on 1 October 2008
A big, sumptuous, heavy coffee table book, which treats the Beano archive with care and respect and documents the awsome talent which has gone into its creation over the past 70 years. The reproduction of numerous, full page, vintage and modern strips is crisp and clear - often taken from original artwork - and printed at a size which is suitable for ageing, nostalgic eyes. For too long Comics have been treated as trivial things; kids swopped them, teachers confiscated them and mothers gave them away to jumble sales. The material on display in this book, however, shows that the Beano, and its ilk, deserves to be re-assesed as a national treasure. It not only reflects the culture of the last 70 years, but can now be seen as having strongly influenced it. More from the vaults of D C Thomson please.
on 29 December 2008
I recieved this tome as a Christmas present, and it's an an absolute joy: compiled by D C THOMSON Editors [amongst others] this tells the entire saga of Britain's best-loved comic, from it's pre-war inception up 'til the present day.
Pulling no punches in it's presentation of archive material [much--though not all---early strips were 'adventure' fare] and including a fascinatingly bizarre wartime tale featuring a giant robotic HITLER that has to be seen to be believed---------and including a wealth of early 50s strips from the artists who perhaps defined the comic the best for generations: LEO BAXENDALE [BASH STREET] KEN REID ['JONAH']and of course DAVEY LAW [early 'DENNIS'] represented by much fine artwork, in an era where comic artists were afforded the luxury of extra space in which to indulge their comic visions.
A chapter on the 60s decade reveals further sterling work during the 'BEANO'S heyday, with intruiging examples like the final DUDLEY WATKINS' [whose work is chronicled throughout from the very first 1938 issue]'BIFFO' strip, which was actually completed by another artist ['BASH STREET'S DAVEY SUTHERLAND] and is finally identified here.
By 1970, the 'BEANO' had lost both WATKINS and LAW [whose final 'DENNIS' also appears here,] and these two contributers [along with BAXENDALE, who departed in 1962] left the comic without many key art personnel. However, further qualty work continued to appear throughout the 70s [including ROBERT NIXON'S excellent early decade work, which was filled with appeal and zest] and the demise of the 'adventure'-type strip of the 'BILLY the CAT' school is chronicled.
The 80s and beyond reveals a more 'hit-and-miss' approach from the comic, which saw improvements more in the field of improved paper stock and increased use of colour. Though modern strips/creations undoubtedly have considerably less 'staying power', much funny and effective imagery continues to be turned out by the DUNDEE 'dream factory', and it's interesting to compare the more compressed work put out today in counterpoint to the 'BEANO'S 'GOLDEN AGE' of the 50s and 60s.
Finally, this deluxe work is topped by an in-depth, meticulously- researched chronology of key events and developments of character appearences and departures since 1937, which proves to be an indispensible guide to anyone wishing to identify the contents of specific issues from their long-gone childhood.
A fantastic, vitally informative work that impresses and satisfies the most ardent comics buff/casual fan alike......
on 22 September 2014
What can I say? Received this on 22nd September at 10.00. Have just started reading this- it is a fascinating piece of Beano history, and it was very interesting to read about the editors and artists. it also shows the connections between "Sparky" and "Beezer" as well as the "Dandy". I am 53, and can remember reading both comics in the late 60's and early 70s! No PC then! I shall shortly be obtaining the "History of the Dandy"- even though the comics were rivals, they still had very close links!
Just for interest, my Dad is 78, and he remembers reading the Beano in the 40s!
I have also got "50 Golden Years" Beano/Dandy, and "More of the First 50 Years"-Beano/Dandy.