The 68th Beano Annual with a few of the longer running characters appearing on the front.
The Beano is a long running British children's comic that's been in circulation for almost 75 years, having entertained several generations of kids since 1938, making this one hell of a long runner. Published weekly, for over 70 years and with more than 3500 issues, it's famous for iconic strips such as Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids, and is a huge influence in (and a reflection of) British culture. Other iconic strips include Roger the Dodger, Billy Whizz, Biffo the Bear, Big Eggo, Lord Snooty, Ball Boy, Jonah, General Jumbo, Ivy the Terrible, Little Plum, CalamityJames and The Three Bears.A number of spin-off comics have been released as well, including: The Beano Annual (which is released every Christmas and continues to sell 100,000+ every year); the monthly BeanoMAX; The Beano Summer Special, a yearly reprint Annual featuring content from both The Beano and The Dandy; Plug comic, a weekly comic which ran from 1977-1979 featuring as its main star one of The Bash Street Kids; and the Beano Comic Libraries, which evolved into the Fun Size Beano which recently went defunct. Other spinoffs include a few animated series (some of which were Direct-to-Video) and video games.The comic is easily the most well known British Humour Comic and is also one of the longest running comics of its genre; only The Dandy from the same publisher has run longer. It has outlived numerous generations of competitor comics, such as Whizzer and Chips, Film Fun, Smash and Buster, and continues to introduce new characters and innovate.Its readership peaked in 1950 before the introduction of its most iconic characters, and some consider it to have Jumped the Shark in the mid 60s when the artists Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid left to draw for DC Thomson's (The Beano's publisher) rivals. However, the comic continued for long after these artists stop drawing altogether, though the pair were a big influence on the comic.In its long run it has absorbed a number of characters from other comics such as The Numskulls and Fred's Bed from The Beezer and Bananaman from Nutty and The Dandy.
Always Someone Better: When characters are focused around a single aspect, a fairly common plot is for a new character to show up who's stronger, such as an even cleverer pupil than Cuthbert joining Bash St School. Of course, they get wiped out in the Reset Button by the end of the strip.
Ambiguously Gay: Walter and the Softies are sometimes considered this. It was averted when he got a girlfriend, called Matilda who looks eerily similiar to Walter, in the cartoon series.
Animal Jingoism: The old strip Kat and Kanary and the much newer strip entitled Meebo and Zuky (which involves a cat and dog being violently cruel to each other in a similiar vein to an earlier DC Thomson strip from the Sparky entitled Puss n Boots).
Bad Ass Moustache: Pretty much every authority figure in older strips has a moustache, often a Hitler-esque one. Also Roger's dad is one of the few characters whose moustache isn't a toothbrush moustache.
Balloon Belly: A lot of the kid characters have slight pot bellies.
Banister Slide: Dennis has done this many times, notably once in a 1980s comic, where Mum had sewn a sandpaper patch on to his shorts, leading him to sand down the banister for her. It was one of many nice things he inadvertently did - Mum was taking advantage of his usual behaviour - and thus he was surprised when he was rewarded at the end.
Canine Companion: The Bash Street Kids have the Bash Street Dogs. Dennis has Gnasher.
Canon Immigrant: In 2007 the comic started running reprints of Fred's Bed, formerly a strip in the defunct Beezer and Topper comic, as a cost-saving measure. Then for the 70th Anniversary special edition of the comic the following year they ran an all-new Fred's Bed strip, as the strip's setup made it a convenient way of exploring the comic's history. This led to a full revival of the strip in the following months.
This is not a new thing—many characters from defunct comics, most famously the Beezer and Topper, have migrated to the Beano or its sister comic the Dandy over the years.
Can't Get In Trouble For Nuthin': Both forms of this trope are a fairly common plot, such as Dennis the Menace disguising himself as Walter and pulling pranks to try and get him into trouble, or Roger the Dodger trying to get himself grounded in order to escape revenge from the last set of people he's pranked.
Cats Are Mean: The cat (the dog is equally as mean) in Meebo and Zuky. Also Kat in Kat and Kanary and the cat in the Nibblers.
Chaste Toons: Averted. Gnasher the dog is the proud father of six puppies. Also, before Dennis' sister Bea was born, there was a long-running storyline which featured his mother's pregnancy.
The Christmas Annual: Referred to traditionally as The Beano Book rather than an annual, although this changed in the 2000s.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Wayne's in Pain, a new Bash Street Kid who was chosen as a new Bash Street Kid after a competition on Blue Peter, appeared in The Bash Street Kids strips for a while until he was dropped for no reason and without warning.
City of Everywhere: A wartime issue had Lord Snooty concoct a plan to confuse the Luftwaffe pilots bombing his home town by surrounding it with landmarks "borrowed" by the RAF from all around the world. These included the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal, and Table Mountain.
Cloudcuckoolander: Smiffy from The Bash Street Kids, Dimmy from Ball Boy. Sometimes paired up for scenarios demanding two particuarly stupid characters for some reason.
Freddie Fear's mother is also a bit of a dingbat.
Dennis' mother came across this way in the '90s Dennis The Menace TV series, but not in the comic itself.
And Smiffy's canine counterpart, Sniffy, in Pup Parade.
Comics Merger: Merged with Magic Comic for just in the annuals back in the 40s. Had unofficial mergers in the 90s which saw the comic absorbing characters from recently defunct comics most notably The Numskulls from The Beezer.
Country Cousin: A strip from the 1960s was actually entitled Country Cuzzins, but instead of being this trope involved a group of cousins who lived on a farm. This trope is also used more traditionally in other strips which have sometimes have the characters visiting relatives who live on farms.
Covers Always Lie: Roger appears on the VHS cover of The Beano Videostars, but he isn't on the video itself. Possibly because his checkered jersey would have made him hard to animate.
Crocodile Tears: In one strip Minnie the Minx used these to convince her dad's boss that her dad has been driven insane from work-related stress so her dad could take time off work and take her to the fun fair.
Crossover: The strips will from time to time will feature characters from elsewhere in the comic walking in and having a role. These can range from cameos to advancing the plot.
This is explained as all the characters living in "Beanotown" which is incidentally next to Dandytown, leading to at least one crossover there.
Wallace & Gromit showed up in the 70th Anniversary issue. They're also regulars in BeanoMAX and, for some reason, appeared in the 2012 Christmas issue of the weekly Beano rather than the corresponding issue of MAX.
In issue 3185, for the comic's 65th birthday, the current characters crossed over with old characters that had long been retired.
Depending on the Artist: Just about all the characters in the comic have outlived their original artists by some time, and succeeding artists have often made major changes to the character designs.
Subverted with Minnie the Minx in the 2000s. Long-serving artist Jim Petrie retired in 2001, and over the next few years a succession of artists all tried their hands at the strip, sometimes radically changing Minnie and/or her family. Then, when the editors finally settled on Ken Harrison as regular artist later in the decade, he undid not only the previous artists' changes but even those of Jim Petrie, taking Minnie all the way back to how her original artist, Leo Baxendale had drawn her in the 1960s.
Deserted Island: Frequently used in old adventure strips such as The Shipwrecked Circus.
Expy: Number 13, a strip about a supernatural family of monsters was pretty much The Munsters. Also Kat and Kanary is pretty much Sylvester and Tweety from Looney Tunes. The character Joe Jitsu from the 00s seems to be an expy of an earlier chracter entitled Karate Sid from the 80s. Meebo and Zuky are this for Itchy And Scratchy.
Extreme Omni Goat Fatty from the Bash Street Kids and whenever a goat is featured in a strip.
Failed a Spot Check: Calamity James is constantly surrounded by fortunes, from gold bars lying in the street to eccentric millionaires throwing around fistfuls of money in the background, but he never notices.
The Bash Street Kids once made a very memorable testicle joke.
In issue 3421 we see The Bash Street Kids' Headmaster's office. It is full of books with head related titles eg Being the Head, Head Stuff and Heading. We also see another book with its title which is partially obscured but the words Giving 'ead are clearly visible.
Girls Have Cooties: Dennis. In the final segment of The Beano Videostars, Dennis was kissed by a girl, so he stopped the film and jumped out of it so he could go to the projector and cut that part out so it never happened.
Having a Gay Old Time: There are old Beano comic strips called Little Dead-Eye Dick and Cocky Dick (Cock and Dick both being contemperary British slang for penis) . Also in an old Bash Street Kids strip Smiffy points at a stuffed lion which Danny has stuffed his head into and says "What a big pussy!" (Pussy is slang for vagina, but can be used to describe a coward. It is also a common UK term for cat, which is the more likely meaning here...).
The Topper's Tricky Dicky has returned twice in the Beano.
Minnie the Minx. In the old days, 'minx' meant any kind of impertinent female, but nowadays it's more associated with promiscuous females.
Hostile Show Takeover: During the lead-up to Bea's arrival, Dennis got so fed up with the mystery he announced that he wouldn't be appearing in the next issue. Cue several other characters trying to take over his strip.
Oh yes. And the small knickers that hang on her washing line wehn Minnie terrorises her at home...
Hypocritical Humor: One Les Pretend strip in The Beano had Les's dad discussing the daft things Les pretended to be with his friends, and them all laughing about it. It was at the end of this strip that we first learnt Les's dad and his friends are all Elvis Impersonators.
Iconic Sequel Character: Dennis The Menace did not appear until almost thirteen years into the run of the Beano comic. Other mainstream strips such as Minnie The Minx and The Bash Street Kids appeared even later.
Invisible Anatomy: Minnie sometimes has large muscles that can only be seen when she rolls up her sleeves.
I Thought It Meant: One of the reasons why the series will probably never take root in the US (apart from how severely British it is) is that Bean-O is a well-known gas medication in the US.
Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Many characters have occasionally glimpsed international counterparts who look identical except for wearing stereotypical national costume.
Insult to Rocks: Daisy apologising to warthogs everywhere for comparing Ernest to them.
Sometimes they delve into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory - they've willingly helped people or animals, and Ivy is sometimes portrayed as just a mischievous preschooler rather than a malicious brat.
However, they've also received their comeuppance on many occasions.
TheKidWithTheRemoteControl: General Jumbo, intermittently featured from the 1950s onward and still a recent appearer in the Annual.
Klatchian Coffee: The tea served to staff at Bash Street School. Alternates between dissolving the spoon and not actually being a liquid. One storyline involving a wireless lie detector was ended by the dinnerlady insisting that she did know how to make tea. The lie detector exploded.
Dennis usually hangs out with Curly and Pie-Face, and less often Minnie and Roger.
Limited Wardrobe: Nearly all the characters wear exactly the same outfit all the time. However occasionally their outfit changes - for example Ball Boy's football kit has gone from red and black to blue and black, and for a brief period in 2007/2008 Minnie wore a red and yellow jersey instead of a red and black one.
Magic Skirt: Averted for a second in the Beano Rap video when Minnie is dancing with Walter.
Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Plug (who used to be called "Pug" until Smiffy gave him an extra L he had left over from spelling a word).
My Little Panzer: General Jumbo, a schoolboy who was given a fully-functional set of remote-control toy soldiers and military vehicles by his friendly neighbourhood Mad Scientist, and used them to fight crime. Notable as the last non-humour strip to have a regular place in the comic, and still turns up occasionally in annuals. The source of a number of Expies in more recent comics by British creators.
Name's the Same: The British Dennis the Menace and the American Dennis the Menace. Same name, different clothes, completely different publisher and strip, independently conceived at the same time to within a week. The two are often confused. The British Dennis is several years older than the American and is more of an intentional mischief maker than his American counterpart. Indeed, the British Dennis is rather more like Bart Simpson than he is like the American Dennis.
Bart is, apparently, based on Dennis. You can see it in the shorts, catapult, spikey hair combination.
Narm: The humour, especially in the older comics, is often very cheesy.
Naughty Is Good: Dennis The Menace, Minnie The Minx and The Bash Street Kids.
Also Roger the Dodger, though he's more of a schemer.
Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: Cuthbert especially. In one comic, he kept getting the Bash Street kids in trouble so he could steal all their punishment homework.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Quite a number of celebrities (mostly British) have been seen within the pages of the comic, normally treated with dignity (within reason, of course).
Negative Continuity: In Lord Snooty the Third it is implied that the original Lord Snooty (an old Beano character) is dead and was Lord Snooty the Third's grandfather. Whilst characters which are still children eg Dennis the Menace interacted with the original Lord Snooty whilst they were both still children and they also interacted with Lord Snooty the Third whilst they were both children as well.
The two Snooty's also appear together in the 2014 annual.
Nephewism: Biffo the Bear had a couple of nephews also he had a human aunt.
No Fourth Wall: All the characters are avid fans of The Beano, and read about their own and each other's strips in the comic. Occasionally they'll go to the Beano offices to try and change or get advance warning of their adventures, or make Serious Business of getting a special issue.
Some issues gave the parents names as "Mr. Menace" or "Mrs. Minx". In one comic, Minnie's father was named Victor.
Non-Human Sidekick: Calamity James and Alexander Lemming also Dennis the Menace and Gnasher.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Everyone. Weirdly enough, Dennis celebrated his 50th birthday in a special issue, even though he's still physically 10.
Almost everyone. The present Lord Snooty is stated to be the grandson of the original, and Bunkerton Castle's portrait gallery has borne witness.
Retcon: And then a few years later (January 2013), the original Snooty returned!
Official Couple: A flashfoward in the 2006 Dennis the Menace Annual shows Dennis and Minnie as adults getting married and having a kid.
One of the Kids: Grandpa, the eponymous character from the strip "Grandpa", is often seen acting like a child and playing with children. He also has a dad who spanks him the same way characters like Dennis the Menace got spanked back in that era.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Some of the Bash Street Kids are only known by their nickname such as Fatty, Smiffy and Plug. However some of their full names were revealed in a spinoff Bash Street Kids prose story in the comic entitled "The Wizard" and Plug's full name was revealed to be Percival Proudfoot Plugsley in the Plug comic.
Fatty Fudge from Minnie the Minx. His real first name is Frederick.
Opposing Sports Team: Sports examples are actually rare, but the Bash Street Kids are often shown to have this relationship with rival schools Posh St and Blob St.
Outdated Outfit: The Bash Street Kids are the main offenders. There was at least one strip where this was lampshaded. Their teacher seems to be in on the act, and is frequently seen wearing a mortarboard.
Personal Raincloud: One of these hovers over Calamity James' head, and occasionally takes a proactive role in his bad luck, like firing lightning bolts at a woman selling lucky white heather.
Political Cartoons: Numerous strips during World War 2 were political in nature such as Musso the Wop (which featured the italian dictator Benito Mussolini as an incompetent buffon) and other strips such as a Lord Snooty strip where Lord Snooty fought against Adolf Hitler.
It has been argued that the Beano was instrumental in changing Hermann Goering's reputation in the English-speaking world from potentially dangerous war hero to idiotic, overpromoted Fat Bastard.
Roger Rabbit Effect: Some strips (especially in the annuals from the 90s and 00s) involve the Beano characters interacting with photographs of real people in a comic format.
Rubber Man: Played for Laughs in the stip Ping the Elastic Man. This strip is from 1938 and often ended with Ping being tied up in knots.
Rule 63: Minnie the Minx is often considered simply a female version of Dennis the Menace. However another example which even better fits this trope is Dennis the Menace's cousin Denise the Menace who appeared in a couple of Dennis the Menace strips back in the autumn of 1967 she looked just like Dennis except for a bow in her hair and she wore a skirt.
Scotland: The Mctickles (a strip from the 1970s) features a load of Scots in an over the top exaggerated parody of Scotland complete with anthropomorphised haggises called Mchaggis which the Mctickles hunt. Slightly weird considering the Beano is published in Dundee. There's also Ben Nevis, named after the mountains. Not only that but there's references to cheese rolling, which take place in Dundee where the "Beano" Offices are and even the word "Softie" is a Scots expression.
The Scrooge: Many adult characters (parents and Teacher from the Bash St. Kids) often show signs of it, which may be a reference to the comic's Scottish origins.
Ship Tease: In one 60s strip, Dennis was Minnie's date to a Valentine's Day dance. In the '90s Dennis The Menace TV series, there was a flashback where Dennis' next door neighbour The Colonel was in a brief relationship with Dennis' granny before he joined the army, and when he encountered her again it seemed to reignite his feelings for her.
Spinoff: Often in the form of annuals for a specific comic strip, eg the Dennis the Menace Annual and the Bash Street Kids Annual. Also Plug from the Bash Street Kids had his own spinoff comic. Some Beano comic strips are spinoffs of other strips in the Beano eg Bea the Mini-Menace was a spinoff of Dennis the Menace, and The Three Bears was a spinoff of Little Plum.
Spinoff Babies: Bringing Up Dennis was a late 50's spinoff of Dennis the Menace with Dennis as a baby. This trope has also been used as a gag in some of the annuals.
The mini strip The Bam-Beanos definitely qualifies as it depicts Dennis, Minnie, Roger and the Bash Street Kids as toddlers at a daycare.
Splash Panel: Used in older Bash Street Kids strips especially back when it was called When The Bell Rings. Used most recently in the strip The Riot Squad. This trope is also used quite a bit in the annuals.
Stock Animal Diet: Pretty much all of the sterotypes about what certain animals like to eat have appeared on a regular basis. One time two were linked together in an interesting way was a Minnie The Minx episode when she pulls a face so grotesque it curdles her pet cat's milk so it turns to cheese, which some mice then come to eat.
Story Arc: Relatively rare, but there are some examples, usually involving a character going missing and the remaining ones either trying to replace him with a succession of stand-ins or going in search for him.
Sucky School: The school from the Bash Street Kids. One of the cartoon adaptations had the school shut down because of this (it was back by the end of the episode). No one learns, outdated books, falling apart building which I recall has no central heatingnote except when Rule of Funny demands it; the Janitor has been seen stoking an antiquated boiler before now and (wasn't outdated then) teacher still wearing a mortar board.
Most of the pupils don't wear uniform, either (the only one who does is a snobby elitist), and all attempts to get them to do so are farcical.
The lack of uniforms was Lampshaded when the kids decided to dress as pirates to reverse global warming (Smiffy's dad's idea). Also of note, the school isn't completely hated. Baby Face Finlayson used the school as an abattoir. Of note, the spoiler is a good reason, it's a rare case of an actual Story Arc.
Super Dickery: Dennis the Menace, frequently inverted. If the cover shows him being kind, polite or 'soft' in any way, expect things to be back to normal by the last page.
Same with Daisy.
An extreme example was when the 'new, modernised' Bash Street Kids were unveiled: the old staff were sacked, Plug got plastic surgery, Fatty had muscles etc., etc. A tabloid (cannot remember which) ran an outraged story condemning the changes. When it was published, the conclusion of the two-part story undid all of the changes.
Talking Animal: Biffo the Bear and The Three Bears are good examples of this. Also Gnasher can speak but always buts the letter G in front of N for example "Gno way".
Take That: The Beano and The Dandy have a friendly rivalry which often involves taking potshots at each other (e.g. characters being threatened with the possibility of getting sent to the other comic).
Temporary Bulk Change: Several characters have gone through this. Out of all the characters, Minnie has become fat the most times.
In the Crazy for Daisy strip in issue 3265, Daisy became massively obese after eating a giant box of chocolates Ernest brought her. She soon lost the weight through exercising... by jumping up and down repeatedly on Ernest.
The Makeover: happened to Dennis's parents thanks to Gok Wan, and Roger's parents off panel (due to an artist change) in August 2012. Both Dads lost their outdated moustaches.
Theme Naming: All of the Bash Street Dogs are named similar to their owners eg Sniffy and Smiffy, Enry and Erbert, Pug and Plug, Blotty and Spotty. Dennis the Menace's pets have this too with Gnasher, Rasher and Dasher. Gnasher's puppies are named Gnipper, Gnaomi, Gnatasha, Gnanette, Gnora and Gnancy.
Timey-Wimey Ball: Lord Snooty III is the grandson of the original Lord Snooty, who was implied to be deceased (otherwise, III couldn't have the title of Lord). So why are they shown together on the third page of the 2014 annual?
Tomboy: Minnie the Minx, the world's wildest tomboy. Also Toots from the Bash Street Kids.
Totally Radical: In the 2013 annual, Dennis' (younger and hipper) Dad uses the term "chillaxing".
Visual Pun: From A few dollops more starring Fatty Fudge (See issue 3596), Outlaw cowboys say "we've got prices on our heads" and they literally have prices on their heads.
Wacky Homeroom: The Bash Street Kids all had distinct personalities. Of course, there were only 9 of them.
Wallet Moths: Used pretty much any time any character took out a wallet or otherwise searched for money. Unless their gimmick was being incredibly rich, of course. (On Calamity James this sometimes happened even for rich people, but the moths came out carrying diamond rings and wearing moth-sized fur coats).
White Gloves: Worn by original cover star Big Eggo mainly to make him more anthropomorphic and white gloves made it look more like he had hands than just wings.
Wholesome Crossdresser: In the first issue from 1938 in the prose story The Wangles of Granny Green features a boy dressed up as his grandmother.
Who Would Be Stupid Enough: Smiffy from the Bash St. Kids and similar characters (other members of his family and Dimmy from Ball Boy for instance).
The Wonderland: The Pansy Potter in Wonderland strip is an example of this.
World's Strongest Man: Morgyn the Mighty an old adventure strip appearing in the first issue of The Beano.
Xanatos Gambit: Roger the Dodger is known for pulling them, for example apparently letting his scheme fail and be banished to his room, only for his parents to find out that he wanted to have an excuse to be stuck there to avoid an angry mob, etc...
Xeno Fiction: Black Flash the Beaver a prose story about a Beaver from the very first issue.
You Don't Look Like You: In issue 3649, Dennis' parents got a makeover that made them about 20 years younger and more like Dennis.
Zeerust: Any of the older strips which was either set in the future, space or involved robots. Examples inlcude Jack Flash (about an alien boy who could fly and lives on Earth), The Clockwork Horse (Some of these were set in the past but they did involve robots) and Tin Can Tommy (a strip about a robot built by a professor).