The first issue, under the name The Dandy Comic, was published on 4 December 1937. It was published weekly until 6 September 1941, when wartime paper shortages forced it to switch to fortnightly, alternating with The Beano. It returned to its weekly schedule on 30 July 1949. From 17 July 1950, the magazine changed its name to just The Dandy.
Though later issues became all comic strips, early issues had many text strips, with some illustrations. In 1940, this meant 12 pages of comic strips and 8 pages of text stories. Text stories at two pages each were Jimmy's Pocket Grandpa, British Boys and Girls Go West, There's a Curse on the King and Swallowed by a Whale!.
After issue 3282 (dated 16 October 2004) The Dandy underwent a radical format overhaul. The comic changed format and content, reflecting a more television-oriented style, now printed on glossy magazine paper instead of newsprint. The price was raised from 70p to £1.20 (99p for the first two weeks), a new comic strip called "Office Hours" appeared, and two supposedly new ones also started, though were actually revivals from a few years earlier ("Jak" and "Dreadlock Holmes").
As of August 2007 (issue 3426), The Dandy has had another update, becoming the fortnightly comic Dandy Xtreme. It now costs £2.75 (some issues can cost up to 2.99 depending on how many gifts there are).
Unlike previous versions, Dandy characters will not necessarily grace the cover every issue; instead, celebrities and other cartoon characters will be featured. The first Dandy Xtreme had Bart Simpson on the cover.