Reviews: the Beano 80 Years of Fun!
The Beano: 80 Years of Fun Box Set,
The Beano has now been in print for an astonishing eighty years. In the fickle world of comics and publishing, this is nothing short of an incredible achievement; entire generations of happy kids have grown up reading the Bash Street Kids, Little Plum, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and so many more. To celebrate this laudable landmark DC Thomson have released a celebratory box set called 80 Years of Fun.
For your money, you get a lovely slipcase filled with oodles of Beano related goodies. First off is a 100 page book that gives the reader a whistle-stop tour through the eight-decade history of the Beano. It’s laid out in scrapbook form, and features loads of features and interviews with the humans behind the comic characters, and it is good to see the the creators being honoured as well as their characters.
There are also reproductions of eight issues of the Beano – one from each decade – starting with, obviously, issue #1 from July 1938. As well as being a highly fun set of comics to read, they are also interesting historical artefacts. All of the comics are a hefty length, for example, apart from the 1945 issue, which is almost just pamphlet length. WWII and wartime then post-war austerity rationing no doubt taking its toll (the comic continued to come out during the war, although it had to alternate weeks with the Dandy due to shortage of paper. The Nazis were said to hate the comic for its satirical humour aimed at them). There’s the first appearance of Dennis the Menace in 1951 – and this issue has a delightfully surreal Pansy Potter strip where Old Father Time is messing about with her day. Bizarre stuff, Old Father Time just hangs around and nobody thinks this is weird…
The 1960 issue features Biffo the Bear performing outrageous property damage in the name of comedy (which obviously we loved). There’s also a straight sci-fi romp called The Danger Man and a curious story called The Great Flood of London, which looks familiar to anyone who has read the much later 2000 AD strip Disaster 1990. By the way – the issue from March 1986 has a Dennis storyline where Gnasher is missing… and it ends in a cliff-hanger! I want to know what happens next! Things are brought right up to date with the 3800th issue.
All in all, a very impressive package.
And it doesn’t stop there!
You also get an A1 poster that looks like it features every Beano character ever. There are a few postcard sized prints and a, A4 print that would look good on your wall. And if that is not enough, there’s also a free gift of a Gnasher Snapper and… drum roll… Dennis the Menace Fan Club badges and wallet! I think you’ll agree that it is worth it for this alone!
The Beano 80 Years of Fun Box Set is available only direct from the Beano’s venerable publishers, D C Thomson on a get them while they last basis!