Before Star Wars, Harry Potter and even Jurassic Park, there was Beano!The first Beano comic was published in July 1938, and it was such a hit that it was quickly followed by the Beano Annual for 1940.
The first Beano cover star was an ostrich called Big Eggo. Big Eggo had to look after his precious egg, which was always in danger of being stolen by crafty crocodiles, wily lions or hopeless humans!Pansy Potter, the Strongman’s Daughter and Lord Snooty were other early Beano superstars.
The1942 World Cup was cancelled, due to World War Two, but Beano carried on regardless, every issue poking fun at Hitler and his allies.Paper shortages meant some comics had to stop printing, but Beano was so popular that the government let it carry on to keep people’s spirits up.
Other comics weren’t so lucky, and one of those was Magic, Beano’s sister comic. The stars of Magic didn’t disappear straight away. They popped up in the Beano Annual for 1943, which was renamed The Magic-Beano Book. Two for the price of one!
By the end of the war, Beano was only ten pages long, and came out every fortnight instead of every week.
The war ended in 1945, but shortages continued. Magic would never be relaunched as a weekly comic, but the name lived on in the annuals for a few years.
If you know someone born in 1946, then this is their birthday Beano Annual…
The characters on the cover of the Beano Annual for 1947 won’t be too familiar to today’s Beano fans. Most of their heroes would come along later…
Here’s the Beano Annual for 1948…
In the Beano Annual for 1949, a new star made his first appearance on the cover – his name was Biffo the Bear, and he would stay on the cover of Beano for the next 26 years!
If you want to see more Beano Annuals from the last 80 years, you’re in luck! Check out the rest of the series…