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The Beano – Issue 3629

March 31, 2012

The Beano - Issue 3629

The Beano - Issue 3629

Might as well review this week’s Beano while I’m at it – it’s been a while, eh?

I find when talking about The Beano – I have not a lot to say so I usually avoid reviewing it. Especially as I don’t like it a lot any more… Sorry Beano…

Now, don’t get me wrong – I think Mike Stirling has done a fantastic job at taking over The Beano and has made the comic far, far better than when it was in the Alan Digby era. The problem is, the comic just isn’t as good any more – it’s riddled with reprints, full of filler and not a lot of new comic strips – plus, it’s just not funny or exciting, especially when compared to the incredible Dandy and even better newcomer, The Phoenix.

Now, the comic isn’t exactly terrible – this was pretty good but when compared to these other comics I’ve mentioned above – you do wonder why it is a better seller than the others.

Okay, I think that’s enough ranting – time to move on to the content…

PG 1: Front Cover – Nigel Parkinson

- A slightly busy cover again this week but seeing Nigel’s artwork on the front with the lovely colours by Nina (?) makes the cover stand out in contrast to the all too similar Barrie Appleby covers. I’m not sure if I’m keen of the characters appearing over the logo – I think it make the page far too crowded. GOOD

PG 2: Advert: BeanoMAX/Beano Blockheads

- A nicely done advert advertising two things I haven’t seen be advertised before (or recently) – I also love the slogans, The BeanoMAX’s being “Max Fun! Max Laughs! Max Value!” and The Beano website’s new slogan being the catchy “Stuff to take! Stuff to make! Stuff to do! Stuff for you!” – which works far better than “Loaded with Laughs! Jumping with Jokes!” in my humble opinion. GOOD

PG 3: Contents

- I can’t stand this new contents lay-out – showing three of the pages is not a contents – it’s a second “This Week in Beanotown!” – the picture is always lazy with it simply being a picture of the front cover’s main illustration. The font they’ve used (CreativeBlock) has been compressed and looks pretty ugly. I’d prefer to see all the pages appear where they have the awful “can-only-see-three” “contents” – it’s like The Dandy’s – what’s  the point?! BAD

PG 4: Dennis and Gnasher – Nigel Parkinson

- It certainly was nice seeing a different artist drawing Dennis this week. Plus, look at Nigel’s Dennis! It’s the old one – EXACTLY the same! He even has the four fingers and a thumb! My only criticism of the strip is the “celebrities” or royal members featuring. It was unneeded. GOOD

PG 7: Competition: Win Tickets to Wembley

- Looks really professional. That’s all I can really say. AVERAGE

PG 8: The Treehouse

- Two pages of boring stuff – not even good drawings this week. Also why do they insist on calling it ‘The Tree-House’ – it’s ‘The Treehouse’, isn’t it? BAD

PG 10: Minnie the Minx – Laura Howell

- A busy and nicely-drawn Minnie by secondary artist, Laura Howell. GOOD

PG 12: Retro Beano – (featuring Billy Whizz and Colonel’s Crackpot Circus) – Malcolm Judge (reprint)

- Two fantastic blasts from the past – I was always a massive fan of Malcolm Judge and I loved all the different ways who drew Billy’s speed movement. GOOD

PG 14: The Numskulls – Barry Glennard

- A brilliant two-parter advertising the Beano Blockheads. Absolutely fantastic with brilliant artwork by Barry! GOOD!

PG 16: Meebo and Zuky – Laura Howell

- A funny and fast-paced story with classic cartoon violence and incredible artwork. GOOD

PG 17: Bash Street School’s Show and Tell!

- I can’t stand this page – why have it when we already have that awful Treehouse abomination? Three pages of readers’ art? Seriously? BAD

PG 18: The Bash Street Kids – David Sutherland

- A funny story which worked really well with some great artwork by Dave as well. GOOD

PG 20: Make Your Face Famous!

- Some great artwork here, especially by Neil Buchanan of ‘Art Attack’ fame! I’m thinking of sending in my one! GOOD

PG 21: Ratz – Hunt Emerson

- Very good storyline with some lovely artwork by Hunt – possibly his best yet in my humble opinion! GOOD

PG 22: Ball Boy – Dave Eastbury

- A funny storyline with fantastic artwork as usual by Dave. Although notice how Chandra doesn’t say anything? She’s useless – being back Titch and Dimmy! GOOD

PG 23: Advert: Be Active, Beano-Style!

- Basically a new incarnation of The Beano Shop – (talking about The Beano Shop – what happened to lug being the new face of The Beano Shop, eh?) AVERAGE

PG 24: Fred’s Bed – Nigel Parkinson

- Crikey! More from Nigel! I must admit, I really do like his Fred’s Bed – I actually think it’s the best one ever – even better than Tom Paterson’s! The story itself is okay, not a lot really happens and there’s celebrity input again (but it works this time around). GOOD

PG 26: Fred’s Fantastic Facts!

- I still think ‘Fred’s Foul Facts’ sounded better. The facts were quite interesting as always and this the only page out of the ones that Mike has introduced which I approve of. GOOD

PG 27: Billy Whizz – Nick Brennan

- A nicely-done Billy Whizz story this week with great perspective on Panel 4 – the speed is always shown very well especially in Panel 6. The story itself was quite funny as well – which is an improvement on the recent ones from a few weeks ago… GOOD

PG 28: Bananaman – John Geering (reprint)

- A good story with a lot of humour in it – but the strip doesn’t bode well with me. I think it’s ridiculous to put a Nutty/Dandy star in The Beano as reprints – it seems incredibly stupid. They could have at least had Barrie Appleby or Nigel Parkinson draw it. Siiiggghhh… AVERAGE

PG 30: Totally Gross Germs – David Sutherland (reprint)

- I honestly cannot stand this strip – I never liked it when it was on its first run – let alone its reprint run! The colours are quite good for once with decent colours rather than pallet-yellow for carpet  and pallet-blue gradient for walls (my poor eyes!). This week’s chosen story was no exception to the series with it being boring and not at all funny – plus that interviewer? I’m guessing he’s a celebrity – possibly Terry Wogan? How obvious do they want to be that it’s a reprint? Deary me… BAD

PG 31: Advert: Meet Dennis at Wembley

- Seriously? An entire page for this rubbish – what a waste… BAD

PG 32: Roger the Dodger – Robert Nixon (reprint)

- Another reprint to add on to the growing list. This week’s was quite good – I’m actually really enjoying this reprint run. Although those colours for the carpet and walls in Panel 1 look horrific. GOOD

PG 33: Roger the Dodger/Advert: Beano Easter Eggs

- Eh? No Dodge Diary?! Hooray! Still, it’s an awful low-quality photo of the Easter eggs – silly JPEG! I love how the price isn’t mentioned – I’m not too surprised – they’re really small and they cost £5.00! Still, the advert looks professional (other than the JPEG photos).  AVERAGE

PG 34: Number 13 Beano Street – John Geering (reprint)

- Yet another reprint… And it wasn’t even a good one. It wasn’t funny at all; plus compare the lovely blotches done on Frankie in the title picture to the ugly gradient in the comic strip. Lazy, much? BAD

PG 35: Advert: Beano Subscription Page

- Not much to really say about this. AVERAGE

PG 36: Gnasher’s Bit(e) – Barrie Appleby

- Once again a fantastic story – Gnasher’s Bit(e) never fails to impress. Although I would prefer to see Jimmy Hansen draw it. But I must admit, the colours and action in this week’s story is fantastic! GOOD

In order, here’s my best to worst:

1. The Numskulls

2. Ratz

3. Dennis and Gnasher

4. Meebo and Zuky

5. Ball Boy

6. Billy Whizz (Retro Beano)

7. Gnasher’s Bit(e)

8. The Bash Street Kids

9. Billy Whizz

10. Roger the Dodger

11. Minnie the Minx

12. Fred’s Bed

13. Colonel’s Crackpot Circus (Retro Beano)

14. Bananaman

15. Totally Gross Germs

16. Number 13 Beano Street

NUMBER OF PAGES: 36

PRICE: £2.50

AMOUNT OF COMIC STRIP PAGES: 23.5

AMOUNT OF NEW COMIC STRIP PAGES: 16

AMOUNT OF REPRINTED COMIC STRIP PAGES: 7.5

AMOUNT OF FILLER PAGES: 5

AMOUNT OF IN-HOUSE ADVERT PAGES: 4.5

AMOUNT OF OTHER ADVERTS: 0

AMOUNT OF OTHER PAGES: 3 (cover, contents, subscription)

A few regular pages were missing this week:

- Pup Parade – Gordon Bell

- Jumping with Jokes Page

Semi-regular:

- Super School – Lew Stringer

- Belle’s Magic Mobile – Steve English

Overall a decent issue which at least had The Numskulls, The Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx all in new strips as opposed to reprints of the past…

The Beano, Issue 3629 is on sale now for only £2.50 for 36 pages of laughs!

That’s all for now, folks!

- Harry Rickard

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2012 20:17

    I disagree with you on the Stirling era being far better than Digbys – The Beano was great until 2009. And stop blaming Digby for it being bad! How many times has Lew Stringer said that the bad points of the 2009-11 era were out of his control?

  2. Jonny Whizz permalink
    April 7, 2012 20:55

    Harry didn’t blame Alan Digby at any point in this blog – he said that he thought the comic was better now than it was under him. I don’t think he was criticising Alan, he was praising Mike for improving the comic in his view.

    I was also pleasantly surprised by the Dennis strip in this issue, as he looked so much like the pre-TV series version (no visible teeth) and he had five fingers. I have to say that overall I thought this was a pretty good issue – my personal highlights were Roger, Billy and Retro Beano.

    Jonny

    • April 7, 2012 21:22

      Agreed Jonny. Not once did I criticise Alan. I simply said Mike was a better editor and has made the comic better. Digby’s era was good but Mike’s is far better.

      It was nice to see it. I hope there is more of Nigel’s Dennis in the near future.

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