Unofficial History of The Beano out now

Former BEANO editor Iain McLaughlin’s book, The Unofficial History of The Beano, is out now and available from all good bookshops, published by Pen and Sword Books under its White Owl imprint.

The Unofficial History of The Beano - Final Cover

Running to 200 pages, this hardcover book sadly doesn’t feature any illustrations, but The Scotsman’s early review from Martin Gray offers that it’s “a cracking look at a British institution that’s bound to bring back good memories”.

The Beano, now simply BEANO, should need no introduction to most downthetubes readers, as Britain’s longest-running and best-loved comic. 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.

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 is the story of The Beano, 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; offering a unique insight into the country’s most beloved comic.

Author Iain McLaughlin, whose career spans comics, novels, audio drama and more, worked on The Beano from 1988-89, returning from 2006 – 2013, his second stint including being the Editor, and editor of BeanoMAX, and various other aspects of the Beano brand.

He wrote most of the major Beano characters at some time or other – Dennis and Gnasher, the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger and Bananaman. He also wrote for the Dennis and Gnasher TV series, on which he was Creative Consultant, and was also script editor on the Beano radio series.

“The most fun I had was with ‘Meebo & Zuky’, the most over-the-top, violent story the Beano ever had. They even killed each other and went to Hell – but weren’t allowed in because they’d lower the tone of the place. Laura Howell provided some top class artwork for that story, which really made the absurd cartoon violence work so well.”

The Unofficial History of The Beano by Iain McLaughlin is available direct here from White Owl, current price £15.99

The Unofficial History of The Beano by Iain McLaughlin is available from AmazonUK here, current price £18.44

Iain McLaughlin is online at

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Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Books, Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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1 reply

  1. I know nothing of Ian McLaughlin, or the reason for his departure from the Beano after his second stint as editor, but reading between the lines, it looks like they didn’t part amicably. How else can you explain the total lack of illustrations in his book (not even for the cover) and the inclusion of the word “unofficial” in its title. It’s a crying shame because any book on the history of a comic, no matter how well researched and written, should include examples of its strips and characters and this will undoubtedly affect sales.

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