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1998-2003 : A transition period for the Beano? 
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Throgmorton

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Bob's loss was a terrible tragedy for comic fans, as well as his family, and for good reason! Within a couple of years we lost Bob, John Geering and John Sherwood.


05 Jun 2011, 17:36
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AndyB wrote:
Mind you, I need to point out your inattention to the back cover of the Beano - Gnasher's Bite is brand new. You might (with some justification) point out that it is a fourth page of the two main characters, rather than a new or returning character, but nevertheless it is original material, and, in my opinion, beats the occasional 60 second Dennis hollow.
Technically, Gnasher's Bite was a straight out replacement for 60 Second Dennis and a substitute to the old Gnasher's Tale and Gnasher and Gnipper strips - in fact it's basically the latter without Gnipper. It's good, but the point about the lack of new material still applies.

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05 Jun 2011, 19:15
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The transition period certainly bought some changes. I think of it ending in 2004 rather than 2003, as that was when Jimmy unoficially replaced Parkins as Dennis' secondary artist, and when the issue number and date stopped being displayed on the cover front and centre and instead displayed in tiny letters near the barcode. (never liked that). Mind you, Jimmy Hansen had drawn several Dennis strips before '04 (The first one I have is the issue dated 7 December 2002) and he seemed to be emulating Parkins' incarnation quite significantly (on the cover of the said issue, Dennis' expression looks identical to that of the cover of the 7th September 2002 issue)

Duroing this time we got a lot of artists who had either never drawn for the beano or had never drawn for a comic before. There was the Jimmy hansen who had drawn for the Dandy since 1993 (and had worked in comics since the 70's) but didn't draw for the Beano until 1999. Then there was mike Pearse, who did excellent long stories involving lots of characters which I previously mentioned, along with The 3 Bears and Singled Out. There was also Jon Rushby, who's style I don't really mind, It does have some real charm to it, but at one time It just got to the point where his work became incredibly cluttered- not a very good thing for a comic strip to be. He once drew a deputised Bash Street Kids strip in October 2001, and I've never seen anything so messy.

I think I could probably owe my hate of Graeme Hall down to one thing- Vic niell had preceded him, and he was great. I suppose you could say People growing up with his Billy whizz were spoilt. :lol: but they may not have liked Niell's Billy- I can think of reasons why people may have disliked his Billy- He changed a fair bit, such as his hair (He made his original hairs go curly to start with, and then changed the hairstyle completely) and I recall a user on this forum referring to Niell's Billy as a "smiling nit". Graeme Hall further enforced some of the changes (such as the head shape) Vic Niell made to make him even less recognisable. There was also the problem with speed- G. Hall didn't seem to be able to (or perhaps just didn't want to) convey speed like the other artists. In his earliest strips, Billy was often seen with Blurred Spinning legs like what Parkins and Metcalfe did previously. However, in some cases it seemed more like Billy wasn't actually moving at any real speed, but rather his legs were slipping fiercely against the ground. In other cases, he appeared to be simply strolling while the word "Whizz!" or "Zoom!" is seen in great big letters. In one case, (in an issue from January 2003) One of Billy's ancestors, who is similarly super-fast, proves that the world is round as one country's day is another's night. He is meant to be whizzing across the world, but he actually appears to be plodding rather than running and yet a huge "Zoom!" in big letters is shown to convey speed.

I could write a book about G. Hall, but to be honest there are more important things in the world than a non-current comic artist. I still have more to talk about. This transition Period also introduced the likes of Chris McGhie and Duncan Scott- both brought in around 2000 or 2001 to draw Rhyme Time, and Both Went on to draw different strips later on. I like both these artists, and I think they're underrated. Duncan scott especially, he's brilliant, and really has a fun style that not only works well in comics but wouldn't go amiss on something such as birthday cards.

Then there was Dave Eastbury. I have no idea what his earliest work may have been but I think his first work in the Beano was Freddie Fear unless I'm very much mistaken. In my opinion, it looked like his early Freddie Fear strips were drawn to match the style of David Easington, who drew Little 'Orror. I think this was intentional, because In the 7th September 2002 issue, there's a painting of Little 'Orror on the wall of the Castle where Freddie lives. To be honest, I think Dave's earlier strips for the Beano looked somewhat static, with very little movement, and his Freddie Strips weren't very convincing (mind you, DC Thomson never utilised the Comedy-Horror style strip in any of their comics, any strip set in a spooky sort of setting were always pure humour, though John Geering's Number 13 conveyed a sense of Atmosphere you didn't get in Freddie Fear, Especially in the Black and White strips). I think since Dave changed his style in 2009, his work has looked much better.

Wayne Thompson is another artist who I think started work for the Beano during this time; I believe his first Beano work may have Been the one-off Phone-a-Fiend. His earliest Billy Whizz strips did look quite good; aside from the tracksuit he esentially reverted Billy back to the way he'd been drawn by Mal, David and Trevor before him. But as everyone else has mentioned it didn't take long for his style to deteriorate and at one point he even forgot to give Billy some pupils in his eyes (Had Billy gotten blinded at whizzspeed?) And I think as he began to draw Jak for the dandy his style further deteriorated- his earlier Jak strips were quite good but soon he was drawing in some sort of Bridge-style (across between his earlier style and his more current style) and he was soon drawing strips in about a thousand different styles- many in a single strip. These days I think his style looks much better, more pleasing to the eye and more fun to look at.

Mind you, This transition period saw the Beano lose three Johns- Geering, Dallas and Sherwood. All three with different styles and all three leaving were a great loss. Of course John Geering and John Sherwood died, and Dallas retired, so they couldn't keep them even if they gave them no choice. Aside from John Dallas, they were nevr properly replaced. Metcalfe's Les Pretend simply wasn't as good as John Sherwood's, and John Geering's strips both ended.

Then we saw the death of Bob Nixon, who I suppose was properly replaced when his strips were exhausted in 2003. Tony O'Donnel emulated Nixon's style quite well on Ivy, but his strips also contained traces of Trevor Metcalfe, Jimmy Glen and even a slight tinge of Mal Judge. To be honest I'd have liked to see him draw Roger, I think his style suite him better than Barry Appleby, whose style I never really liked much, and I actually prefer seeing the Reprints of Nixon's work in the current Beano, even though I've already read a lot of them. (As a matter of Fact, Jimmy Glen did a good looking Roger in a game in the 2008 annual. I presume he'd Semi-retired by 2003 though, as he was no longer drawing any strips. Jimmy never did draw Roger. Shame really, because his Roger would've been better than Tom Lavery's, which didn't do anything except make Frank McDiarmid's Roger look good.)

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06 Jun 2011, 10:21
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I totally agree with the comments about Bob Nixon - although a lot of artists died or retired during this period, he did seem like the biggest loss, because he was drawing two major strips at that time.

I also agree that Jimmy Hansen did seem to take quite a lot of inspiration from David Parkins, particularly in his early strips. It's one of those things I hadn't really noticed, but looking back at it now does make sense.

If you look at Graeme's Billy Whizz strips, I think the ones from 2000 (just after he took over from Vic) are the best he did, as his impression of Vic's style wasn't too bad and his depiction of Billy's whizzspeed was decent as he was using the spinning legs and dust trails. Have a look at the one strip of his that was reprinted in October 2009. I suspect that strip was originally from very soon after he took over from Vic, as it looks a bit different from his usual style.

Personally, I quite like Billy's thunderbolt hairstyle, partly because it was how he looked when I started reading the Beano so I wasn't used to anything else, though I think it would have been interesting to see how people would have perceived the changes made by Vic (and, earlier, the introduction of the tracksuit), had this forum been around in the early-mid 1990s.

About Billy's eyes being left blank, that was an unexplained error that occured after Wayne sent the artwork in - it was confirmed on here by Wayne's friend (whose username escapes me at this moment). Oddly, in some frames the pupils were present. I haven't got any ideas as to why this happened.

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06 Jun 2011, 11:08
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Simple, a staff colourist screwed up.

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06 Jun 2011, 11:16
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swirlythingy wrote:
much as with Calamity James, Ivy's cancellation was ideological rather than commercial and nothing could have saved her.


Feel free to furnish us with any facts you have to support this wild assertion.


06 Jun 2011, 12:40
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You don't know Ivy's origins? She was created by former Beano editor Alan Digby, when his predecessor Euan Kerr was editor. Her visual design is based on his daughter - you can see a picture of her in Beano and Dandy Heroes, last year's retro annual. When Alan left the Beano earlier this year, Ivy was dropped.

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06 Jun 2011, 17:08
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It's well known that Alan isn't a fan of Calamity James, but he is very special to Euan as he played a big part in creating him. Although James continued to appear after Alan became editor, it was not long before the comic stopped printing new strips and there hasn't been a new James strip since January 2007. When he has appeared since, it has only been reprints.

In The History of the Beano, when asked to list his least favourite characters, Alan does point out that James was consistently coming near the bottom of the poll as a good reason for dropping him. However, he also states that he never really got into the strip, and thinks that while he did not believe the strip was not badly written or drawn, he didn't feel it deserved its cult status. This suggests it was his decision to drop James. I don't agree with his opinion here but as editor he was entirely within his rights to drop such a strip. Interestingly, though, Alan does also say that he doesn't like Lord Snooty. Neither did Euan, who I'm quite sure once said that he never liked the character, and found him difficult to write for.

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06 Jun 2011, 18:33
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Which is why the original Snooty got axed.

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06 Jun 2011, 20:36
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How did this turn into a thread about Alan Digby's editorial decisions? Neo was asking for Swirly's evidence of a decision made by a different editor!

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06 Jun 2011, 22:46
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The problem is we can't be totally sure as to why Ivy was dropped - what has been said about possible reasons for dropping her is speculation. On the other hand, we know that Alan doesn't like James so there's a decent amount of evidence available which suggests that Alan dropped James because he didn't like the character (I don't believe he dropped him just because he was a favourite of Euan).

It's possible that the Ivy situation might be similar to that with James, but then again it could be nothing like it. As I said, without knowing Mike's personal feelings about Ivy, we can't be certain. However, it should be noted that James continued to appear under Alan before turning reprint and being quietly dropped, whereas Ivy seems to have been dropped on the change of editor. Although I cannot back this up, I wonder whether Alan wanted to retire Ivy when he retired, as she was his favourite character.

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07 Jun 2011, 08:26
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Lew Stringer wrote:
How did this turn into a thread about Alan Digby's editorial decisions? Neo was asking for Swirly's evidence of a decision made by a different editor!

Is this enough for you, then?

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07 Jun 2011, 18:07
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swirlythingy wrote:
Lew Stringer wrote:
How did this turn into a thread about Alan Digby's editorial decisions? Neo was asking for Swirly's evidence of a decision made by a different editor!

Is this enough for you, then?


No. Perhaps you didn't understand Neo's comment. We know Ivy was dropped. Where's your evidence that Ivy's cancellation was "ideological rather than commercial" as you put it?


07 Jun 2011, 18:18
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Lew Stringer wrote:
swirlythingy wrote:
Lew Stringer wrote:
How did this turn into a thread about Alan Digby's editorial decisions? Neo was asking for Swirly's evidence of a decision made by a different editor!

Is this enough for you, then?

No. Perhaps you didn't understand Neo's comment. We know Ivy was dropped. Where's your evidence that Ivy's cancellation was "ideological rather than commercial" as you put it?

Where's your evidence that it wasn't? Are you suggesting that Ivy the Terrible was dropped from the Beano at exactly the same time as the departure of her creator, on whose daughter she was based, and the appointment of a new editor in his place, because she was bottom of the reader poll?

In any case, I'm not going to get further into this discussion. Neo's hijacked the thread for the purposes of picking a fight, and frankly I'm disappointed you're encouraging him.

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07 Jun 2011, 22:28
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swirlythingy wrote:
Where's your evidence that it wasn't?


I'm not the one who made the assumption.

swirlythingy wrote:
Are you suggesting that Ivy the Terrible was dropped from the Beano at exactly the same time as the departure of her creator, on whose daughter she was based, and the appointment of a new editor in his place, because she was bottom of the reader poll?


Are you suggesting it was dropped just to spite the outgoing editor? Do you really think a new editor would be that unprofessional?

swirlythingy wrote:
In any case, I'm not going to get further into this discussion. Neo's hijacked the thread for the purposes of picking a fight, and frankly I'm disappointed you're encouraging him.


He wasn't picking a fight. He asked you to provide your evidence, which you're avoiding. You often post your own conclusions about The Beano on the net and this time someone took you to task.

The facts are that editors have a limited budget to spend on the comics. The budget isn't the same for each title. I'm sure editors past and present would love to fill all 32 pages with new comic strip but they have to manage the budget and if that means replacing strip with in-house feature pages that's the unavoidable solution.


Last edited by Lew Stringer on 08 Jun 2011, 23:09, edited 2 times in total.



07 Jun 2011, 22:48
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