YouTuber, TV star and comics creator Joe Sugg has guest edited a special 48-page Beano comic to celebrate 70 years of the iconic mischief-maker Dennis, out next week in shops. The limited-edition comic celebrates 70 years since Dennis first appeared in Beano in the issue cover dated 17th March 1951 – and will kick start a year of festivities.
The issue immortalises Joe as a Beanotown character with his own strip drawn by Nigel Parkinson, and includes a number of guest appearances from Joe’s friends and family including girlfriend and his Strictly Come Dancing partner Dianne Buswell and The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood.
As the birthday boss, Joe penned multiple strips for the comic including creating his own Beano character, Archie Ology. The strip, “Birthday Prank-Ageddon” sees him team up with Dennis to pull the ultimate prank on Beanotown and references Joe’s appearances on Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake Off, poking fun at his fainting spell in the Bake Off tent.
To accommodate all of Joe’s ideas, extra paper had to be ordered so the birthday issue could be expanded into a 48-page bumper edition.
A lifelong Beano fan, Joe would practise drawing his favourite Beanotown characters as child. In his editor letter, Joe has shared a comic strip he drew as a child featuring himself alongside his favourite Beano character at the time, Calamity James, as well as a childhood photo of himself sporting a Dennis-inspired black and red striped coat.
“I am incredibly excited to be the guest editor of Dennis’s birthday comic,” says Joe Sugg, who has also written a number of graphic novels for teenage readers, drawn by Amrit Birdi – look out for “Username” title in your favourite book shop or online store.
“I grew up with Dennis, reading Beano each week and I can’t wait for readers to see all the fun, pranks, and surprises we’ve worked into the special issue. This really is a dream project for me.”
Mike Stirling, Editorial Director of Beano Studios said: “It’s fantastic to work with Joe Sugg for our commemorative issue celebrating Dennis’s 70th Anniversary. We truly believe that everyone has a little bit of Dennis in them but Joe definitely embodies the Dennis spirit through and through. He’s fun, cheeky and full of LOLZ which is what Dennis and Beano have always been about! We can’t wait for fans to get their hands on the special issue”
Beano was first published in July 1938 and together with The Dandy, continued production throughout World War Two, to keep the nation smiling. The comic has seen rising sales for several years, and enjoys a huge subscriber base, and continues to feature a huge variety of characters old and new, from Dangerous Dan and Minnie the Minx to Bananaman and Dennis and Gnasher. Loved by kids big and small, a Beano comic is bought every seven seconds in the UK.
A copy of the first issue of The Beano to feature Dennis – originally known as Dennis the Menace but today simply as “Dennis” to avoid confusion with his US rival of the same name – is currently attracting strong bidding online in the latest auction from Phil Comics.
• The Dennis 70th Anniversary issue of the Beano with Joe Sugg will be available in shops and online at Beano.com/Dennis70 from Wednesday 17th March. Subscribers to the BEANO will receive their copies from Saturday 13th March