Nov 6, 2013

The Beano has changed 1) Modern art styles.

 The Beano is a thing I love. It's a British comic book, an anthology of gag strips. I have Beanos from nearly every single decade of its existence except the 1930s and 1940s. Yup, that's right, the Beano started in 1938 making it one of the longest-running comic books in the world!

Especially since DC cancelled Action Comics and Detective comics and restarted them, relatively recently.

Obviously with such a long lifespan the Beano has changed a lot over the years. Still it's maintained a strong continuity with the old comics slotting in very well with even the most modern comics. At some other time I might pull out some of my collection and do a thorough through-time with one of the characters. But today I wanna target something specific from one of my recent issues of the book.

Recently, I mean, this year, the Beano stopped numbering the issues on the covers and just started using dates instead. That's annoying because I'm not sure of the exact issue number, but this issue is from the 29th of August 2013. (Keep in mind it takes about two to three months for these comics to show up in Australia.) But that's not the change I want to talk about.

The Beano has a few flagship characters -- most of whom debuted in the 1950s, and most of them have been drawn more-or-less the same way since the 1980s. Until now! Recent issues have some radically different takes on some of the classic characters. But never before has this seemed so jarring as with today's comic. Let's take a look at Roger the Dodger.

Roger's gotten a cutsie modern makeover. He used to be a standard Beano ugly kid, but now he's all cute and tiny and round. It's an interesting change. Made even more interesting because this story actually has a coda.

Each issue of the Beano now ends with a group strip with various characters from the Beano hanging out and resolving any hanging threads from their strips. Like this one:

But that's Roger's old character model. This whiplash of styles takes place within two pages. Finish the Roger the Dodger story, turn the page and there's the coda story with him drawn completely differently.

I kinda like it.

--Andrew S.

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