Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Who is Bananaman? - this week's Beano

"I'm Bananaman!" "No, I'm Bananaman!" Yes, I've done the I'm Spartacus gag in this week's Bananaman story - Bananaman The Movie (and, as you can see, Calamity James is almost delivering the punchline. His original line "No I'm... in the wrong film" hit the cutting room floor but the picture survives.)

But who exactly is Bananaman? Is it really the 1980's style John Geering version that Wayne's drawing for the third week running, having been asked to abandon his own dynamic style? Or is it Wayne's own Bananaman, with the big chin, the giant barrel chest and the tiny legs, of which I, at least, had become fond? The answer lies in the opening panel of this week's Roger The Dodger, also drawn by Wayne. Which design is it that we see on the football Roger's bouncing in the face of Robert Nixon's version of Roger's Dad? (And for the triple-whammy of Wayne ghosting late, great Beano artists, you can check out his Ken Reid tribute a little later in the same strip. And see also the box of Fragile Old Nutty Comics in Roger's attic, whose significance we can only guess at).

And in case you were wondering, no, Pansy Potter (who in this week's strip learns the correct use of a harp) wasn't that fat when she left my drawing board (above).

All sarky criticisms aside, it's another cracking Beano, with a smashing Jonathan Ross guest appearance in Dennis The Menace, super surreal Numskulls & Pie Face strips, and an excellently designed classic Gwyneth's Book Of Records. Buy the Beano, it's well worth it.

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.

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