I am indebted to Bananaman writer Cavan Scott for alerting me to, and indeed carrying out, this small homage to one of my characters. He's only been and gone and snuck Miracle Banana into this week's Bananaman story, drawn as always by Wayne Thompson.
In his own homage to Mr Benn, which goes on to spoof Iron Man and the superhero genre, we see not only Miracle Banana's costume (itself a parody of Miracle Man / Marvel Man, as introduced in the strip last year) but also John Geering and Steve Bright's original "black face" Bananaman costume from 1980 and Bat Banana, about whom I must read more.
Can you spot the tell-tale clue that I was an uncredited inker on this Ghost Rider 2099 spread?
The inclusion of background gags has long been one of my favourite features of comics, and something that artists have done since long before I grew up reading Leo Baxendale strips (which were full of them - see anything from When The Bell Rings and Wham to The Swots & The Blots and Willie The Kid). My two favourite background scribblers as a teenager were Harry North, in his On The Buses and Doctor At Large strips in Look-In, and Terry Austin, the Marvel superhero inker who began his career sneaking his name into the background of pages ostensibly inked by Dick Giordano who he was assisting (look out for the name Austin on trucks and shopfronts in the Superman v Spider-Man Treasury Edition from 1976, and lots of hidden pictures of Popeye).
Long may the subtle background gag continue. and long may I continue to be one. (I was referring to my cameo in the Wedding strip last year, and nothing else!)
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. View the new promo video here.