White Owl, an imprint of Pen & Sword Books, is to publish The History of the Beano, written by its former editor, Iain McLaughlin, in September.
The Beano is Britain’s longest-running and best-loved comic, winning the PPA’s Children’s Magazine of the Year award last month. Since 1938, it has brought thrills and laughter to generation after generation of children, seeing the young and young-at-heart through World War Two, the social changes of the 1950s and 60s and on into a new millennium.
So, how has the comic evolved since its early days? How many of the classic characters and their stories do you remember? What are the important changes that have happened through the years, why have they happened and why has the Beano survived when all the other comics have folded?
Every child in the UK since the 1950s has known Dennis the Menace, the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx and Roger the Dodger, but how many know the writers and artists who created these iconic comic characters? How do they write the scripts week after week? Where did the inspiration come from? How did the artists come to work for this Great British institution?
This 200-plus-page book offers the story of the Beano (so far), told in the words of the people who made it, going back to the dark, harsh days of the 1930s and continuing through to the present day. A unique insight into the country’s most beloved comic.
Author Iain McLaughlin lives in Dundee in a house filled with books, who has written more than 50 books and over 50 plays for radio, along with many short stories and TV scripts. During his career, he’s written for many famous properties including James Bond, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7 and Sherlock Holmes. He has also written several original thrillers.
For a time he was the editor of the Beano, editing Beano, BeanoMAX, the Beano.com web site, the annual – and also worked on editing 104 scripts for the 2013 Dennis and Gnasher TV series, and was script consultant on the Fox Kids Beano radio series.
Before that, he was deputy editor of The Dandy for five years, which he says was (mostly) great fun. He’s also written the Scottish icons, “The Broons” and “Oor Wullie” for The Sunday Post, too and is also a writer for DC Thomson’s Commando title.