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Comic Strip / Bananaman

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Bananaman 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 back cover feature in Nutty, when that comic folded the strip moved to The Dandy (where much was made of the slight similarity in appearance between Bananaman and Desperate Dan). With the Dandy also having gone out of print in 2012, he now appears in The Beano (with there being some overlap when he was appearing in both comics simultaneously).

During the 1980s, 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 showed Bananaman as a filler program, often after Danger Mouse.note  The animated series has its own page, so please add tropes related to it there.


There used to be a webpage declaring a movie was in development. Now there isn't. There is, however, a stage musical.

Bananaman provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Intelligence: Downplayed: A story featuring Colonel Blight and Dr. Gloom cloning Bananaman to use the clone as their weapon left Crow the dilemma on who's the real one. The comic had Crow ask: "What comes up must come...", with the clone answering correctly, causing Crow to turn him into a banana since the real Bananaman would be too stupid to answer it. The animation however, had Crow ask instead: "What's heavier? A ton of lead or a ton of feathers?". The real Bananaman points out it's a trick question,note  only for the clone to ask: "What kind of feathers?" despite hearing Bananaman point out the trick question. Crow still proceeds to turn him into a banana, this time knowing that the real Bananaman would be smart enough to answer that correctly.
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  • Batman Parody: Not the only superhero being parodied, but definitely the target of some elements.
  • Blue Is Heroic: His primary color other than yellow is blue and he is the main hero.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: In the episode "Trouble at the Mill", Appleman helds Eric and his cousin Samantha hostage in an attempt to force the first one into telling him where Bananaman is.
  • 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."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One episode takes place at a circus and by coincidence General Blight and Bananaman end up together in one of those two-man horse costumes. When they realize who else is in they start bopping each other, but after a bit of it General Blight realizes even he doesn't have it in him to ruin the good time of all the kids watching and calls a truce.
  • Evil Counterpart: Appleman, whose costume was identical to that of Bananaman, only a different fruit.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Eric ate a rotten banana once, which turned him into an evil purple Bananaman. Because of this, the Dandy editor ate a Dandy to become Dandy Man to fight him.
  • Flying Brick: Bananaman can fly, hit things hard, is unaffected by most harmful things, and can use several banana-themed gadgets.
  • 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?
  • Mutagenic Food:
    • A Dandy Fun-Size strip had Eric trapped in a sweet factory with no bananas. He finds a cake department and eats a banoffee pie, which not only turns into Bananaman, but also gave him the temporary ability to fire sticky toffee out of his hands.
    • A Beano comic had the Rogues Gallery get rid of all the bananas in Beanotown after figuring out that Bananaman gets his powers from bananas. Because of this, Eric pretended that he was looking after Bananaman in Dennis's treehouse and needed bananas to give him his powers. Minnie suggests her shampoo with banana extract, but it gives Eric banana hair. The closest they could get was Fatty's banana ice cream, but it also gave him its composition and they had to carry him in a wheelbarrow for a majority of the story.
  • 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.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Bannanaman is quite indestructible, which is one of his main powers.
  • 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 (1966).
  • Older Alter Ego: Eric is a young boy, his transformation Bananaman is an adult.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Chief O'Reilly arrested Bananaman on the spot when he walked into his office due to him using the door. It's then revealed that this was a shapeshifting villain.
  • 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.
  • Primary-Color Champion: While his ensemble is mostly blue and yellow, he also has a red B insignia on his belt.
  • Recursion: In the Beano Annual 2020, Bananaman returns from holiday in Dandytown, where he used to live (he moved when The Dandy folded and he moved to The Beano) and gets turned evil. At the end of the strip, having returned to normal, he goes on another visit to Dandytown. In the Dandy Annual 2020, we see him holidaying in Dandytown, and once again General Blight turns him evil (by a different method). In both cases, the other characters from the respective comic, led by their lead female (Minnie the Minx and Beryl the Peril), work to get him back to normal. Due to the way the Beano story ends, you can read the two strips in either order and it still makes sense. Notably, this is also the first time Bananaman has had a story in the Dandy Annual since he moved to the Beano.
  • 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.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: In-Universe: After Eric runs out of bananas to eat, he tries to eat other fruit for the same effect but with horrible results. He tries to eat an apple...only for Appleman and his lawyer to show up to remind him that 'Appleman' is trademarked.
  • Shout-Out: In a two-pater published in 2014, Bananaman tangles with Miracle Banana and Captain Banana, banana-themed versions of Miracle Man and Captain Marvel, respectively.
  • Sidekick Ex Machina: Bananaman's pet, Crow, often had to remind his hero of things like the fact that Bananaman has superpowers.
  • Super Gender-Bender: In one strip from the 00's, Eric notices some bananas on sale that are sourced from places with girl's names like St. Lucia. On trying one of them, Eric finds himself changed into a gender-flipped version of Bananaman. One day saved and half a dozen gender-based jokes later, Bananawoman changes back...but Eric finds himself now wearing a skirt, right in front of the paparazzi.
  • 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...
  • Super Speed: One of Bananaman's power is supersonic speed during flight.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the animated version of “The Big Breakout”, Bananaman redirects a cannonball fired by the Mole back at him, causing the machine to burrow uncontrollably, with the narration implying that the Mole will eventually die. In the comic version published for the 25th anniversary, the cannonball merely destroys the Mole’s machine and he gets detained with the rest of the Heavy Mob.
  • Talking Animal: Crow.
  • 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!"
  • Victory Is Boring: According to 20 Questions with Bananaman, his biggest fear is running out of heroic things to do.
  • 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.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Eric is a school boy, but he's also Bananaman and has to save the world on multiple occasion. Sometimes the call to action comes just when he's going to school and results in him getting there late, or otherwise can make others wonder where he's been.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Bananaman's costume is that of Batman, but yellow.