Beano Studios has launched a free-to-join Dennis and Gnasher Fan Club – a modern take on the fondly-remembered Dennis the Menace Fan Club.
In addition to downloading a membership pack from the Beano.com web site enabling entry to a special area of the web site, you (or your parents) can can also buy a physical club pack for £9.99 that includes a welcome letter from Dennis and Gnasher, as well as a Official Fan Club Membership Card.
Once you’re a member you can use your secret code to access the password-protected area of the Beano smartphone app, the comic’s traditional world of pranks is open to them.
Suggestions for pranking school friends, parents and teachers include making a bowl of cereal and freeze it, before offering it to your parents.
The new club’s physical pack, including badges, come encased within the traditional Fan Club wallet, embossed in silver foil with the Dennis and Gnasher Fan Club badge.
Members of the original club will recall it included a distinctive “googly-eyed” Gnasher badge (which you can buy as part of the Beano 80th Anniversary Box Set, details here), but like Dennis, his badge has been updated for this new Club. The Membership Card contains a secret PIN (revealed by scratching off the foil) to grant you entry into the exclusive Fan Club members area on the Beano app.
The new Club could be a canny move in keeping with other publishers efforts to encourage reader loyalty in return for exclusive content, helping bolster reader engagement.
While the Beano’s extras for Club members are free, reflecting the ethos of the Beano.com web site given its young target audience, in recent years, there’s been a huge increase in “boxed” services, offering premium content only available to magazine subscribers.
(Elsewhere, Doctor Who Magazine has begun publishing subscriber-only covers to reward its readers).
A reader club was the kind of extra offering what was the norm for many British comics in the past. Eagle, for example, had a huge and dedicated club at its height.
The original Dennis the Menace Club started in 1976, but Beano publisher DC Thomson stopped taking new members in August 2010, in favour of developing the Beano.com web site.
The club cost just 75p to join and membership peaked at 1.25 million members, running for 22 years before becoming the Beano Club, which in 2010 had about 10,000 members, aged from seven to 70.
• Were you a Beano club member? Why not share your memories below?
• Find out more or join here: www.beano.com/fanclub