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The History of The Beano

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Ellen West - web producer | 12:37 UK time, Thursday, 16 October 2008

Many of us grew up with Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Oor Wullie and loads of other characters from the home of anarchic comedy that is The Beano. The comic is 70 this year and the birthday has been marked with much jollification, including a recent exhibition at the University of Dundee. Now, a massive, and lavishly illustrated, history of The Beano has been published, written by ex-Dandy editor Morris Heggie and edited by Christopher Riches. Every page of the book bustles with details from the drawings or full strips, ensuring that it makes for fascinating reading. Today's young Beano fans will enjoy this as much as nostalgic older readers because it is as much an anthology of great strips and characters as a straightforward history.

Dennis the MenaceDennis the Menace (Image copyright DC Thomson)

Here's a beautifully drawn Jonah strip from The Beano in 1959 that we put up on the BBC Four website during our Comics Britannia series last year. The disaster-prone sailor (who destroyed a ship each week) was before my time, but it's a good example of the sort of treats on offer in The History of the Beano.

We also asked users of the BBC Four website to let us know who their favourite comic book character was and Dennis was third on this (unscientific) list; he was beaten by Judge Dredd and Dan Dare. Was Dennis robbed? Do you have a favourite character?


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