A wide-ranging interview over at Licensing.biz with Ian Downes at Start Licensing has hinted at some major plans afoot to celebrate the Beano‘s latest milestone next year.
As well as a raft of new tie-in products, a big live celebration of the British weekly humour comic’s long history is in the works.
“Plans are being developed for the 80th Anniversary,” says Ian. “There is a dedicated 80th Anniversary style guide which existing and new licensees will have access to. There will also be a number of partnerships and activations with galleries, museums and selected partners.”
The Beano‘s 75th anniversary was celebrated in style with an exhibition on London’s South Bank – and the 80th will see more of the same type of activity “with new twists, new locations and new partners,” Ian teases.
“We have also some new partnerships in the art and print category including a work in progress original art collection from a very noteworthy contemporary artist that will be announced soon. Art and Beano go well together.”
One popular new item of merchandise has been Signature Gifts new range of personalised products with a particular highlight being a personalised edition of this year’s Beano Annual – the first time that this has been done.
“It’s a really great alternative to the standard Beano Annual for the fan or gifter looking to add an original twist to a classic annual,” Ian feels.
“A company like Lagoon Games is a good example of a Beano success story,” Ian also notes when asked about licensing successes for the comic and its publisher DC Thomson, whose products include a Sculpturades game and Beano-inspired water pistol.
“Beano was the first license Lagoon took and over the years they have enjoyed a lot of success with the brand whilst extending their activities in the licensing field with other partnerships,” says Ian. “Rather than stand still we have investigated ways of developing new products with Lagoon and this year they launched a Beano range in partnership with modelling compound Plasticine.
John Hornby Skewes‘ range of ‘real’ musical instruments is a current highlight as well. They have a great range that blends traditional instruments such as ukuleles with electric guitars coupled with original products such as the pBuzz – a starter instrument for wind instruments. It is great to be a player in this category – one of Dennis’ highlight was his band the Dinmakers so it makes perfect sense to have a musical instrument range!”
Ian thinks the 80th will bring some interesting new opportunities.
“We have actually signed a few new deals in the last week specifically for the 80th Anniversary including a deal with Truffleshuffle which will allow them to produce Limited Edition T-Shirts and designs for their site.
“This is a really nice dal for me as Truffleshuffle’s first ever license was for Bananaman – so it is nice to be working with Pat and his team on Beano’s 80th.”
What else might we see on release next year?
“I think wall art, original art and artworks are a great area for Beano to explore,” feels Ian.
(John Patrick Reynolds of course already creates handmade silkscreen prints of classic comic around the world including The Beano, The Dandy, The Victor and Commando)
“I think there is more that can be done in this area,” Ian says, “both by working directly with artists but also exploring ways of upcycling real Beanos into other uses.”
• Read the full interview with Ian Downes here on Licensing.Biz |follow Ian Downes on Twitter @StartLicensing
• Beano 3903 is on sale now in all good newsagents and via digital platforms | www.beano.com
Beano and characters © DC Thomson
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.