The first issue, under the name The Dandy Comic, was published on 4 December 1937. The most notable difference, between this and other comics of the day, was its use of speech balloons instead of captions under the frame. 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!.