The aliens turn out to be shape-shifters this week, which I wasn't expecting. Spa-Foon of the Squa-Trontians is a character I created for my Bananaman stories and who's appeared half a dozen times. Until now he's been a green one-eyed creature with tentacles wearing a space helmet, but this week, because it was thought he looked a little too much like the aliens off an even more famous TV cartoon, he's changed into an orange two eyed guy with a widow's peak.
Perhaps I should have made them look less Simpsons-y and more like the Al Williamson originals that inspired them (read the legendary strip The Aliens here):
Also in this week's Beano is my Pansy Potter strip "Cheek". My name's hidden in the background, very subtly this time. Can you spot it readers?
Here, for your behind-the-scenes DVD-extra pleasure, is the opening of the Bananaman War Of The Worlds strip as it looked when I wrote it...
BANANAMAN – WAR OF THE WORLDS Kev F Sutherland 2 pager
1 BLACK & WHITE picture. WE begin with ORSON WELLES in a 1930s radio studio in front of a big microphone reading from a script very dramatically
WELLES I AM ORSON RYDER AND YOU’RE LISTENING TO THE RADIO THEATRE OF THE MAKEY-UPPEY. WE TAKE YOU NOW TO THE PALM COURT BALLROOM WHERE WE FIND –
2 Black & white again. WELLES pulls great dramatic faces into the microphone, pretending there are aliens, while behind him his actors shout and scream & bash pots and pans with bits of wood for sound effects
WELLES WAIT! WHAT IS THIS? IT’S ALIENS FROM SPACE! WE’RE BEING INVADED!
FX SWOOSH! ZAP! ALIEN INVASION NOISES!
3 Full colour is resumed. Cut to the streets of BEANOTOWN where ERIC is listening to a radio playing in the window of a shop. Close up on ERIC listening.
RADIO “HELP! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! AAAARGH!”
ERIC BRILLIANT, THEY’RE REPEATING A CLASSIC RADIO PLAY FROM THE OLDEN DAYS. LOVING IT!
4 We pull back to reveal that all the people of Beanotown are running up and down the street screaming and panicking. They all obviously think the radio play is real.
ERIC IT SOUNDS A BIT DATED NOWADAYS BUT –
PERSON HEEELP! ALIENS!!!
PERSON 2 O.M.GEEEE! IT’S A INVASION INNIT!
5 ERIC tries to wave his hands and shout to them all, but in vain, panic has spread. People are arming themselves with sticks and dustbin lids
ERIC NO, LISTEN! IT’S ONLY A PLAY ON THE RADIO! THERE’S NO ACTUAL –
PERSON BUG EYED GREEN MONSTERS! ARM YOURSELVES!
6 Close up on ERIC, talking to camera as he unpeels a banana
ERIC SERIOUSLY? PEOPLE LISTENING TO A RADIO PLAY IN 2014? WHATEVER, I’LL SORT THIS OUT!
7 ERIC transforms into BANANAMAN who shouts in a big voice to the people who turn and listen
BANANA I’M BANANAMAN, I’M BACK! NOW SHUT YOUR CAKE HOLES!
8 First of a pair of matching frames. To the left of the picture the crowd are all frozen to the spot looking up, open mouthed at BANANAMAN. He looms over the right hand side of the picture talking to them pleadingly. A shadow starts to creep up his back.
BANANA READ MY LIPS! THERE’S NO INVASION, THERE ARE NO ALIENS, AND THERE’S NO SPACE… SHIP….
9 A repeat of the same panel. Only this time the shadow has engulfed Bananaman, there is clearly something very big behind him and that is what the crowd are actually staring in awe at. Bananaman doesn’t look round at it yet.
BANANA IT’S BEHIND ME, ISN’T IT?
(end of page one)
And the strip's final panel originally went...
1 Final panel. SPA FOON is in his space ship, with a hanky over his nose, his eyes streaming. To the left, out of the porthole window, we see a big explosion of sneezing powder coming like a mushroom cloud from Beanotown far below on the earth. And to the right of the panel we see ORSON WELLES and his radio actors, who are all black and white despite the rest of the picture being in colour. They are looking up from their scripts towards Spa Foon who is telling them to shut up.
SPA FOON (to WELLES) AND YOU LOT CAN SHUT UP! HASHTAG FAILED AGAIN!
Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing Bananaman in The Beano, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He's been writing and drawing comics for 25 years, he must know something.