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Fact File


'AGH! IT'S 'IM!' This was the cry that made brave sailors quiver in terror, reduced tough old seadogs to blubber, and made nervous wrecks out of even the most courageous of captains... and that wasn't the only kind of wreck that was guaranteed whenever there was a sighting of 'IM!

Jonah4'Im, or rather 'e, was Jonah, and, like his namesake in the Old Testament who was swallowed by a whale, this Jonah didn't have much luck at sea. Like a watery version of current Beano fall guy Calamity James, Jonah was a floating disaster area. Any ship that was unlucky enough to take him onboard - often those daft enough to rescue him from the wreckage of his previous boat - would soon find itself sunk.

Jonah 1He may not have been popular with his crewmates, but Jonah's nutty nautical mishaps were a great favourite with Beano readers in the late 50s and early 60s. Each episode was packed full of Goon-ish humour - 'The Goon Show' was still running riot on the radio when Jonah first set sail - and madcap incidents as Jonah's bad luck took hold of whichever vessel he was on.

Jonah3The writer would often pass his densely packed scripts around The Beano office, getting the rest of the staff to pitch in to ensure no gag was missed. These 12 frame scripts would then be passed on to artist Ken Reid, who would transform them into busy pages - often those 12 frames would have grown to more than 30 after Ken had worked out the best way to wring the maximum comedy from them.

Jonah6Jonah last set sail in the pages of The Beano in 1963, but while the sea-goon was gone, he wasn't forgotten. His little sister, an equally disaster prone schoolgirl by the well-chosen name Jinx, had her own Beano strip in 1963 and 64, again drawn by Ken Reid. Jonah himself resurfaced in the pages of 'Buddy' in the early 1980s, before jumping ship to The Beano's arch rival, The Dandy, in 1993, in a new series of sea-faring misadventures drawn by Keith Robson.

For now, the seas are safe, but there's always the chance that once again the oceans will ring to the cry of, 'AGH! It's 'IM!'


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