Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Classic British Comic

In this post, I'm going to talk about my favourite British-comic of all time, The Beano, Who hear would likes Dennis the Menace? Minnie the Minx? or Roger the Dodger here? Well, this comic has all the naughty antics that the characters have, why the comic has been going on since July 30th 1938 (this is the first Beano comic)

In this picture of the first Beano comic (above), at the time the first star of the comic was an ostrich named Big Eggo, and there was no Dennis the Menace at the time, and today there are only a few copies like these available in this universe. I don't own this first issue, and my oldest Beano comic collection goes back to November 7th 1987, and it doesn't seem that ancient, but I bought a few of the Beano comics from 1987-1988 at a Second-hand Bookshop in Oxted about almost two-years ago, and I first read a Beano comic back in 2005, and it was a Christmas special (sadly I don't own it anymore), and the
Beano, really caught my attention so I started to collect a lot of the older comics from the 1990's and I really loved the older comics, and I love the 1990's and 1980's Dennis the Menace books, they were so fun and well-drawn, and I also really like The Dandy and I got a collection on eBay of 51 Dandy comics from the year 1993, and I really liked them, however I really don't like the new version of the Dandy which is called DandyXtreme.

I also collected the Beano Annuals, and my oldest in the collection was back in 1989, and my most recent one was one in 2008 (I no longer collect new-edition Beanos)

Here are some Beano Books I own, although they're not the only annuals I own, but just to show a few!

When Dennis the Menace was created in 1951 by a British-artist named David Law, and David Law's original drawings of Dennis were really crude and rough, but that was cartoon's style back then, Dennis Law introduced Dennis' new pet dog, Gnasher, in 1968. In 1970, David Sutherland (my favourite Dennis artist), was taken over to draw Dennis, and this time the comic-strip was called Dennis the Menace and Gnasher. Sutherland drew Dennis and Gnasher's antics for almost 30 years, and one of Dennis' highlights was in 1974 where he was now in the front-cover of the Beano, and is still in the cover today! Also, one of the most famous stories were the events March-May of 1986 and Gnasher was missing, and Gnasher brought back a few friends named Gnatasha, Gnannete, Gnancy, Gnorah, Gnaomi and Gnipper, and then Ghasher had his new-friend in the comic-strip Gnasher and Gnipper which replaced his old comic-strip, Gnasher's Tale.

In the 1990's marked the last appearances of the some of the golden characters, well Lord Snooty (who had been in the very first comic) was retired from the comic in 1938, and he was a real star, and I really liked the character, I sort of felt him like a nostalgic Roger the Dodger. Biffo the Bear (who was a star back in 1948) was semi-retired throughout the 1990's and he had a small strip just called Biffo, and he didn't talk at all and then he was retired out of the strip in around 1998 or 1999.

I think my favourite Dennis designs was the Dennis Sutherland's version in the 1980's, and he looks older and more tougher, and in the 1990's Dennis was rather more younger and cuter, and it was still an appealing look, but I think Sutherland went a little carried away, and in 1993 was the first all-coloured Beano, and I actually have a copy of the all-coloured comic. It shows Dennis with his coloured-squirt gun and he fires them at black and white comic-characters like Roger the Dodger, Billy Whizz, Ball Boy (one of my favourite characters) and Ivy the Terrible, and they all turn into colour, and even Gnasher was accidentally fired with his gun and turned multi-coloured! Dated in October 16th 1993, and it marked the first appearenced of one of my favourite strips, The Numbskulls which used to be in another British-comic, The Beezer.

This is the 1993 issue of the Beano in colour, and I like the idea of how Dennis got a coloured-pistol and fired them at the black and white characters and transformed then into colour.

Well, that's me finished for my Beano talk, if I have some ideas I left out or if I have time, I'll try and post another another Beano topic, after 70 years of classic strips and it all started with an ostrich!


Brian Sibley said...

Good article, Steven! I started reading the Beano about halfway between that first issue and when you started reading it. It remains, as you say, a 'classic' of British comics and I too loved the often rough-and-ready look of the early artwork (and the jokes!) and the brilliant names - I mean, 'Ivy the Terrible'! Brilliant.

Do you know the American cartoon character, also called Dennis the Menace, drawn by Hank Ketcham? I always thought it would be fun to see the two Dennises going head-to-head! :)

Steven Hartley said...

Brian, thanks for your comment. I have heard of the US version of Dennis the Menace. What a coincidence, the US Dennis first appeared on 12th March 1951, and the UK Dennis appeared three days after, March 15th, a bit spooky, maybe Law had the same idea!

To tell you the truth, I've never really became a fan of American comics, and I know that the American-Dennis version had blonde-hair and Dennis had frizzy-black hair, (like Elizabeth I), and what's clever was back in 1968, that's Gnasher's hair was just a match of Dennis' hair.

It would be interesting to be the American-Dennis having a cross-over between the British-Dennis, I never actually thought of that!
Apparentally Hank Ketcham's inspiration of Dennis was based on his son.

Do you recall having an earliest Beano collection? Just asking. Thanks for your comment, I'm trying to get more people to look at the website.

Steven Hartley said...

Bits I forgot to mention in my comment or post:

Brian, the jokes in the comics are wonferful and such a wit! I mean the names like 'Ivy the Terrible' is a great spoof of Ivan the Terrible, and I like how the name Dennis rhymes with Menace, pretty clever?

The stories are just great and easy to follow, and I like it how the characters say, 'readers'.
The puns are really great, and another great character from the Bash Street Kids, Plug, the very ugly-tall kid is always a laugh. Like when he looks at the mirror, it cracks! Its really interesting of how the artists (like Sutherland) over the years and weeks spent a lot of time making up stories and new puns, and a couple of years ago, some of the comic strips from the '90's were reused, and I thought at that point that the comic-strips would come to an end.

Eric Noble said...

Very interesting!! I remember seeing one of the Beano annuals at a Half-Price Bookstore (in Kent, WA of all places). I didn't get it, although maybe I should have. Looks like it was a wonderful comic. BTW, I'm glad you like the comics I post.

Steven Hartley said...

Yeah, I do like the comics you post, even though I remember my sister bought me some Archie comics stuff, and I never heard of them when I saw them, and I wasn't a fan of it, and I never even talked about it!!

Eric, maybe you should have bought the Beano annual, because its so easy to follow along, the puns are great, and I love the characters (even though they are MENACES), and the reason why its been on for so long because its a great comic!!

Thanks for your support on my website, Eric; I'll give you support on your webpage in your future posts!