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Comic Strip / Bananaman

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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!

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 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 


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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In-universe in the animated series. The newsreader would announce that some terrible new danger had arisen, and then reach out of the TV set, give Bananaman a prod and point out that this was his cue to go into action. He appreciated this, and gave her bouquets from his side of the wall.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Police Chief O'Reilly.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The page quote above is actually the second version of the shorts' intro. The first had both "amazing double life" and "amazing transformation".
  • Destructive Savior: The police department had a character whose whole job was fixing the holes in the wall Bananaman would make whenever they called him for help.
  • 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 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.
  • 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
  • Limited Animation: Really noticeable in the animated shorts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sidekick Ex Machina: Bananaman's pet, Crow, often had to remind his hero of things like the fact that Bananaman has superpowers.
  • The Strength of Ten Men: The animated series has the narrator point out that Bananaman has the strength of twenty men. Adds Bananaman, "Twenty big men."
  • 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...
  • 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!"
  • 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.


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