This is 29 Acacia Road, and this is Eric, a schoolboy who leads an exciting double life. For when Eric eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurs!
is a British comic
strip about Eric Wimp, a young boy who could change into a brawny but not terribly bright
superhero by eating a banana. Luckily for world peace, his enemies were usually even more incompetent than he was. Originally the cover feature in Nutty
, it carried over when the strip moved to The Dandy
(where much was made of the slight similarity in appearance between Bananaman and Desperate Dan).
Later the comics were adapted into a series of animated shorts, which is how the character is best known outside Britain. In the United States, Nickelodeon
as a supporting segment of Danger Mouse
Now also appears in The Beano
Bananaman provides examples of:
- The Commissioner Gordon: Police Chief O'Reilly.
- Distaff Counterpart: Bananagirl, in The Beano's "Super School". One of the first "Super School" strips off-handedly mentioned that Bananagirl was Bananaman's niece. Except she doesn't require bananas to change into Bananagirl (she just is, 24/7), and when Bananaman's banana powers wear off, he turns back into a small boy....
- Prior to that strip, a two-part story from the nineties depicted his cousin, Bananawoman.
- Dumb Muscle: Bananaman, who has "the muscles of twenty men (twenty big men) and the brains of twenty mussels."
- Evil Counterpart: Appleman, whose costume was identical to that of Bananaman, only a different fruit.
- Forgot I Could Fly: In mid-flight. Yes.
- Hour of Power: The thing about Eric changing into Bananaman is it only lasts for a while, and tends to wear off at the worst possible time.
- I Love Nuclear Power: One possible origin story involved General Blight stealing a valuable radioactive material and hiding it inside a banana, only for baby Eric (just having been born) to eat it and... turn into a fully adult Bananaman wearing a nappy and still sounding like a baby).
- Lantern Jaw of Justice
- Master of Disguise: General Blight, although usually the only person he's shown fooling is Bananaman himself, which is no great feat.
- Multiple Choice Past: Bananaman had several mutually contradictory origin stories, as did his villains (No Continuity). One particularly peculiar one (from a Dandy annual) gave him a personal connection to all his villains due to them all having been at school together with Eric... except Eric is still a schoolboy, so how come they have all managed to grow into adults in the intervening time?
- Nephewism: Bananagirl in The Beano comic strip Super School is, according to the Beano website, Bananaman's niece. However, the two characters have never been side to side.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Beyond his usual Flying Brick abilities, the animated shorts tended to give Bananaman whatever banana-themed gadget would be most helpful at the time.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Crow the talking crow, always around to give a helpful hint - like reminding him he could fly.
- Officer O'Hara: Police Chief O'Reilly — probably a direct Shout-Out to Chief O'Hara in Batman.
- Older Alter Ego
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Taken to extremes at times (one villain's disguise as a ticket collector consisted entirely of a hat with the word 'TICKETS' printed on it).
- Power-Up Food: Bananas, of course.
- Ret Canon: In the original comic strip, Eric's full name was Eric Wimp, and he had a shaven head for no explained reason. When the animated series made him Eric Twinge and gave him Idiot Hair, the strip followed suit.
- Rogues Gallery: General Blight, Dr. Gloom, Appleman, Auntie, Weatherman, Captain Cream, the Nerks, the Heavy Mob...
- Rule 63: Bananagirl - like Bananaman, only shorter.
- Sidekick Ex Machina: Bananaman's pet, Crow, often had to remind his hero of things like the fact that Bananaman has superpowers.
- Superpowered Alter Ego: It's never exactly made clear what the relationship between Eric and Bananaman is, but Eric doesn't appear to be a complete idiot...
- Thematic Rogues Gallery: Bananaman doesn't actually have one, but Appleman is clearly a parody of the kind of villains this trope produces.
- There Was a Door: Bananaman often enters Chief O'Reilly's office via smashing through the wall. Became a Running Gag at times, such as O'Reilly preparing for this only for Bananaman to enter through the ceiling or floor instead.
- Unsound Effect: A series of Written Sound Effects representing a fight in the pitch dark in one cartoon eventually ended in "ETC!"
- Visual Pun: In one strip Bananaman comes up with a plan to trap a villain by 'wearing his thinking cap', which is a giant flat cap with a set of Rube Goldberg clicking cogwheels and whistling steam valves on top.
- Whole Costume Reference: Bananaman's costume is that of Batman, but yellow.