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The Beano
Beanologo.png
The current logo
Publication information
Publisher D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.
Schedule Weekly
Format Children's
Editor(s) Alan Digby

The Beano is a British children's comic, published by D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd and is possibly their most successful.

The comic first appeared on 26 July 1938[1] and was published weekly. During the Second World War, The Beano and The Dandy were published on alternating weeks due to paper and ink rationing. D.C. Thomson's other publications also suffered with the Oor Wullie and The Broons annuals falling victim to paper and ink shortages. Paper and ink supplies were fully restored shortly after the end of hostilities and weekly publication of The Beano and The Dandy resumed in 1949. In September 2009, the Beano's 3500th issue was published.[2] The Beano is currently edited by Alan Digby, who replaced Euan Kerr in summer 2006. Euan Kerr subsequently edited the BeanoMAX, a version of the Beano for older readers. He has since left however, leaving Alan in charge of both comics.

Its iconic characters such as Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids, Ivy the Terrible and Billy Whizz have become known to generations of British children. Earlier generations will remember other notable characters which have been phased out, such as Little Plum, Biffo the Bear, Big Eggo and Calamity James. Some old characters have made a return, like Lord Snooty.

The comics were also distributed in some of the Britain's colonies or former colonies. As they were sent by sea mail, they would go on sale some weeks after the date shown on the cover. The comic holds the world record for being the world's longest running weekly comic.

Contents

Strips

A number of strips in the comic have run for a very long time. The top five longest running Beano comic strips are, in ascending order, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger and, the last holder of the title before Dennis, Lord Snooty. Dennis the Menace's famous 'red and black' jersey had formed the colours of a few of the Beano characters' clothes (Minnie the Minx had the exact same top, Ball Boy's strip was a vertical red and black, Roger the Dodger has a chessboard design top and Danny (from the Bash Street Kids) has a similar cap) but the colours have changed for Minnie and Ball Boy (Minnie at one point had a red and yellow top and Ball Boy's strip now being black and blue).

There are frequent fictional crossovers between Beano characters, with most of the characters living in the fictional Beanotown. Many of the comic strips in The Dandy are drawn by the same artists, and crossovers between the two comics also occur occasionally. Quite often, one comic will make a tongue-in-cheek jibe at the other (e.g. a character meeting an elderly lady, and stating that she's 'older than the jokes in The Dandy'). In the strips, it is expressed that the two towns are rivals with each other and before The Dandy did a drastic format change they had an embassy in Beanotown which many of the town's citizens attempted to overrun, but failed (the embassy had no existence in The Beano). This rivalry inspired the spin-off computer game Beanotown Racing, in which various characters from both comics could be raced around points in Beanotown, including the Embassy. The game was given a large amount of advance publicity in the comics, with story lines often revolving how the characters each acquired his/her vehicle.

The Bash Street Kids Adventures written and drawn by Kev F Sutherland since 2004 have featured parodies of famous comic strip images, including Amazing Fantasy's first Spider-Man cover, Action Comics' first Superman cover, and most recently the cover of X Men #100. Sutherland created the rival schools to Bash Street, St Posho's and St Asbo's. He also revived old characters from the archives including Biffo the Bear, Keyhole Kate, Pansy Potter The Strongman's Daughter, and Desert Island Dick.

History

An old cover of The Beano

In 1921, D. C. Thomson had first strayed into boy's comics with Adventure. The success of this paper was such that five further publications, The Rover and The Wizard in 1922, The Vangaurd in 1923-1926, The Skipper in 1930 and The Hotspur in 1933. Although The Vanguard folded in 1926, the other comics were a great triumph and known as The Big Five, and were in fact the first major threat to Amalgamet Press's near-monopoly on the British comic industry.

Another success was the Fun Section of D. C. Thomson's Scottish weekly newspaper The Sunday Post, which included the two stips Oor Wullie and The Broons by lead artist Dudley Watkins, as well as other funnies and various puzzles and adventure stories. This gave R. D. Low, the head of children's publications at D. C. Thomson at the time, the idea to create another Big Five, this time of comics intended for both boys and girls and consisting mainly of 'funnies' and more lighthearted adventure and text stories.

The first of these publications, The Dandy, commenced in 1937 and was followed by The Beano on 26th July 1938. A third paper, The Magic Comic, aimed at a slightly younger audience, followed in July 1939, but ceased publication in early 1941, due to paper rationing. wartime shortages also prevented the New Big Five project from being completed.

The Beano comic takes its name from the English word beano which can be loosely interpreted as a good time.[3]

The first edition of The Beano was dated 30 July 1938,[4] and the 3000th issue was published in January 2000.[5] There are only 12 known copies of the first issue in existence, and only 5 known copies of the second issue (not including facsimiles). The first issue's cover could be found on the back of issue 2000.

A copy of this first issue sold for £12,100 on 16 March 2004, which was at the time thought to be the highest price ever paid for a British comic at an auction.[6] The current highest price is £20,350 which was paid for the first issue of The Dandy on 7 September 2004.[citation needed] The Beano is also the longest running weekly comic, the first previously being The Dandy, which is also published by the same publisher but turned into a fortnightly comic in 2007.

The Beano is so popular that it had its own theme park, Beanoland, at Chessington World of Adventures. This opened in 2000 and remained open for a decade.

Editors

The original editor was George Moonie, from 1938-1959, followed by Harold Cramond, 1959-84. Euan Kerr was editor from 1984 until he handed over to Alan Digby in early 2006. Alan had been Beano Chief Sub Editor when Euan first became editor, and later edited The Beezer. Euan has returned to edit BeanoMAX as of issue 2 (see below). Following the retirement of Euan Kerr, Alan Digby is now Editor-in-Chief of both titles.

Spin-off Comics

Comic Libraries

Since 1982 the comic, along with The Dandy, has also run "Comic Library" titles. Released monthly, these titles are a feature length (usually about 64 page) adventure, featuring a character from the comic itself. They are available in A5 size only. In 1998, these were replaced by the Fun Size Beano, which still runs today, although they became reprints in 2006.

Beano Specials

The comic also ran A4-sized Beano Specials in the early 1990s, which later were renamed Beano Superstars. These were similar to the Comic Library series. The last few issues were printed versions of episodes from the 1996-1998 Dennis and Gnasher animated TV series. A Beano Poster Comic series was also printed in the early 1990s.

The Beano Specials returned in 2003, and were now published seasonally. The issues were numbered, and the first one was a Dennis and Friends special, the last a Christmas reprint special. These were replaced by BeanoMAX in early 2007.

BeanoMAX

On 15 February 2007, the first issue of a monthly comic entitled BeanoMAX was published. The sister comic features many of the same characters, however the stories in BeanoMAX are written in a longer format meant for 10-13 year olds. The first issue was a Comic Relief special featuring assorted celebrity guests.

Plug

Main article: Plug_(comics)

Plug was a comic based around the eponymous character from The Bash Street Kids that began with issue dated 24th September 1977, and is notable for being the first comic to make use of gravure printing. The magazine similar in style to I.P.C's Krazy which had started the previous year. It contained uncharacteristically outlandish material for D C. Thomson, as well as later including celebrity appearances in the comic.

The comic revealed Plug's full name to be Percival Proudfoot Plugsley and also gave him a pet monkey by the name of Chumkee. Plug's strip was mostly drawn by Vic Neill but other artists, including Dave Gudgeon drew some later strips. Other strips included Antchester United, Violent Elizabeth, Eebagoom, Hugh's Zoo and D'ye Ken John Squeal and his Hopeless Hounds.

The venture was unsuccessful, in part because the comic cost 9p, with the Beano at the time only costing 4p and most of its rivals priced similarly. It merged with The Beezer on 24 February 1979.

Dennis and Gnasher

The brand new Dennis and Gnasher was launched separately from The Beano in September 2009.

Dennis and Gnasher got their own TV series on CBBC from 7 September 2009 to accompany the comic's new look. This was their second, having also had one in 1996, which ran for two series on CBBC, The Children's Channel, and Fox Kids.

Dennis and Gnasher were presenting their own radio show on Fun Kids from 5 September 2009.

Revamps

The Beano's first major revamp was in the 50th birthday issue of 1988, when the page number was increased, the comic had a wider paper style, and more colour was used throughout.

Another occurred in 1993, when the whole comic was now printed in full colour, along with some new strips such as the Numskulls, which had been moved from The Beezer.

No major revamps happened from then until 1998, when Dennis' baby sister Bea was born. The logo was rounded and embossed (but later flattened in February 1999), and there were 8 extra pages. Computers were starting to be used for articles and speech bubbles, rather than the usual hand drawn ones.

Since April 2007, the Beano has had five revamps to help it keep up to date.
The first occurred on April 7, 2007. The logo was made to appear to be jumping out, and was embossed using Photoshop[citation needed]. The website address was looped inside the "O". This logo had been used in the Beano Club for one issue in 2006.

Also in this issue, there was a record number of uncredited reprints, with the likes of Ivy the Terrible, Calamity James, Les Pretend, The Riot Squad and Fred's Bed now being reprinted. In certain areas of the UK, such as Lancashire, the price was increased to 99p, while elsewhere it remained as 85p.

The second happened on October 27. The logo was still Photoshop-embossed, but was now back to the rounded style which it had from 1999 to 2006. It was quite similar to the original rounded logo from 1998, which was flattened the following year.
The number of reprint pages was cut from 4 to 2, but more started to appear after about a month. Two new strips were also added, Johnny Bean from Happy Bunny Green and London B412. The price increased to 99p across the whole UK.

The third was the least major revamp. The background was changed from one colour behind the logo and another behind the Dennis strip to one single colour or a pattern, such as red and black stripes. New fonts were being used on the front cover, and the "Pocket money price" logo had been changed to a large "WOW! 99p" which was usually placed in the top corners. No new strips were added this time, but the amount of reprints went up to 5, sometimes lowering back to 4 per week, and an extra Dennis strip was added on the inside back two pages.

The fourth revamp, which happened with the issue dated 18 October 2008 had been the most major revamp to date. There was a return of Billy the Cat inside, as well as a new Super School strip by Lew Stringer. The price rose to £1.25 per issue. Different characters appear on the 'O' each week in a cleaner tidier embossed logo. New headline fonts were introduced (CCZoinks), the balloon font was also changed to Cloudsplitter by Blambot. But the main change was the paper style, which had finally changed from newsprint to a gloss, much in the style of the inside pages of companion papers Dandy Xtreme and BeanoMAX. The only difference between these paper styles is the front cover, which is thicker on the Dandy Xtreme and BeanoMAX, but the same as the pages throughout in the weekly Beano.

However, the fifth revamp which happened issue dated 29 August 2009 saw a new-look Dennis and Gnasher to coincide with the new series to start on CBBC 7 September[7]. Not only Dennis and Gnasher had changed but also the cover and regular features such as Contents, Beano Club and any one-off features directly relating to Dennis. New typefaces have been designed to accompany the TV series. Also Ball Boy was edited to be made 'cuter' and smaller. And two new strips were introduced, Beano Manga(introduced as chipis) and 60-Second Dennis (which was a spin-off from Dennis and Gnasher). Also the price was raised from £1.25 to £1.35.

Gnashional Menace Day and the 70th birthday

As a celebration, in partnership with the CLIC Sargent charity, 2 August 2008 was Gnashional Menace Day, where children were sponsored to behave like Dennis. The anniversary was also celebrated with a 40-page issue (instead of 32 pages; the 60th birthday issue also had extra pages, 48 instead of 24) guest edited by Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park,[8] price £1.50 [1] (not 99p: this has also happened to The Dandy on one occasion, see here) and an issue of Classics from the Comics devoted to the Beano. There is also a special 64-page book available, The Beano Special Collectors Edition: 70 Years of Fun, giving a brief history of the comic. In the Beano's home city of Dundee, a special exhibition was held at the University of Dundee featuring original artwork and other memorabilia loaned from D.C. Thomson - it ran until 20 September 2008.[9] In London the Cartoon Museum showed the exhibition Beano and Dandy Birthday Bash! from 30 July to 2 November 2008, featuring original artwork from all eight decades of both 'The Beano' and 'The Dandy', including work by Dudley D Watkins, David Law, Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid as well as David Sutherland and many contemporary artists. There were events for children throughout August.[10]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.lollipopanimation.com/php/The_Beano_art.php
  2. ^ http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/beano3500.jpg
  3. ^ For further discussion of the origin of this word, see The Meaning Of Beano
  4. ^ Issue dates of British comics, page retrieved 30 March 2007
  5. ^ Dennis the Menace by Mark Oliver. The Guardian, Wednesday March 14, 2001. Page retrieved 30 March 2007.
  6. ^ £12,000 Record Beano, page retrieved 30 March 2007
  7. ^ "Dennis Without The Menace Bad Idea". Bristol Evening Post. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Dennis-menace-bad-idea-says-Beano-illustrator/article-1255822-detail/article.html. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  8. ^ Gromit creator revels in having a bash at the Beano, The Guardian, July 21, 2008
  9. ^ happy Birthday Beano!, the University of Dundee Museum Collections
  10. ^ Cartoon Museum

References

"Beano artist in Kidderminster". bbc.co.uk - Hereford & Worcester. http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/content/articles/2006/06/13/beano_artist_0807_event_feature.shtml. Retrieved June 6, 2006. 

"Dennis Without The Menace Bad Idea". Bristol Evening Post. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Dennis-menace-bad-idea-says-Beano-illustrator/article-1255822-detail/article.html. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 

External links


Simple English

The Beano is a weekly British comic. The first issue was on July 30 1938. Annuals are released each year of The Beano Annual 2018.

Beano characters

  • Norman
  • Minnie the Minx
  • Ivy the Terrible
  • Billy Whizz
  • Ratz
  • Robbie Rebel
  • Gnasher
  • Gnipper
  • Lord Snooty
  • Les Pretend
  • Stanley the Rottweiler
  • Billy the Cat
  • Rodger the Dodger
  • The Numskulls
  • Fred (Fred's bed)
  • Jonny Bean
  • Charlie the Fox








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