80 years of The Beano marked at “The McMenace” in Dundee

A commemorative drawing of the Bash Street Kids at "The McMenace" to mark 80 years of The Beano. Picture: Nigel Parkinson
A commemorative drawing of the Bash Street Kids at "The McMenace" to mark 80 years of The Beano. Picture: Nigel Parkinson
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The Bash Street Kids will stage a takeover of The McManus museum and art gallery in Dundee this summer - and rename it The McMenace.

The signs will be temporarily redrawn at the city centre venue in June to honour the 80th anniversary of The Beano.

It will coincide with a new exhibition to mark the special birthday year for Britain’s longest running comic and its key caper merchants.

To commemorate the union between Beano Studios and The McManus, Nigel Parkinson, The Beano illustrator, has created an original comic strip starring The Bash Street Kids in full mischief mode designing the new McMenace sign.

The illustration shows The Bash Street Kids tangled in the light sculpture ‘Waldella, Dundee’ one of museum’s most popular exhibits.

Mike Stirling, Head of Beano Studios Scotland, said: “Dundee is the hometown of The Dandy and Beano, and so for us, there is no better partner than The McManus to celebrate our 80th milestone with.

“The exhibit will offer fans a glimpse into the history of the comics, and showcase the rebellious and fun characters of the comics throughout the ages and display how they still connect with children today.”

The exhibition will take a fun look at Beano and The Bash Street Kids, whose conception was inspired by pupils at Dundee High School and their playground, which sits just a stone’s throw from the museum and DC Thomson’s headquarters at Meadowside.

The showcase will display and explore the birth of the Beano comic and show how it has developed throughout the ages.

First published on July 30 1938, The Beano soared in popularity in the bleak post-war years with its weekly circulation hitting more than 1.7m readers in 1950.

Today, it sells just over 34,700 copies a week and the title continues to stand its ground long after its comic rivals have folded.

Its success has been attributed to the enduring appeal of Dennis The Menace who has evolved over time to keep striking a chord with young readers.

Meanwhile, The Dandy, which hit the shelves eight months before The Beano, printed for the last time in December 2012 with a digital-only experiment for the title later coming to an end.

The Dandy and The Hotspur, a boy’s story comic which specialised in tales of war and adventure, will represent the golden age of comic in the forthcoming Dundee exhibition.

Sinclair Aitken, Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee said: “We think that the Beano’s 80th is an outstanding achievement, its influence shows the test of time as it is still so incredibly popular with children today.

“We can’t wait to celebrate the birthday of this comic in its hometown. They have created so many iconic characters through the years from Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx to the fantastic Bash Street Kids.

“This exhibition is a very special collaboration between ourselves and Beano Studios and we look forward to welcoming visitors of all generations from near and far, when the exhibit opens in early June.”