A collection that celebrates the illustrations of Dundee based publishing company DC Thomson. The company that gave us The Beano, The Dandy and many more.
All featured material © DC Thomson & Co.
December the 4th 1937, was a significant date in the world of children’s comics. It was the day when publishers, D.C.Thomson, launched The Dandy. Thomsons were already big in the Boys’ papers market, but this was their first foray into comics aimed at younger boys AND girls.
The new 28-page paper was printed on the same letterpress machines which produced the company’s newspapers and 4-colour was restricted to the covers with a few 2-colour pages inside. But the mix of text stories, picture stories, cartoon strips and jokes was an immediate hit with kids…and a companion paper, The Beano, was launched just over 6 months later on July 30th, 1938.
The humour in both comics was basic – the fun stemmed from the idiosyncratic and often larger than life characters which were carefully designed to allow readers to relate to and sympathise with them and laugh at the ridiculous scrapes they got into, all set against a recognisable background. The serious side of the papers was given over to text and picture adventure stories featuring strong and heroic personalities. Magic was acceptable.
Today The Beano and The Dandy are Britain’s leading comics, with legions of fans across the generations; as much a part of the British way of life as Fish ‘n’ Chips and the Union Jack. The Beano is an important brand in both the children’s and the adult collectors’ markets. The contents of the two comics, although created and edited by very different personalities, have always had a certain similarity – visually at least. This is mainly because many of the strip artists worked for both papers.
Dennis The Menace burst on to the pages of The Beano in 1951; although ‘burst’ is probably too strong a word. Dennis began life as a third-of-a-page mono strip – and he didn’t even have his famous hooped jumper. It was some weeks till he appeared in the now familiar hooped livery and a while after that before his popularity resulted in his promotion to full page. In 1954 he graduated to 4-colour on the back page.
From 31st May 2013, you can visit Dennis the Menace, Gnasher and of all your favourite Beano characters at London's Southbank Centre to celebrate 75 years of the country's favourite comic!
The Southbank Centre's main summer season festival, the 'Festival of Neighbourhood', opened it's doors on 11th May to what they are calling 'London's finest neighbourhood'. Within the festival, you will find Beanotown; curated and designed by HemingwayDesign with unique materials from DC Thomson's archive and printed by Surface View, this is one summer event not to miss out on.
The Beano Editor-in-Chief Mike Stirling said, “It’s a dream come true to see Beanotown coming to life at Southbank Centre. For me, the coolest thing is that, along with the depths of the oceans and some parts of the rainforest, Beanotown was the last great uncharted territory on earth – I feel like Christopher Columbus! If you think you know The Beano then think again… this exhibition provides all the anarchic fun of The Beano but with lots of added extras.”
Highlights of Beanotown include the chance to discover the story of The Beano since 1938, re-read your favourite annual ever in the Beanotown Library of Laughs, grab a piece of Beano history in the special shop with exclusive new products and snap yourself, dressed as your favourite character, in the Beanotown photo booth.
“The Beano is a true British institution and the whole team at HemingwayDesign have had a blast looking through the archive and helping to put Beanotown together. The artwork and stories are wonderful and show how British humour and irreverence can help us get through the toughest of times. There are always wonderful things to see and do at Southbank Centre and Beanotown brings a true multi-generational visitor attraction that has history, politics, subversion, art, design, laughter and sheer devilment running through it.”
- Wayne Hemingway MBE.
To celebrate the opening of Beanotown, Surface View have teamed up with DC Thomson to host an exciting competition with the chance to win one of 15 copies of the last ever printed issue of The Dandy!
To enter, go to the Surface View homepage and follow the link for the competition.
Beanotown is open from 31st May - 8th September 2013, from 11am-7pm.
Entry is free.
Festival Village, Southbank Centre, London.