On Sunday I visited Beano Town, no I didn’t have any children with me I simply indulged my inner kid (which anyone who knows me is actually pretty much my outer kid). Beano Town has been set up at the South Bank as part of their Festival of Neighborhood and for any fans it is well worth a visit.
The Beano and its most infamous hero spans generations, meaning childhoods as early as the 1930’s have fond recollections of the comic. For me as a child of the late 80’s / early 90’s I remember buying the comic at the newsagents and loving the characters, particularly The Numbskulls and Minnie the Minx.
However a stronger memory is of hours reading old Beano annuals when staying at my Grandma’s. This meant that I knew some of the older characters such as Biffo the Bear, the gentler fore runner to Dennis the Menace.
Visiting the exhibition I never realised quite how much history and how political and topical the comic has been. Started in the 1930’s a mere 6 months after its brother comic The Dandy. But quickly over took in the popularity stake.
Over the years the characters reflected the times, with early comic strips which today would be seen as offensive. With the outbreak of war the comic became a powerful moral boost for children being evacuated out of the cities and into the country. While the country fought Hitler’s army popular characters in the stories outwitted the Nazi’s in their own way. The exhibition continued through the history and even today The Beano is topical with an extra special strip for Andy Murray’s Wimbledon triumph this week.
The exhibition is on until September and gives plenty to do for kids, adults and inner kids!