magazines (including WWE Kids). In June 2013, both BeanoMAX and the digital Dandy closed. MAX was replaced with a new 100% Official Dennis the Menace and Gnasher Megazine, while the Dandy's closure was blamed on technological problems, with a promise that it would be brought back at some point.