Roger the Dodger still chortling at the Beano

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Do you remember the Beano comic? It was a favourite for many of us in our young days and it is still being published although I haven’t seen it in any of the local shops – or maybe I haven’t been looking in the right places.

As we were sitting in the Wetherby Social Club having a pint; a friend was telling me about the impression it had made upon him. He really respected the quality and humour of the Beano until the age of 28 when he switched his allegiance and started reading the Daily Mail.

Thinking about it, there can’t be many adults who don’t vividly remember Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, the Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger and all those other characters. They were cleanly drawn and brightly coloured and the comic was of outstanding quality. The humour was always inoffensive with lots of jokes, pranks and puns. Over 70 or 80 years it has been one of Britain’s best-loved comics. Many comics have come and gone but the Beano with its crisp and clear artwork is the one which most of us remember.

That conversation with Andy brought back all sorts of memories. At school I was inevitably called Roger the Dodger and even today I still get called that by some of the old codgers of the Old Men’s Parliament who must have spent their childhood days reading the same comics – and no doubt having them confiscated by the teacher who would probably take the opportunity to surreptitiously read them when nobody was looking.

The old magic was still there when I spent a week working in Dundee some 30 years ago and was impressed to be introduced to the editor of the Beano by John Thomson, a friend with whom I was staying. It was in a pub in Broughty Ferry – and before you ask, John isn’t related to the D C Thomson & Co who is the publishers of the Beano. I think I’d wondered about trying to scrounge a free copy of the Beano from him but the opportunity didn’t arise and he’d have been unlikely to be carrying one around in his pocket when out for a sociable drink.

After arriving home I was curious enough to look the Beano up on the internet. I didn’t bother wading through the three and a half million references to it but just looked at the website of the comic which still seems to contain the same style of humour. “Your Pal, The Editor” is excited about a new App to allow fans to download the comic to their computer, iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. He says “This is app-solutely fantastic! We’re all very app-y! Sorry, that’s app-alling!”

That and some of the other jokes really did make me chortle.