The Beano

The Beano (formerly The Beano Comic, also known as Beano) is British anthology comic magazine created by Scottish publishing company DC Thomson. Its first issue published 30 July 1938,[1] and became the world's longest-running comic issued weekly in 2018, publishing its 4000th issue in August 2019.[2] Popular and well-known comic strips and characters include Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, General Jumbo, The Bash Street Kids, Jack Flash, Ivy the Terrible, Lord Snooty and His Pals, and Roger the Dodger.

The Beano
Beano logo 2016.png
The logo, as of 2016
Chief-EditorJohn Anderson
Former editorsSee list
Staff writersSee list
CategoriesAnthology comic, Children's humour
FounderR. D. Low
First issue30 July 1938; 82 years ago (1938-07-30)
CompanyDC Thomson
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inDundee, Scotland

Intended to be a member for the cancelled "New Big Five", The Beano was planned as a pioneer of a children's magazine that only contained comic strips in the style of American newspaper gag-a-days. In the present, its legacy is its misbehaving characters, escapist tales and anarchic humour with an audience of all ages. Starting in the 1940s, Beano became a multimedia franchise with spin-off books and Christmas annuals, websites, theme park rides, games, cartoon adaptations, and a production company.


Creation (1920s–1939)Edit

Throughout the 1920s, DC Thomson dominated the British comics industry. Dubbed "the big five", the publisher's most successful comics were Adventure (1921),[3] The Rover and The Wizard (1922),[4][5] The Skipper (1930)[6] and The Hotspur (1933).[7][Note 1] These were weekly issued boys' magazines for preteen males, containing anthologies by DC Thomson's creator staff designed in various formats and genres. They became popular throughout the United Kingdom, notably in English industrial cities,[8] helped through the company's ability to view sales and promotions in the areas much easier than the rival publishers in London.[9] Although many were about "super men" the young readers could idolise,[10] the rest of the stories would be comic strips inspired by the gag-a-day strips in American newspapers full of stylised characters, slapstick and puns.

Overseeing the magazines was the Managing Editor of Children's Publications, R. D. Low, who first joined the company in 1913.[11] Almost a decade into the big five's success, the stories shifted to comedic and included more comic strips,[12] which gave Low an idea of creating a new "big five" which focused on the funnies more than drama. The suggestion was approved; editors Bill Blain and (sub-editor) Albert Barnes of The Wizard and The Hotspur, respectively, joined Low's project.[13] The new team placed a newspaper advertisement into The Daily Telegraph[Note 2] asking for artists and/or comic ideas.[14] With the help of the advertisement responses and employed artists at DC Thomson, The Dandy was published in 1937,[15] the New Big Five's first member.[13] For The Beano (initially called "The Beano Comic" until 1950),[16] Low received comic strip suggestions by Reg Carter, an English illustrator in Sussex who had created funnies for several British comics and designed humourous postcards.[14] After an in-person interview, Low and Carter planned the front cover for The Beano's first issue, eventually creating the character Big Eggo (originally named Oswald the Ostrich).[17] It would be in colour whilst the inside of the magazine would be black and white,[Note 3] a tactic used for The Dandy's first issue (black and white stories inside, colourful Korky the Cat strip on the front).[18] Joining the Big Eggo strip would be many funnies, such as Hugh McNeill's Ping the Elastic Man, James Jewell's Wee Peem, Allan Morley's Big Fat Joe, Eric Roberts' Rip Van Wink, Dudley D. Watkins' Lord Snooty and His Pals, and Roland Davies' Contrary Mary.[19] Despite the aim to make a new comic series full of American-inspired comic strips, The Beano also contained short stories, serial fiction and adventure stories similar to the Big Five's magazines; Morgyn the Mighty was previously in The Rover.[20] Tin-Can Tommy and Brave Captain Kipper were reprints, co-produced by the Italian art agency Torelli Bros.[19]

Worth 2d with a free prize of a "whoopee mask", issue 1 of The Beano was released on 26 July 1938 for the 30th,[1] selling roughly 443,000 copies.[21] Like The Dandy, its name is from a Low-led DC Thomson office party called The DB Club (The Dandy Beano Club).[13] DC Thomson had several office party clubs that hosted different types of staff gatherings to choose from (e.g. The Prancers would hike hills), but Low's DB Club preferred playing golf and dining throughout Dundee. The two magazines also followed the one-word titles of other comics by rival companies, such as Amalgamated Press' Crackers, Sparkler, Puck and some books from its Union Jack series (Marvel, Magnet and Gem);[22] and Target Publications' Chuckler, Rattler and Dazzler.[13] Beano editor-in-chief was George Moonie, former sub-editor of The Wizard, who would be editor until the summer of 1959.[23] He later explained DC Thomson was a competitive company that wanted to make the best children's literature in the United Kingdom, but there was also competition within itself as Beano offices was determined to beat The Dandy's popularity.[23]

World War Two, reaching million sales (1940–1959)Edit

Drastic changes occurred behind the scenes of The Beano during the Second World War: George Moonie and editing partner Ron Fraser left to join the Royal Marines and Air Force, respectively, both not returning until c. 1946.[24] Stuart Gilchrist became sole editor-in-chief after Moonie's other sub-editor Freddie Simpson became ill and resigned. Contact was also lost with Torelli Bros. so in-house creations of Tin-Can Tommy began from issue 69 by Sam Fair.[25] Paper rationing caused the rest of Low's New Big Five to be cancelled[11] (it stopped at three published, the third member being The Magic Comic (1939), which ended with 80 issues in 1941),[26] and The Beano to fluctuate its page count instead of its usual 28.[Note 4] Eventually, The Beano became a fortnightly magazine until 23 July 1949.[30]

Comic strips would encourage readers to help their parents and other adults with the war effort, and to be optimistic about the war's outcome. New comic strips mocked Mussolini[31] and propagandist William Joyce,[32] Lord Snooty and His Pals stories would be about the protagonists outsmarting the Axis leaders,[Note 5] and other stories would be about characters recycling paper.[33] Big Eggo front covers were often about Eggo pranking servicemen during the Blitz,[34] and Pansy Potter received a medal for single-handily capturing a Nazi U-boat.[35][36] Issue 192 would debut a 16-part prose story about a boy and his mother being evacuated to the United States and becoming the enemy of a Chicago gangster's widow.[37]

December 1945 marked a milestone: issue 272 became the first Beano issue to sell over a million copies.[38] The end of the war also ushered in a new era for the comic, debuting superhero Jack Flash[39] and a new generation of trouble-making kids: Dennis the Menace,[40] Minnie the Minx,[41] The Bash Street Kids,[42] and Roger the Dodger.[43] DC Thomson also introduced new comic magazines like The Beezer[44] and The Topper[45] that a few Beano artists also created characters and stories for.[46]

Post-war changes (1960–present)Edit

George Moonie resigned as editor-in-chief in 1959 to develop comics for girls.[23] Sub-editor of The Beezer Harry Cramond succeeded Moonie until retiring in 1984, described as the most influential editor in The Beano's history.[47] He oversaw new merchandising, high sales,[48][Note 6] and the thousandth[51] and two thousandth issues.[52] Behind the scenes of the magazine became humanised throughout the years as DC Thomson's Beano offices featured on documentary television and Cramond's successor Euan Kerr guest-starred on television for the magazine's 50th anniversary.[53]

Magazine revamps also ensued. The Beano began to advertise outside of DC Thomson's products in 1988 in order to keep both it and The Dandy "pocket money" cheap,[54] beginning with issue 2407.[55] 1975 was the last year to feature an adventure comic as General Jumbo's eighth series drew to a close in issue 1734.[56] Issue 2674 was the first issue to feature every page in colour.[57]

Publishing historyEdit


Issues published weekly every Tuesday in 1938,[Note 7][58] and when the magazine changed distribution to every two weeks, the day remained unchanged.[59] From issue 366, the day changed to Friday until issue 375 which began the Thursday publication day schedule.[30] In the 2010s (and as of 2020), the day changed to Wednesday.[60][61][62][63][64][65]

Artists assigned to a strip(s) will design all its stories into a "series" that the chief editor will arrange into an order to publish for each issue.[66][67] Strips are sometimes ghostwritten by other artists who imitate the original designer's style, which is helpful if artists retire or die unexpectedly, otherwise the strip is discontinued.[68] "When I started I was drawing two pages a week and thinking 'Phew, that’s quite a lot'. Now I do 10 or 12 pages a week. You have to do more all the time to stay where you are," explained Nigel Parkinson.[69]


A number of strips in the comic have run for a very long time. The top five longest running Beano comic strips are, in descending order, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger, and then 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 has the same, although the placement of the stripes is a bit different; Ball Boy's 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 they have changed for Minnie and Ball Boy (Minnie at one point had a red and yellow top and Ball Boy's strip is now black and blue).[citation needed]

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 comic magazines also occur occasionally. Quite often, one magazine 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 storylines often revolving how the characters each acquired his/her vehicle.

Occasionally there are longer than usual strips, for example, a strip of sixteen pages rather than the usual two pages. These longer strips include The Bash Street Kids Adventures written and drawn by Kev F Sutherland[70] which 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 No. 100.[citation needed]


The Beano allows its characters from different strips to interact with each other. Reprinting old stories or redistributing characters into other magazines is common throughout DC Thomson's history, as if the stories are set in the same universe. The Lord Snooty series discontinued old characters and replaced them with Beano strip characters of the past; Dennis the Menace featured in DC Thomson's Champ magazine in the mid-1980s and The Weekly News tabloid-magazine for four years in the 1950s.[71] Morgyn the Mighty,[72] Tricky Dicky,[73] Bananaman[74] and Corporal Clott were stories previously from The Rover,[20] The Topper, Nutty[75] and The Dandy,[76] respectively, whereas one of Gnasher's puppies had her own strip in The Beezer and Topper[77] and Jackie magazine.[78] Anniversary issues are frequently contained with crossovers: the 2000th issue had the "Hall of Fame" strip which showed framed portraits of characters from the past,[52] and issue 3443's Fred's Bed featured Fred crawling under his bed and time travelling through the magazine's comic strips.[79][80]

Comic layoutsEdit

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 issue 2,674, dated 16 October 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's 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. The first occurred on 7 April 2007: the logo was raised using a heavy black drop shadow, and the body of the lettering and its yellow trim were separated by a subtle 3D groove effect. The website address was looped inside the "O". This logo had been used in the Beano Club for one issue in 2006. Two new comic strips were introduced, these being The Riot Squad and Fred's Bed, reprints from Hoot and The Beezer and Topper respectively. There was a record number of uncredited reprints, with the likes of Ivy the Terrible, Calamity James, Les Pretend also being reprinted.

The second happened on 27 October 2007. The logo was still grooved, 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, is 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 and 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 glossy paper, much in the style of the inside pages of the then companion papers Dandy Xtreme and BeanoMAX. The only difference between these paper styles is the front cover, which was thicker on the Dandy Xtreme and BeanoMAX, but the same as the pages throughout in the weekly Beano.

As of late 2010, The Beano is printed by BGP and the comic is now in an A4 format. A mild revision of style accompanies this with balloon font changed to CCTimeSaleLower, an upper and lower case font and a much larger Beano logo on the cover. The font CCZoinks appears to have less prominence with CreativeBlockBold taking centre stage. The Beano Club was closed down in 2010 and its pages changed to Beano VIP with more online presence. The paper is still glossy, but the paper stock gives it a matte feel. At the start of 2011, the Beano VIP pages were dropped from the comic, but the online features remain.

In the issue dated 12 October 2011, there was another revamp. The comic was expanded to 36 pages, and the paper stock was made smoother. The Number 13 and The Germs strips returned as reprints. A reader's page was also reintroduced, this time titled the Menace Gallery. After two appearances, this was renamed The Treehouse.

In the issue dated 28 January 2012, The Beano's cover changed. The logo was now more like the logo from 1972 to 1998, but with "The" inside the B much like later versions of the logo. The special "O"s that had appeared sometimes in the last year were also kept. The first panel of the Dennis & Gnasher strip also appeared on the cover, like from 1972 to 2008, but the "This Week in Beanotown" feature still appeared across the bottom.

In late 2012, Craig Graham took over as Beano editor and revamped the comic. As a result, two mini-strip pages titled "Funsize Funnies" were introduced and featured Simply Smiffy, Rasher, Little Plum, Les Pretend, Pup Parade, Baby Face Finlayson as well as two new strips Gnash Gnews and Winston and also introduced artists such as Wilbur Dawbarn (who took over Billy Whizz from Nick Brennan), Lew Stringer (not seen in the Beano since Super School), Alexander Matthews, Paul Palmer and Nigel Auchterlounie. Auchterlounie soon took over writing Dennis the Menace and Gnasher also which had returned to its pre-2009 style with new characters from the 2009 TV series. In January 2013, Biffo the Bear, Pansy Potter, Lord Snooty and Gnipper were added to the Funsize Funnies, introducing Graham Howie to the Beano and being the return of Wayne Thompson. Later that year, two new comic strips were added called Big Time Charlie and Tricky Dicky (relaunch of the classic Topper star) and Stunt Gran, BamBeanos, BSK CCTV joined the Funsize Funnies replacing Gnash Gnews, Pup Parade and Pansy Potter. Puzzle pages frequently appeared in the comic now, with Jamie Smart and Lew Stringer originally drawing the puzzles, and later on other artists such as Steve Beckett and Barrie Appleby.

Gnashional Menace Day and the 70th birthdayEdit

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,[81] price £1.50 (not 99p) 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.[82] 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.[83] There was also a special coffee table book, The History of The Beano: The Story So Far, published by Waverly Books.

75th anniversary, changesEdit

In the 75th Anniversary Special, The Beano had yet another revamp introducing celebrities as regular characters. As a result, all of the Funsize Funnies as well as the two new recently added comic strips Tricky Dicky and Big Time Charlie plus the reprinted Calamity James were all dropped. Bananaman came out of Geering reprints after being in them for over a year with Wayne Thompson reprising the role of artist after drawing him previously in The Dandy from 2010 to 2012. Roger the Dodger was taken over by Jamie Smart and Ball Boy was taken over by Alexander Matthews and completely relaunched. Nigel Auchterlounie also took over as scriptwriter of The Bash Street Kids and Bananaman, as well as now both writing and drawing The Numskulls which itself had had a huge relaunch with one-off celebrities replacing the role of Edd starting with Ant and Dec.

12-year-old artist Zoom Rockman also joined The Beano in this issue, drawing Skanky Pigeon which appeared monthly. In the issue after the 75th Anniversary Special, fourteen new comic strips joined The Beano with twelve of these becoming the new Funsize Funnies stories, all of which are parodies of either a celebrity or television show: High School Moozical, Neigh-Bours, Celebrity Believe It or Not, I Pity the School, Murs Attacks, Ashley's Banjo, Coronation Bleat, Jose's Back, Simon's Bowel, Guess Who?, Watch-Hog and Danny Diddly O'Donoghue as well as two new one-page stories to replace Tricky Dicky and Big Time Charlie: El Poco Loco and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turkeys.

Stu Munro also took over as both puzzle page artist (as he did in The Dandy) and The Dandy's Madvertisements were brought back with Stu Munro once again drawing them. Since the 75th Anniversary Special revamp, The Beano has now gained Andy Fanton, Stephen Waller, Dean Rankine, Garry Davies and Rick Eades all from The Dandy and the only original Beano artists that remain in the comic are David Sutherland, Laura Howell and Nigel Parkinson since Barrie Appleby, Barry Glennard, Hunt Emerson and Dave Eastbury all appear to have gone.

80th anniversaryEdit

The 80th-anniversary comic memorably features characters from the first issue. Left to right: Wee Peem, Tin-Can Tommy, Pansy Potter, Lord Snooty, and Big Fat Joe.

There were several milestone releases for the 80th anniversary in 2018. As well as the 80th Year boxed set full of prizes,[84] issue 3945 was guest edited by actor-turned children's author David Walliams[85] and had a large crossover story about Bash Street School opening the Beanotown's 1938 time capsule and discovering a map, which leads to robots and a giant tentacle monster breaking out to attack the residents. There was also a flashback panel of the time capsule being sealed which featured a handful of comic strip characters from the first issue, later helping the present day characters discover how to defeat the tentacle monster, named Simon.

The Beano was also the face of the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge, called Mischief Makers,[86] which included a special Dennis the Menace novel tie-in called Dennis the Menace and the Chamber of Mischief by Beano artist Nigel Auchterlounie.[87] The Dennis the Menace Fan Club was re-launched as a phone app, rebranded as The Dennis and Gnasher Fan Club, and allowed readers free membership, printable badges, and pranks.[88] On television, the Sky Kids show SO Beano! aired;[89] a TV show with special guests, children presenters, and fun and games,[90] in a similar style to Friday Download and Scrambled!

Classic comics also returned in a three-panel format in issues, mostly starring Big Eggo, Biffo the Bear and two special holiday books were published: a summer special and a Christmas special. Meanwhile, the 2019 annual included a double-page inner front and back cover full of 255 characters that have appeared over the comic's publications.


Chief Editor historyEdit

As of 2020, there have been seven official chief editors.[91][92][93]

  • George Moonie (1938–1939, c. 1946–1959)
  • Harold Cramond (1959–1984)
  • Euan Kerr (1984–2006)
  • Alan Digby (2006–2011)
  • Michael Stirling (2011–2012)
  • Craig Graham (2012–2016)
  • John Anderson (2016–present)[Note 8]

Temporary chief editors:

  • Stuart Gilchrist (1939–c. 1946) stood in as editor when George Moonie joined the Navy for World War Two.[95]
  • Dick and Dom (2006) edited issue 3311[96] and chose their favourite strips from the available 2005 waiting list.[97]
  • Nick Park (2008) edited issue 3443[98] to celebrate Beano's 70th anniversary.
  • Harry Hill (published 6 March 2013)[99] edited the 2013 Red Nose Day special.[100][101]
  • David Walliams (2018) edited issue 3945[85] to celebrate the 80th anniversary.
  • Joe Sugg (2021) edited issue 4077[102] for Dennis the Menace's 70th anniversary.[103]

Notable artistsEdit


The now-defunct Beanoland at Chessington World of Adventures in the UK.

From the first issue, readers have received free gifts from The Beano: toy masks,[1][106] sweets,[107][108][109] posters,[110] and toys.[111][112] Originally, free gifts would be attached inside the cover or strategically on the front so that it could distract the buyer from other comics next to The Beano on the shelves, hopefully excited for the next issue after reading it and eating/playing with the toys.[113] Gifts were intentionally sporadic, especially during the Christmas period when families' money would be saved for food and presents.[113] Issue 90[114] would be the last issue with a gift (licorice "black eye")[27] due to rationing, the next free gift being the Flying Snorter Balloon in issue 953.[115][116] The most popular free gift was issue 2201's Gnasher Snapper,[117] a prank toy that would make a bang sound when unfolded, and was re-gifted occasionally in later issues, as well as the 60th anniversary.[118]

During the 25th anniversary of Dennis the Menace, The Dennis the Menace Fan Club was formed. The fan club was instantly popular, recalls Euan Kerr in 1984; "The club enrolled over 2000 new members every week, well into the 90s[.]"[119] Membership was 30p, and new members received a membership card full of classified communication tactics and two badges: a red one with Dennis' face on the front[120] and a furry one of a googly-eyed Gnasher face—the latter was the most sought-after badge in the club's history.[119] For two years, there was a tie-in agony aunt page called Dear Dennis (issue 1679-1767) where fan club members sent Dennis their problems that Dennis would reply to in the following issue; thousands of letters would arrive at DC Thomson per week and the authors of the messages would receive prizes.[121] The club would be renamed The Beano Club, which ended in 2010, but had over 1.5 million members.[120][122] A spin-off was introduced called Gnasher's Fang Club, and Gnasher would ask readers to send him stories about their pets' adventures which could be printed into the next issue. "The mailbag of little drawings of pets was several thousand per week," remembers sub-editor Morris Heggie. "And the popularity lasted and lasted."[119]

The 21st century celebrated anniversaries with more memorabilia. For The Beano's 70th birthday, The History of The Beano (2008) was published by Waverly Books, documenting the magazine's history. Readers could buy a box for the 80th containing posters, reprints of selected older issues, and two books updating the previous documentation of the magazine's history, as well as Minnie the Minx's origins.[123] Both anniversaries had tie-in museum exhibitions that also told their audiences the magazine's history.[124][125] Limited-edition figurines from Robert Harrop were available to buy from their official website in late 2008.[126] The 21st century also began Beano's branching into different mediums: their first website,, formed in 2000,[127] and Chessington World of Adventures opened Beanoland in the same year.[128] Both would later discontinue but would be revamped as, a website full of games, Beano secrets and other activities for children. Gulliver's Travels opened the Beano 6 Super Ride in May 2021.[129]

Spin-off comicsEdit

Comic librariesEdit

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. Fun Size Comics were discontinued in late 2010.

Beano SpecialsEdit

The comic also ran A4-sized Beano Specials in 1987 with full coloured pages, which later were replaced by Beano Superstars which ran for 121 issues from 1992 to 2002. These were similar to the Comic Library series. Some of the last 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 are 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.


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- to 13-year-olds. The first issue was a Comic Relief special featuring assorted celebrity guests. The magazine has been rebranded several times since 2013, and is currently known as EPIC Magazine.


Plug was a comic based on the eponymous character from The Bash Street Kids that began with issue dated 24 September 1977, and is notable for being the first comic to make use of rotogravure 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 GnasherEdit

The brand new Dennis and Gnasher was launched separately from The Beano in September 2009. It coincided with their new cartoon on CBBC of the same name.


44-page special issue 4062, with cover date 21 November 2020, during a lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic had an eight-page adult pullout named BeanOLD, with cartoons poking fun at British politicians such as Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, and with appearances by Greta Thunberg, Captain Tom, and footballer Marcus Rashford. The slogan was "2020 has been tough. So tough that even grown-ups need Beano".[130][131]

Beano StudiosEdit

Beano Studios
IndustryTelevision, publishing
GenreChildren's fiction
Founded8 June 2016; 5 years ago (2016-06-08) in London, United Kingdom
FounderDC Thomson
Area served
Key people
  • Michael Stirling (CEO, Dundee)
  • David Guppy (CEO, London)
BrandsBeano magazine
Footnotes / references

In June 2016, DC Thomson launched Beano Studios,[135][136] a spin-off media studio (based in both London and Dundee) with the intention of creating media appropriate for children and expanding The Beano's franchise. Its introduction to the readers came in The Beano's issue 3854 with a revamp of the cover's layout and the logo, removing "The" to make it coincide with the studio, and unveiling the website[137] Former chief-editor Michael Stirling (who stepped down in 2012) became head of the Dundee studio and the franchise's spokesman.[135] Jodie Morris became Head of Digital Content,[134] James Neal stood as Director of Content,[138] Nigel Pickard joined as non-executive director[134] and Emma Scott stood as CEO[134][139] until 2020,[133] succeeded by David Guppy.[133]

As well as expanding Beano's franchise through games and merchandise, also contains other activities and interests for children to enjoy, such as news about popular celebrities, and miscellaneous videos and articles.[140][141] Neal described it as "a fun but trusted babysitter who lets the kids stay up a bit late".[142][138] For parents who formerly read The Beano during childhood, Beano Studios invites them to also participate on their nostalgia, once sending a cease and desist letter to politician Jacob Rees-Mogg for copyright infringement against Walter the Softy.[143][144] The website became a continuing success worldwide with over two million visitors per year,[133] and is credited for increasing comic sales by 10% in 2018.[145] A similar approach had been planned for years through the first website, which DC Thomson hoped would attract an international audience to The Beano, especially the United States.[127] The Guardian noted The Beano's success in North America was plausible because of Chicken Run, Monty Python, and Benny Hill's American popularity.[127]

Soon after the launch announcement, Beano Studios revealed it had a new Dennis the Menace adaptation in production: a 52-episode 3D-animated cartoon for CBBC co-produced by Jellyfish Pictures[146] and distributed by Jetpack. The new programme, Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, aired on the CBBC Channel in November 2017 and became one of the most popular children's series on the channel.[147][148] Jetpack sold the cartoon to over 90 territories worldwide in 2018 through television deals and streaming services,[149][147] and it received an Emmy nomination for Best International Animated Program at the 2019 International Emmy Kids Awards.[150][151] Chief Creative Officer Mark Talbot explained his plans to look to Hollywood for Beano branching, noting: "what’s been interesting with the Americans, they don’t have The Beano but what they see is the archive with over 2,000 characters and storylines sat in a warehouse in Dundee waiting to be reimagined by new writers and established writers[.]"[152] In November 2020, Deadline reported Talbot was in the midst of pitching another adaptation of Dennis the Menace, rumoured to be about a reckless teenaged Dennis with a pilot script written by former Chilling Adventures of Sabrina writer Matthew Barry.[152] Beano Studios and Lime Pictures announced a live-action Minnie the Minx children's programme in 2018 called The Magnificent Misadventures of Minnie,[153] and Fox Entertainment announced a Bananaman cartoon,[154] the second cartoon adapting the comic strip after the BBC adaptation from 1983.

Reception and legacyEdit

Beano stamp issued by Royal Mail in 2012.

The Beano was an instant success upon release, and became longest-running, weekly-issued comic of all time in 2018.[155] Although interest in comic magazines dwindled, it survived surrounding setbacks. In the 1950s, it (and The Dandy) were unaffected by DC Thomson's magazine cancellations (selling over 100 million per year)[156] that were caused by both paper rationing and public lack of interest.[157] Alan Digby's attempt to boost sales with the 8-week "Missing Gnasher"[158] plot in Dennis the Menace failed,[78] but the story featured in newspapers and on radio broadcasts, causing people of all ages to contact Beano offices to voice their concerns.[159] Roughly 31,000-41,000 copies are sold per week in the present day,[160][161] but an estimated 2 billion Beano comic magazines have been sold in its lifetime.[162] A 1997 television poll by the National Comics Awards selected it for the Best British Comic Ever award.[163] Dennis the Menace would represent the comic when Royal Mail launched a special stamp collection in 2012, celebrating Britain's rich comic book history.[164] The Dandy, Eagle, The Topper, Roy of the Rovers, Bunty, Buster, Valiant, Twinkle and 2000 AD were also featured.[164]

Like The Dandy, The Beano is a definitive part of British pop culture. "It's refreshing to see how the [zany] principles that made it such a hit all those years ago have remained to this day." writes Coventry Evening Telegraph.[165] Beano annuals are the most popular Christmas annual sold,[166] and old issues sell for thousands at auctions.[167][168] Lord Snooty is often used as a pejorative in British politics.[169][170] DC Thomson considers the 1950s Beano's golden age[171] possibly because of many commemorations based on the strips that first appeared from that decade: Dennis became a literal and metaphorical mascot of the magazine, his increasing popularity making him the last consistent cover star[172] and his strips spawning three BBC animated adaptations; Minnie and the Bash Street Kids have a statue and a street named after the strip, respectively.[173][174][175][176] The "anarchic" humour is credited as the key to the magazine's longevity,[177][178] as well as its refusal to be condescending to its readers: "The Beano may have changed since the '30s but has always maintained its anti-authoritarian stance and steadfast refusal to treat children like idiots," theorised Morris Heggie.[156]

My British-born grandparents made sure they passed down an important part of their culture by giving out Beano Annuals every year. I grew up on Beanos and Dandys in 1970s Canada, and become one of my country's leading kids' cartoonists, writing and drawing for Chickadee magazines and annuals, and creating a weekly comic strip for the Toronto Star. I'm forever in debt to the lowbrow lessons gleaned from Dennis and his ilk.

Jay Stephens, 2003[179]

The magazine is cited as an inspiration to many readers. Beano artists Emily McGorman-Bruce, Zoom Rockman, Jess Bradley, and Barrie Appleby were avid readers of the magazine and/or its annuals before they became creators of its new strips.[179][180][181] Meanwhile, The Beano inspired comic artists Jay Stephens,[179] Carolyn Edwards (Titan Comics) and webcomic creator Sarah Millman (NPC Tea, The Heart of Time) to either work in the creative industry or create their own stories.[181] Guest chief-editors Nick Park, David Walliams,[182] Joe Sugg,[183] and Harry Hill are also fans of The Beano, with Park admitting "My dream job was always to work on The Beano and it's such an honour for me to be Guest Editor[.]"[184]

Notable famous members of the old Dennis the Menace/Beano Club include Auberon Waugh, Mike Read, and Mark Hamill,[185] as well as honorary members Paul Gascoigne, and Princes William and Harry.[186] Chris Tarrant cited Dennis as his role model when he was a child,[186] and Paul Rudd[187] revealed Roger the Dodger was his favourite strip.[188] Stella McCartney created tribute fashion to both The Beano and The Dandy, explaining they were "a huge part of my childhood" and wanted to celebrate "the next generation of Beano fans with a sustainable and practical range for kids who still share that ‘Beano’ spirit of these iconic characters".[189] In music pop culture, the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton is nicknamed "The Beano Album" because Eric Clapton is holding issue 1242[190] on its cover.[191]

Audience participationEdit

Interaction with the audience is a historic practice in The Beano's history. Excluding fan clubs and merchandise, Comic Idol is a sporadic election in which readers vote for their favourite strips to keep in the magazine.[192] Cancelled strips with the least votes include Little Plum, Baby Face Finlayson, Les Pretend,[Note 9] Calamity James,[Note 9] Crazy for Daisy, and Lord Snooty.[Note 9] Super School and Meebo and Zuky were nominees who won polls and became official strips in the following issues.[193][194] Readers would find a voting slip covered with the candidates printed in an issue that they would fill out and mail to DC Thomson, but the creation of Beano's websites would allow real-time opinions from readers.[192] Pets' Picture Gallery invited readers to send drawings of their pets to feature in the following issue.[195]

Readers participated in the magazine's record-breaking stunts. In 1988, 100 children helped Euan Kerr and Beano scriptwriter Al Bernard recreate the front cover of issue 2396 on Scarborough Beach with Hann-Made Productions.[196] It was awarded the Largest Comic Strip at 39950 square feet.[196] Beano's 2018 comic competition to celebrate the opening of V&A Dundee was awarded the biggest competition to finish a comic strip with 650 participants.[197]

Along with Nick Park's guest editor issue, the 70th anniversary coincided with Gnashional Menace Day, a CLIC Sargent-partnered event where readers could be sponsored "behaving like Dennis" for charity.[178]


The Beano has had a few controversies throughout its lifetime, but aspects have either been discontinued or changed to not cause offence. Its infamous changes are the removal of corporal punishment (e.g. Dennis the Menace often depicted receiving bottom spanks with a slipper by his furious father)[198] and misbehaving characters abandoning slingshots—the latter irritating former readers for being a "politically correct" notion, usually highlighted with claim "Dennis has lost his menace".[199][200][201][202]

Racist depictions and terminology have been removed through the years as well. Little Plum's sub-title "Your redskin chum"[203] was not included in its 2002 revival.[204] The first masthead character was a caricatured design of an Afro-Caribbean boy named Peanut, mascot of the Little Peanut's Page of Fun joke page (appeared from issues 1 to 112),[205][206] usually eating watermelon. His last masthead feature was in December 1947, but subsequent reprints of the first issues have removed him.[Note 10] Hard-Nut the Nigger[208] and Mussolini the Wop[31] have not had reprints since their last appearances.[Note 11]

Some changes were to not convince readers bullying was acceptable. Dennis and Gnasher's constant targeting of passive, diligent Walter "the Softy" (who was also a knitting and flower-picking hobbyist)[210] was accused of encouraging playground homophobia, so it was toned down and Walter became more antagonistic and stood up to Dennis, eventually having his first girlfriend.[165] Fatty from the Bash Street Kids was renamed Freddy (his real name) in 2021, causing backlash from former readers, including Jacob Rees-Mogg who accused the change of being "publicity-seeking".[211][212] Former chief-editor Mike Stirling explained it was due to fan letters from young readers asking why he was nicknamed so: "although it's always been used affectionately, and never pejoratively, we agreed it's time it changed."[213] A News of the World report contained accusations of Uh Oh, Si Co! encouraging readers to mock children with anger issues or mental illness, which caused the strip to be cancelled.[67]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Original contender was 1924's The Vanguard, which discontinued two years later.
  2. ^ The Daily Telegraph had a reputation of being the best news source to find the artist jobs in the world.
  3. ^ Wee Peem also had slight red colouring.
  4. ^ 28 pages stopped at issue 62 in October 1939, which was 24 pages long.[24] Then page count dropped to 22 in issue 98, 20 at issue 101, and 18 in issue 120.[27] The lowest page count was issue 326's 10.[28][29]
  5. ^ Moonie, who returned from the war a Captain once in charge of an assault craft at D-Day, would tell David Puttman he believed Lord Snooty did more for the war than him.[23]
  6. ^ The Beano eventually passed The Dandy's sales by 100,000 copies.[49] but both magazines sometimes sold up to four million issues per week.[50]
  7. ^ The date of the Saturday of that week is written on the front.[1]
  8. ^ Anderson, born in England, is the first non-Scottish editor for the magazine.[94]
  9. ^ a b c Although discontinued in 2007,[68] the strips would later return to the magazine.
  10. ^ Comics news-site Down the Tubes claim this is the reason why there are less than 30 first editions known to exist.[207]
  11. ^ Mussolini the Wop's example reprint in The History of The Beano has "Wop" conspicuously hidden underneath a drawing of war planes flying past the Leaning Tower of Pisa.[209]


  1. ^ a b c d Moonie, George, ed. (30 July 1938). "The Beano". The Beano Comic. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. (published 26 July 1938).
  2. ^ Anderson, John, ed. (31 August 2019). "The Fight For the Future is On!". Beano. No. 4000. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. (published 28 August 2019).
  3. ^ "Lively, Healthy and Up-to-date". Adventure. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. 17 September 1921.
  4. ^ "Great New Paper: The Rover". The Rover. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. 4 March 1922.
  5. ^ "Something absolutely new hand-coloured real photos for FREE". The Wizard. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. 23 September 1922.
  6. ^ "No. 1 of the great new story paper for BOYS". The Skipper. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. 6 September 1930.
  7. ^ "The Hotspur". The Hotspur. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. (published 1 September 1933). 2 September 1933.
  8. ^ McAleer (1992), pp. 168-9: "According to [George Moonie]: 'We really had to gear [to] the English market because that's where the readership lay. If you look at the middle belt of England, the industrial belt—Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Manchester, Nottingham, Northampton—these places, very heavily populated, [were] your first target.'"
  9. ^ McAleer (1992), p. 170
  10. ^ McNab, Tom (23 September 2014). "Boys' comics of the 1940s - The Wonderful World of William Wilson - Saga".
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  22. ^ McAleer (1992), p. 171
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  151. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (15 October 2018). "Nominees Revealed for International Emmy Kids Awards '19". Animation Magazine.
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  153. ^ "Where will Minnie the Minx cause chaos next?". BBC News. 14 June 2018.
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  174. ^ "Dandy character 'immortalised'". BBC News Online. 14 July 2001. [Desperate Dan's statue] is depicted being stalked by a catapault-wielding version of Minnie the Minx from rival comic The Beano.
  175. ^ "Statue of Minnie the Minx | Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland". Archived from the original on 8 July 2021.
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  177. ^ "Eastcombe-based comic artist Leo Baxendale, creator of Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids, dies aged 86". Stroud News and Journal. [Beano strips are about] underdogs long controlled and oppressed by the adult world around them and [Beano's artists, such as Leo Baxendale] gave them a voice and actions with which to fight back in hilariously anarchic fashion, allowed them to step into the limelight and control their own destinies. Children of the time responded to that, writing fan letters of glee and appreciation
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  183. ^ "Joe Sugg to guest-edit special anniversary issue of Beano comic". independent. 'I grew up with Dennis, reading Beano each week, and I can't wait for readers to see all the fun, pranks, and surprises we've worked into the special issue. This really is a dream project for me.'
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  187. ^ "'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Stars Didn't Read Marvel Comics as Kids". 1 July 2018. “My favorite comic book as a kid — my parents are British, and I used to read these British comics called Beano. And there was The Dandy and The Beano, and I loved them. They were funny comics,” said funnyman Paul Rudd
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  191. ^ Havers, Richard (22 July 2019). "The Beano Album: John Mayall's Blues Breakers And Eric Clapton Create A Classic". uDiscover Music.
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  193. ^ "ICE 2014 Adds Lew Stringer to it's Growing Guestlist". ICE - The International Comic Expo. 1 June 2014. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. In October 2008 Lew’s artwork began to appear on a new regular series for THE BEANO entitled Super School which proved very popular in the readers poll.
  194. ^ Swanson, Brian (25 September 2010). "Now Obama joins the Beano". Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Meebo and Zuky, drawn by artist Laura Howell, won a readers’ poll to find a new regular story for the popular Dundee-based comic.
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  200. ^ "The Beano are changing Dennis the Menace's name". The Independent. 27 December 2017. The removal of the word menace and the rebrand comes as a new CBBC series, Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, which will embrace difference and diversity, is set to start [...] Beano bosses have denied the change is a concession to political correctness.
  201. ^ O'Neill, Sean. "Softy Dennis no longer a menace". The Times.
  202. ^ "Dennis Without The Menace Bad Idea". Bristol Evening Post. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009. The classic comic tearaway has been turned into a softie by politically correct TV bosses worried he might set a bad example to children. They have banned the black-haired bully from using his trusty catapult, water pistol and pea shooter in the new cartoon series [Dennis and Gnasher] which starts on CBBC next month.
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  204. ^ Emerson, Hunt (28 December 2002). "Little Plum". The Beano. No. 3154. DC Thomson.
  205. ^ Moonie, George, ed. (30 July 1938). "Little Peanut's Page of Fun". The Beano Comic. No. 1. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. (published 26 July 1938).
  206. ^ Moonie, George, ed. (14 September 1940). "Little Peanut's Page of Fun". The Beano Comic. No. 112. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.
  207. ^ Freeman, John (22 July 2018). "Original first issue of the Beano on offer on eBay… for £25,000". Down the Tubes. This original copy includes pages excised from reprints in recent years, removed for their now stereotyped portrayal of “Peanut”, the comic’s original masthead character, today regarded as inappropriate.
  208. ^ Moonie, George, ed. (1939). "Hard-Nut the Nigger". The Beano Book 1940. D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.
  209. ^ History of The World (2008), p. 77.
  210. ^ O’Neill, Sean. "Softy Dennis no longer a menace". The Times. Studious and bespectacled, Walter Brown was the super Softy: he wore a bow tie, followed the rules, always did his homework and was easy prey for Dennis and Gnasher, the Menace’s pet Abyssinian wire-haired tripe hound.
  211. ^ Bickerton, James (22 May 2021). "Woke Britain: Beano changes name of 65-year-old character Fatty to avoid offending readers". The Daily Express.
  212. ^ Smith, Aidan. "Why oh why has political correctness hit the Beano?! Drat, urrgh, boo! – Aidan Smith". The Scotsman.
  213. ^ Williams, Benjamin. "The Beano to Stop Using the Nickname Fatty for Bash Street Kids Character Freddy". Comic Book News.


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