Beano 3972 Cover

Happy Birthday to the Bash Street Kids, 65 years young!

Beano 3972 CoverThe Bash Street Kids have been in Beano for 65 years, and this week’s issue of the brilliant humour comic offers an epic tale from Andy Fanton – and we’re delighted he had time for a quick chat about it – with art from Bash Street legend David Sutherland!

Not only did Andy write a great “Bash Street Kids” story, full of little nods to their history but this week he also wrote “Minnie the Minx“, drawn by Laura Howell, and got to write the overarching plot for the whole issue!

We asked Andy (who’s also an ace cartoonist as well as comics writer) who was his favourite Bash Street Kid to write about – but there’s no easy answer!

“My favourite Bash Street Kid to write is a tricky one,” he told downthetubes. “It’s like choosing a favourite child, which I suppose I am in this case! But I’d probably go for Smiffy. He’s good natured but always gets things so gloriously wrong, he’s great fun to write for. I think there was a reason why he had his own solo strip for a while!”

Bash Street Kids creator Leo Baxendale cameos in this week's issue as the founder of the school
Bash Street Kids creator Leo Baxendale cameos in this week’s issue as the founder of the school

Andy has been a lifelong Beano fan, it seems.

“I’m not sure I can pinpoint a precise memory of my first memory though, it was just always there growing up!” he says.

“I grew up with The Beano of the 1980s, when David Sutherland was doing double duty on ‘Dennis the Menace’ and ‘Bash Street’, and just loved his work on both. It’s a huge honour to be writing for him today, and very surreal!

Longtome Bash Street Kids artist David Sutherland cameos in this week's Beano
Longtome Bash Street Kids artist David Sutherland cameos in this week’s Beano

“I think I just remember really connecting with the Kids – there seemed to be an inordinate number of stories set in boarding schools in books and comics when I was a kid, but Bash Street felt like an actual school I recognised, with pupils who reminded me of my friends.

“I used to get their annuals, summer specials, everything I could.

“One story I’ll never forget was the one where the kids were sent to an academy where they had their individual quirks and behaviours removed.

“I recall it being a big press story, with cries of ‘political correctness gone mad’ but of course it was all alright in the end. I made a couple of nods to that one in my story for the 65th!”

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…

The Bash Street Kids popped onto Beano in the 1950s created by Leo Baxendale (and there’s a nod to him in this week’s issue) as “When the Bell Rings“, which first appeared in issue 604, although it was trailed in previous issues.

The first 'proper' episode of "When The Bell Rings" from The Beano No. 604. Issues 602 and 603 had teasers in them, sharing the page with "Minnie the Minx".
The first ‘proper’ episode of “When The Bell Rings” from The Beano No. 604. Issues 602 and 603 had teasers in them, sharing the page with “Minnie the Minx”.
The last When the Bell Rings in the Beano No. 747 before it became The Bash Street Kids
The last When the Bell Rings in the Beano No. 747 before it became The Bash Street Kids

It became “The Bash Street Kids”, following on from the appearance of a number of “Bash Street School” text stories in DC Thomson’s story paper Wizard, in 1955.

Wizard 1522 Bash Street School

Wizard 1546 Bash Street School
Snippets from two illustrated “Bash Street School” stories from Wizard, published in 1955
Leo Baxendale's first "Bash Street Kids" in the Beano No. 748 after it changed title from When the Bell Rings
Leo Baxendale’s first “Bash Street Kids” in the Beano No. 748 after it changed title from When the Bell Rings
The first two-page episode of "The Bash Street Kids" in full colour, from the Beano No. 1046 © DC Thomson (with thanks to Irmantas Povilaika)
The first two-page episode of “The Bash Street Kids” in full colour, from the Beano No. 1046 © DC Thomson (with thanks to Irmantas Povilaika)

In this week’s Beano…

Class 2B is under threat! The Bash Street Kids cause mischief, mayhem, and major repair costs, and the Mayor of Beanotown’s has had enough! Teacher is fired, and the kids have been moved to classes in the rest of the school.

Is this the end for Class 2B?

Beano 3972 - Bash Street KIds

Also this week’s Beano

In “Minnie the Minx”, Min’s got twins on the brain! Minnie is keeping Toots’ spirits up and making the most of another minxing girl being around. Look out, Mrs Creecher – you’ll soon be seeing double trouble!

Beano 3972 - Minnie the Minx

Sending a note across the class has never been harder. Roger the Dodger will have to use all his dodging power to help Plug get the note to Danny without Mrs Creecher noticing.
Will the king of dodges be up to the task, or will Mrs. Creecher see through their antics?

Beano 3972 - Roger the Dodger

Meanwhile, with Teacher fired, he needs work… and Bananaman needs a sidekick, so is he the perfect man for the job? Readers will soon find out you can take the Teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the schooling out of Teacher!

Beano 3972 - Bananaman

Finally – Dennis is the coolest kid in Beanotown… Or is he? Could Bash Street Kids Danny unseat him from his throne?

Enjoy the battle to be the Coolest Kid in Bash Street School! Who will be victorious?

Beano 3972 - Dennis

Happy birthday, Bash Street Kids!

Beano 3972 starring the Bash Street Kids is on sale now in all good newsagents and supermarkets across the UK – and available digitally too. Check out Beano online at www.beano.com

Comics writer and cartoonist Andy Fanton
Comics writer and cartoonist Andy Fanton

• Follow comics writer Andy Fanton on Twitter @YourPalFanton | Web: andyfanton.com

• Follow comics artist Laura Howell on Twitter @VictoriaClam | Web: www.laurahowell.co.uk | Facebook

With thanks to everyone who has written or drawn The Bash Street Kids, its creator Leo Baxendale, and Irmantas Povilaika for the early appearances of the gang featured here – check out his brilliant Kazoop blog here – and but his amazing Ken Reid Power Pack books while you’re there!

Bash Street Kids, Beano © Beano Studios/ DC Thomson

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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