By Anna Salmon aged 8 years old
I’ve been reading a book recently called the Beano Annual. It’s a comic book and has lots of funny things in it, as well as comical characters. My favourite is a baby called Bea who is Dennis the Menace’s little sister. I like her because she’s carefree like her brother (Dennis the Menace is very much more so!) and she thinks of cheeky and original things to do. For example she uses play dough cutters to cut her dad’s steak so that she can eat the shapes she cuts from his plateful – and share them with Gnasher, Dennis’s dog.
When I showed the annual I was reading to my dad he said he used to read the comics when he was a little boy, so I thought it might be interesting to find out more about the history of the Beano comics. In fact, both my granddads used to read it as well, so it’s been around a long time!
The Beano was first published on the 30th July in 1938. A new Beano comic was published every week except during the Second World War when paper and ink were in short supply and rationed, so the Beano and other comics were only published every two weeks. It went back to being weekly again in 1949, when there was enough paper and ink again.
As well as the weekly comics there has been a Beano Annual every year since 1938. This has more pages than the comics and a hard-back cover so it’s a book rather than just paper like a comic. It has longer stories and extra articles and jokes too. The annuals are published in the summer ready for Christmas and they have the next year’s date on them so that they will last for a while! My mum used to get an annual every year for Christmas while my dad collected the weekly comics instead. I think they are both good, because the comics come out every week and are quick and fun to read, while the annuals can be read over and over again and stay in good condition so you can keep them on the bookshelf. I often buy traditional ones from charity shops.
Some of the other characters I like, as well as Bea, are the Numskulls, Gnasher and Gnipper and the 3 Bears. The Numskulls live inside a boy called Ed, in his head, and they control the rest of his body – as though they work in different departments in his brain and his body. Sometimes they have ideas such as wanting a garden and then they try to find ways to make them happen, like using chips, hummus and sunflower seeds to make flower beds for a garden. It works well, apart from when Ed starts to grow sunflower seeds out of his ears!
Gnasher is famous as Dennis the Menace’s dog and Gnipper is his son. They have very playful ideas. In fact, most of the main characters in the Beano are likeable rascals– it’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading it and find it so funny.
They usually get their joy at the end of the story, to remind us that although it can be fun to act in this way, it’s even better to be good. This is especially true for the three Bears, who are rather unconventional compared to the traditional fairy tale of the three bears. They regularly try to take from the shop of a man called Hank, even though every plan they make is interrupted and so they might end up in hot water or being chased by Hank. At least they are determined!
Writing all this has reminded me again of how funny the Beano is. I think I will put a Beano Annual on my Christmas list!
What is your favorite Beano comic character ?