The History of The Beano Book

The History of The Beano Book

Over the years The Beano Book has adapted with the times whilst still retaining the core of what makes it so popular. This timeline of Beano across the decades demonstrates how The Beano has changed over the years:

1939 and the 40’s

The Beano Book was first produced by publishers DC Thomson for Christmas 1939. It was a large, 136 paged, hard covered version of their incredibly popular weekly Beano comic. From 1943 until 1950 The Beano titled its annual, The Magic-Beano Book, after it merged with The Magic comic that had ceased publication due to war time paper shortages. During the forties the Beano Books were filled with the marvellous art of DC Thomson’s lead artist Dudley D Watkins.

The 50’s and 60’s

The Beano Books started off the fifties with a new cover star- Biffo the Bear – who had deposed Big Eggo on the cover of the weekly comic. They ended the decade showing another rising star – none other than Dennis the Menace.

The 70’s and 80’s

By the seventies Dennis the Menace was the most popular character in The Beano and his pranks were appearing more and more on The Beano Book covers. The eighties was the graveyard shift for many weekly comic titles, even sales of Britain’s favourite weekly, The Beano dipped. However, the opposite was the case with the Beano Book – sales were on the increase. The highest selling Beano Book to date was the 1984.

The 90’s, 00’s and today

Dennis the Menace’s pranks provided great cover material for the Beano Book. By this time Dennis and Gnasher were also TV stars with a cartoon series of their own.75 years of Beano Books later and the title is still a top selling Christmas gift. Though The Beano Book has always been on trend to give fans laughs each year, it has also stayed true to the fun and pranks ethos that was established back in the very beginning.

This year’s Annual features London’s iconic St Pancras railway station where you can see all the Beano Book covers from 1939 plus some rare artwork until the 4th January.

Is there a particular Beano character that you remember from your childhood? Let us know in the comments box below.

This year’s Beano annual is available to buy online here.