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Sunday, 18 December 2011
THE CHRISTMAS BEANO - A REVIEW...
Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd
A nicely coloured and atmospheric wrap-around cover by STEVE BRIGHT adorns this year's CHRISTMAS BEANO. It's not actually referred to by that Festive appellation though, the only name in evidence being that of the comic. At least they've given the logo a touch of snow, which is nice to see. Bright is a well-respected artist (and deservedly so), but a few of the characters on the back cover look as if they're running around in a miniature village on account of being out of proportion to the background. A minor quibble perhaps, but it's slightly jarring to notice such an obvious discrepancy in perspective from an artist of Bright's calibre. If he was responsible, that is, as some of the characters may have been added by other hands at a later stage in production.
That apart, it's hard to find fault with The Beano (ignoring such "filler" material as a contents page and other "padding"). It's nicely drawn throughout, with consistently rendered, legible lettering - and clear, easy-on-the-eye storytelling which puts its companion paper, The DANDY, to shame. As The Beano outsells its sister title by about five to one (at the last count), you'd think the struggling Dandy would follow The Beano's template in an attempt to emulate its success (comparatively speaking) - seems like the obvious way to go. But no - The Dandy continues to trudge its path to potential oblivion by ignoring the solid storytelling principles epitomised by The Beano. (Relax - D.C. THOMSON won't allow The Dandy to die - yet. However, it's possible it could still expire in spite of DCT's efforts to save it, as there would simply be little point in keeping it going if sales eventually fall below a certain level.)
Good as The Beano is, however, it's extremely telling that one of the best strips in it (in my humble opinion) is the above reprint of a DAVEY LAW-drawn DENNIS The MENACE tale from (by the looks of it) the 1950s.
The comic is ridiculously over-priced at £3.99, on account of being burdened with a pile of plastic poo that surely nobody in their right mind would see as anything worth having, but if you have £4 to spare, you could possibly spend your money on a lot worse. (The Dandy Christmas Special for example.) It would be far better though, if it were priced at around the £1.99 mark.