The Beano celebrates its 80th birthday with series of events in Scotland

Created by publisher DC Thomson in Dundee, it sold almost two million copies weekly in the 1950s and has continued to be popular with children over the decades. Picture: Beano Studios/DC Thomson/PA Wire
Created by publisher DC Thomson in Dundee, it sold almost two million copies weekly in the 1950s and has continued to be popular with children over the decades. Picture: Beano Studios/DC Thomson/PA Wire
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The Beano plans to continue to laugh at the world from “a kid’s-eye view” as the comic celebrates its 80th birthday.

Home to characters such as Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids, it first hit newsstands on 30 July, 1938, as a companion to The Dandy, which had gone on sale eight months earlier.

The Bash Street Kids from 'The Beano'

The Bash Street Kids from 'The Beano'

It sold almost two million copies a week in the 1950s and has continued to be popular with children.

Most of its best-known characters were introduced in the years after its launch, and the first edition was fronted by Big Eggo The Ostrich, who kept his place there for a decade before being ousted by Biffo the Bear.

Very few first issues of the Beano remain, with one selling for more than £17,000 at auction in 2015.

Dennis The Menace is the longest-running character to appear in the comic. He made his debut on 17 March, 1951, but the “World’s Wildest Boy” had to wait until 5 May of that year to be given his trademark black-and-red striped jumper.

A series of events have been staged to mark the 80th anniversary, with Dundee’s McManus museum renamed the McMenace for an exhibition about the comic. It includes original artwork, a first edition of the Beano, fan club memorabilia and a history of its Dundee publishers DC Thomson.

Actor and children’s author David Walliams has guest edited a commemorative issue marking the anniversary. His features in the comic are a nod to other character staples such as Pansy Potter, Lord Snooty and Tin-Can Tommy.

Walliams said: “What I always loved about the Beano was that it felt naughty. It was a comic that you should read under the duvet with a torchlight.

“I don’t think I’d have got into writing my books without Beano. When coming up with characters for my TV shows and books, I’d imagine them all as larger-than-life characters, much like the ones in Beano.

“The comic is quintessentially British and as long as there are children who like to laugh there will always be a place for the Beano.”

He guest edited the comic in exchange for a donation to UK charity YoungMinds, which focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of children.Beano Studios and YoungMinds also worked together to create a new character called Mandi, who will debut in the 80th birthday issue.

Mike Stirling, editorial director of Beano Studios, said: “Everything about Beano has always evolved naturally, inspired by the kids we speak and listen to every single day.

“They’ve ensured the situations our characters find themselves in are always relatable to every generation. It’s all underpinned by our philosophy of laughing at the world via a kid’s-eye view.

“Our online hub Beano.com and No1 smash-hit Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed animation series now mean more kids than ever before are enjoying Beano-inspired everyday rebellion.”