Candy, Andy & The Bearandas: A Surreal Comic Book from Another Dimension

Explore the strange and surreal world of the comic book 'Candy, Andy & The Bearandas' in this captivating new book.


A Bizarre Comic Book Universe

Step into the pages of 'Candy, Andy & The Bearandas' and you will find yourself immersed in a surreal world that combines the peculiar with the familiar. Publisher Richard Embray describes it as a 'family photo album from another dimension.' Originally released in 1967 as a weekly comic book called 'Candy,' this bizarre story features two life-sized mannequin children and their humanoid panda 'parents.' It was the brainchild of renowned production studio Century 21, founded by British TV producer and film director Gerry Anderson.

Unlike Anderson's other highly acclaimed comic-turned-TV-series, such as 'Thunderbirds' and 'Captain Scarlet,' which continue to have a strong following today, 'Candy' never made it to the screen and was shelved after just one year. Jamie Anderson, Gerry Anderson's son, expressed surprise at discovering his father's involvement with 'Candy' years after his death. The comic book remained a hidden gem until it resurfaced in recent years.

The Unconventional World of Candy and Andy

Set in a quintessential English village, the comic portrays the antics of the mannequin children and their panda parents living above a toy shop in a brightly-colored apartment. What made this comic unique was its use of photography instead of illustrations. The comic featured photographs taken by Doug Luke and later Roger Perry, giving it a surreal and distinctive aesthetic.

Unlike Anderson's other works, 'Candy and Andy' targeted a younger audience and embraced a more conventional lifestyle. The characters wore real children's clothes from upmarket British department store Harrods. The juxtaposition of these seemingly perfect familiar settings and the curious dummies created a surreal and sometimes eerie atmosphere.

From Obscurity to Cult Status

Alan Dein, a British historian and documentarian, stumbled upon 'Candy and Andy' in the mid-1980s when he purchased a book featuring the characters from a thrift store. This discovery sparked his interest, leading to a decades-long research project. Dein's blog post about the comic caught the attention of Jamie Anderson, who reached out to him.

The strangeness and quirkiness of 'Candy and Andy' set it apart from Anderson's other creations like 'Thunderbirds.' The comic's cult status grew when it made occasional appearances on social media threads. In 1994, selected images from the comic were displayed in an exhibition at London's Barbican, drawing comparisons to contemporary artists Jake and Dinos Chapman and Jeff Koons.

The newly published book 'Candy, Andy and the Bearandas' leans into the surrealism of the original imagery and serves as a time capsule of this unique comic book. With access to the original transparencies, the book is a high-quality photo book that accentuates the surreal nature of the photographs. It offers an intriguing glimpse into a moment in history that almost faded into obscurity.