Beano Club closed to new members

Dennis the Menace Dennis the Menace is the longest running strip in the Beano

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The long-running club for dedicated fans of Dennis the Menace is to be replaced with a website in a bid to attract more members.

The Beano Club stopped accepting new members in August, though the comic's Dundee publishers DC Thomson said it would honour existing subscriptions.

The club was launched in 1976 as the Dennis the Menace Fan Club.

It will be replaced in the next few months with a new website and will be known simply as Beano.com.

The old Beano Club cost £12.99 a year, and included a newsletter and birthday card among other benefits.

A spokesman for the DC Thomson said the publisher had not yet decided whether Beano.com would be free or be run as a subscription model with different levels of access.

Mike Stirling said: "It's not closing down. What we're going to be doing is we're going to be running it in a different format which will enable more people to join."

Mr Stirling said anyone who signed up before the cut-off point at the end of August would still receive their newsletters and a birthday card.

The company will be writing to all subscribers soon to notify them of the changes. DC Thomson is hoping to launch the new website in October.

The Dennis the Menace club started in 1976. It cost only 75p to join and membership peaked at 1.25 million members.

It ran for 22 years before becoming the Beano Club, which currently has about 10,000 members, aged from seven to 70.

Mr Stirling said the intention was to move to a "new type of club".

"The Beano Club is a lot more expensive to join so maybe it's a bit exclusive.

"We're hoping to make it easier to join to get more members - and give them more of a sense of a Beano community.

"What we're trying to create is a VIP feeling for Beano fans."

The Beano comic has been published since 1938. Dennis the Menace first appeared in issue 452, in March 1951, and is the longest running strip in the comic.

Are you or were you a member of the Beano Club? How do you feel about its demise? Here are some of your thoughts.

I joined the Dennis the Menace Fan Club in 1978 and remember saving up for the postal orders. It is such a shame that the club is coming to an end.

Matthew, Edinburgh

I wonder if the fall in members has anything to do with the increase in subscription fees to three times that caused by inflation.

Jalanie Crue, UK

Ding!

Stephen Serjeant, Towcester

Ahhh, I was a member of the Dennis the Menace Fan Club, back in the day. I still fondly remember my "furry" Gnasher badge with its googly eyes. The smell of plastic travel card wallets today still takes me back to the Fan Club ID card wallet in which I kept the membership card with the "DING" (Dennis Is Never Good) and "DONG" (Dennis Owns Naughty Gnasher) passwords. Not so secret if there were 1.25 million like souls!! Was that really all for 75p?? I can't see that an online club will offer the same nostalgia value!

Al, Chelmsford

Wasn't Paul Weller a member of this when he was in The Jam?

Roger, Manchester

I lost interest in the club when they changed how they manufactured the Gnasher badges and started to make them out of a more "plasticy" material. Plus I spent years wandering around saying "Ding!' to random people, in the hope of getting a "Dong!" back. Nothing. I'm easily disappointed.

James Francis, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire

I'm upset that it costs £12.99 A YEAR. I joined back in the 80s and thought I was still a member. Looks like I may have let my membership slip over the last 20+ years!

Jeff Paulson, Bristol,

Sounds like the usual corporate cost cutting, and very poor show. Why not have the website *and* the club. I was a member of the "Dennis the menace and Gnasher fang club" in the 70s/80s. After that it must have turned into "The Beano Club", at which point it stopped being cool anyway. Do kids really read the Beano any more, or just spend the days shooting zombies in the face on their PS3s? I suspect the latter.

Justin Stringfellow, Poole, Dorset

My daughter is a member of the beano club. She loves it and I'll bet that she will be thrilled to know that she is now a member of an exclusive club!

Gordon, Kirknewton

I still have the old hairy Gnasher badge and the wallet somewhere in the words of the immortal Abysinian Wire-Haired Tripe Hound "Gnot-Gnice"

Martyn Howie, Aberdeenshire

"Closed to new members". I had no idea that The Beano Club was actually an occupational pension scheme.

Lee Harvey Osmond,

Al Chelmsford would not last in the Masons giving away all the secrets.

Paul, Liverpool

I'm more of a Dandy man.

Nick, Lymington, Hampshire

I remember running down to the post office, buying a stamp and postal orders and sending it off. Then running to the front door every morning in anticipation until my goodies arrived. Isn't this experience something that we are denying future generations?

Khurram, Leicester,

That would be a great pity, as my son [a member] really looks for the mail delivered, looking at things on a computer screen lacks the personal touch for a child. It's the tangible that appeals to children - 'my membership card', 'Newsletter addressed to Me'. An email has to playground value - but an exclusive badge has! After all how many 9 year olds have exclusive Internet access? none of my 3 children do.

Mrs M, Stirlingshire

I joined the Beano Club in 1977 - I'm still waiting for my birthday card!

Damian, Wirral

I remember joining up when Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker to you younger people!) was appearing as a former member.

Daniel McAdams, Bolney

This is a sad day. Everyone worth knowing is a member of the Dennis the Menace fan club. It's like the Freemasons, only better and a bit less politically influential. Does anyone else think that this might just be one of those PR stunts - like when Heinz propsed getting rid of Salad Cream, which drove sales of said "cream" through the roof.

Mark, Reading

My son aged 4 and daughter aged 6 are both members and to be honest get very little out of their £12.99 membership. For that price I would expect an awful lot more than a badge, a flimsy toy, certificate and a quarterly mini comic. Clearly the economics are not working for them - I'm sure they're having to claw back costs following the acquisition of the social networking fossil Friends Reunited (although I understand that will be cast aside soon as they focus purely on the Genes Reunited element). I do hope, however, that this move enables DC to catapult Dennis and Gnasher back to the fronts of minds of all primary school kids.

Jason, London

Yup, a member back in the day. Furry badge and membership card etc. Strange how something so simple felt so exciting back then. I think it is a natural progression to move online but as has been said, not sure this will give the same nostalgia value when the current members are 40 - 50 yrs old.

Kenny, Glasgow

I was a Lifelong member of the club, and will forever request the Beano annual for Christmas! I believe Jason Robinson and Michael Owen were member too. It's a shame to see it close, but as long as the comic continues to entertain children and adults alike for generations to come, I can still sleep easy at night!

Elliot, Gloucester

I was a member of this "exclusive" club when I was 7 or 8. I saved up for ages to apply - and waited for ages to hear back too! I proudly wore my furry Gnasher and Dennis the Menace badges for years - many a mate at school was green eyed at my "official" ID! Happy days, shame they are going the web-based route - they are certainly too expensive and that's the problem, if they got back to basics with a cheap subscription and a few gadgets they'd be back in the game I think?

David Cavanagh, Nottingham

I joined in 1976 and still have the metal badge and wallet. Knark Knark - so true, the management clearly had an older sister...

Ian, Oxford

Bring back Big Eggo!

Andy, Cardiff

Al, Chelmsford - yes, Paul Weller was a regular correspondant with my flat-mate in Dundee, who wrote the Mini the Minx and Billy Whiz scripts.

John Ramsay, Nottingham

I would imagine the decline in numbers is due to the fact that being in the Dennis the Menace fan club seems to be deeply unfashionable, i cant imagine my 12 year old brother would be proudly announcing it during morning register at school?

Rob, Chesham Bucks

I remember Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker, being a member of the Beano Club as well. Not even the power of the Force could save it, it seems.

Andy, Portsmouth

I'm not sure about the club closing, eh readers?

Steve, Llandudno

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