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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 23:50 GMT 00:50 UK
Beano celebrates 65th birthday
The Beano comic is celebrating its 65th birthday on Wednesday by reproducing its first issue.

Beano characters (image from DC Thomson)
The standard birthday edition is 65p
The scaled-down version of the twopenny comic, originally printed on 30 July 1938, is being sold at 5 a copy.

But some fans will still consider it a bargain - an original first issue sold for a record 7,500 last year.

The price includes a copy of the Whoopee Sheriff's mask given away with the original and a first-issue front-cover phone card.

Ten of the original's 28 pages were taken up by seven text-only stories, with no pictures.

Cover of the first Beano comic

But more pocket-money conscious readers need not miss out on the adventures of The Beano's pensionable cartoon characters.

Whoopee Hank, the slap-dash sheriff, will also grace the pages of the anniversary 65p weekly edition, along with some of Big Eggo the ostrich, Tin-Can Tommy, the clockwork boy, and Lord Marmaduke of Bunkerton - also known as Lord Snooty - and his Pals.

Ewan Kerr, who became the comic's third editor in 1984, said: "We may be entering the ranks of the grey brigade - but there is life in the old dog yet.

"The Beano is now as much a part of the British way of life as fish and chips and the Union Jack."

Roger the Dodger, image from DC Thomson
Kids love to get one over on adults - that's one of the main themes of the stories

The comic, published by Dundee-based DC Thompson, has appeared regularly for the past 65 years, but during World War II it appeared only on alternate weeks due to a newsprint shortage.

Big Eggo, drawn by Reg Carter, stayed on the front page until 24 January 1948, when he was ousted by newcomer Biffo The Bear.

Dennis The Menace, "The World's Wildest Boy", made his debut on 17 March 1951, but did not wear his familiar red and black striped jumper until May of the same year.

He soon became a firm favourite, accompanied by his scruffy black dog Gnasher.

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