30th July 1938

DC Thomson publishes first issue of The Beano

The Beano, published by Dundee-based DC Thomson has introduced generations of British children to some of the best-known characters ever drawn in a comic strip. These include Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher, The Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, and Roger the Dodger.

In the early 1950s, The Beano was selling close to two million copies of every issue, and, for a long time, it was published alongside The Dandy, which achieved similar popularity.

Comic evolution

The comic has changed greatly over the years to ensure it has remained relevant to changing reader tastes, and several strips have appeared and disappeared during that time. However, Dennis the Menace and Gnasher have had remarkable staying power and Dennis has remained a fixture of the comic since his introduction in issue 452, in March 1951.

In 2011, celebrating Dennis the Menace’s 60th anniversary, the BBC revealed that “The ‘world’s naughtiest boy’ was born in 1951 on the back of a cigarette packet. Within a short time he’d stolen a red and black jumper, revitalised the Beano and inspired a new wave of comic strip kids to shake up post-war, austerity Britain.” He had come into being when the comic’s editor “heard a music hall song with the chorus ‘I’m Dennis the Menace from Venice’ and ordered a character to fit the name.”

Dennis and Gnasher

Dennis’ pet dog, Gnasher, first appeared in 1968, in a strip that saw Dennis find the scruffy pup on the street and enter him into a dog show.

Spin-offs have seen the launch of companion Beano titles, books, television programmes and even, for a while, a Beanoland area at Chessington World of Adventures. The word ‘beano’ itself is defined as a noisy celebration, which seems rather apt for a children’s comic.



Other events that occured in July

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