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The Beano – a Happy 76th Birthday!

Gazillions of other British comic titles have been published in the last 76 years but alas, none quite match up to the mayhem-tastic The Beano. This much-loved comic, full of menaces, minxes and dodgers, has been around for donkey’s years and after exploding onto shelves on July 30th 1938, it’s brought thrills, laughs, action and excitement to people of all ages, especially during the bleakness of World War II.

Full of funny picture strips, action-packed illustrated adventures and intense text tales, it was hailed a major menacing favourite in the ‘50s, encouraged silliness in the ‘60s and ‘70s, was excellent in the ‘80s, nifty in the ‘90s, nonstop naughty in the noughties, and is still the UK’s most upbeat comic to date.

To celebrate The Beano’s 76th birthday on 30th July, we’ve put together a few fun 'Dennis-did-you-knows' as well as some chuckle-worthy gags in honour of the comic’s laugh-packed history.

  • The Beano is the oldest comic in history
  • This world-famous weekly comic takes its name from the English word ‘beano’ which means ‘a good time’
  • The original first edition (shown below) went on sale on July 30th 1938 and was sold at an auction recently for a whopping £7,000!

  • The front cover of The Beano's first issue was dedicated to Big Eggo, an ostrich which was marketed as the comic's main attraction during its first decade, and was drawn by postcard illustrator Reg Carter

  • Unfortunately in 1948, it was decided that readers couldn’t relate to this egg-hunting ostrich as he wasn’t humanoid, and so as a result he was replaced on the cover by Biffo the Bear

  • At the moment, there are only 25 copies of The Beano's first edition remaining
  • The comic cost just two pence when it was published in July 1938 and sold 442,963 copies
  • The comic's best-known character and regular cover star is Dennis the Menace, although the spiky-haired scoundrel didn’t make his debut until 1951

  • The brain behind Dennis’s success is owing to cartoonist Hank Ketcham
  • Lord Snooty, who featured in the first issue, is the only remaining character in the comic today

  • The Beano’s Dennis the Menace was born in March 1951 when he was sketched on the back of a cigarette packet, making the mischief-making cartoon rogue the ripe old age of 63
  • Dennis once tried swapping his stripy jersey for a blue tracksuit and trainers - but soon swapped back, 'cos even Gnasher didn't recognise him 

  • DC Thomson Consumer Products has partnered with the family restaurant chain, Brewers Fayre, to feature a number of Beano branded activities, designed to encourage visitors to engage with the iconic comic strip. Activities include themed kids’ menus and activity packs on offer to all children dining at the restaurants.

Beano-Style Pranks You Can Play

Here are a couple of fooling funnies, inspired by the Prince of Pranks, himself - Dennis!

Mouse Mayhem

Grown-ups aren’t exactly au fait with anything hi-tech, are they? Namely PCs. Want to drive your oldies up the wall? All you have to do is take a piece of coloured sticky tape and stick it over the bottom of an optical mouse. Your olds won’t have the foggiest idea why the mouse won’t do anything – but (a-ha!) you will, so try not to chuckle too hard as they go completely potty.

To fix things, simply peel off the tape and everything goes back to normal. 

The Sock Swap

Every oldie owns a pair of socks. So, get all their socks and swap them round so none of the pairs match. They’ll be oh-so confused. Smiley face.

Funny Money

When adults see coins lying around on the ground, going spare, they can’t resist picking them up, can they? So gum a coin to the garden path – you’ll have a hoot as you watch them trying to lift it up. Or, even better, while they’re bending down, take aim with your catapult. Mohahahahaha.