Friday, 20 February 2009
Life Lessons We Can Take From Comic Book Characters In "The Beano"
The Beano was and is a very popular comic for children, and most people in Britain as they’ve grown up have picked up a copy at one point in time. In our crazy, backwards and heroic country, it’s even more popular than internet porn or Rachel Stevens. The characters in the comic were madcap and filled with life, ranging from Dennis The Menace’s black hair and stripy shirts prophesising mayhem to Ivy The Terrible’s rampage-fuelled toddler nightmares. From page to page, there was more anarchy compiled in a weekly Beano than in anything Johnny Rotten has ever done (although of course he is incredibly corporate and a massive sell-out so this means little) yet for every laugh gained from seeing someone annoying getting hit with a custard pie, there was a moment which taught us vital lessons about how to live. It’s fair to say that The Beano has taught British children how to behave for the past fifty-odd years, with no signs of stopping.
At Wilftonville, we see everything as an opportunity to write a list-based article. It’s our bread-and-butter, with the crusts cut off because nobody likes the crusts so why do they even exist mysteries never cease. With this, we decided that there would be no finer way to spend our time than to read through a backlog of Beano issues in order to pick out one specific life lesson we learned from each separate strip contained within. The results are highly shocking, unless you already predicted what we were going to say. In that case, you should head straight to the comments section and hurl insults.
Roger The Dodger
Roger spends all of his life trying to avoid doing his chores. To try and get out of having a bath or walking the dog, he tends to devise incredibly intricate ‘wheezes’ which he weaves around everyone in the vicinity, drawing them into a complex web of lies which leaves everyone feeling used and dirty at the end. Typically, Roger will get away with his wheezes, although sometimes he catches himself out and has to suffer the consequences. In a very real sense, Roger’s constant attempts to distance himself from work echo that of the politicians in charge of the country. There are incredible problems with the World right now, but all the public ever seems to get are different cries of helplessness from the people we put in charge of our society. It’s a darn shame. However, Roger also has a charming streak in him, and is a personal favourite character. If you read Roger’s adventures and want to understand better how to live your life, you’ll find everything you need right in front of you. He is a proactive person.
Moral: You Make Your Own Luck
Minnie The Minx
Minnie wins most of the time, as well. A pug-faced ginger cow who screams and argues all the time, she is meant to be seen as the female equivalent of Dennis The Menace but comes across to the reader as awful. Just awful. She stamps her feet and asks horribly to everyone, and quite often she gets away with it.
Moral: There Are No Ramifications For Being A Bitch
The comic strip most kids would try to skip, if they could. Calamity James was probably one of the most detailed and tightly-jokepacked strips in the Beano, but at the same time it was filled with really horrible things. Snot and vomit and everything creeped into most panels, as the main character suffered an increasingly nasty series of mishaps. He’s get beaten up, hurt himself, get into awkward situations and generally have a nasty time all the time. Reading the comic required a strong stomach and a powerful disposition towards the eternal bitch slap that is delivered by the hand of fate. There was never an escape from the pain for James. Every week brought forth fresh horrors for him, which he could never escape. It was a horrible thing to have to read every week, but I think it’s made the nation a lot stronger in character. Also, it genuinely was very funny.
Moral: Life Is Tough And Fate Is Unavoidable
Billy The Whizz
This moral wasn’t very obvious to the casual reader, but if you tend to be the sort of person who likes to research anything before they read it, you’ll have noted what links Billy Whizz to the dark side of the law. Yeah, his surname. The character was famous for being able to run at extreme speeds across the country, which would often cause problems for his family which he’d then have to try and fix. It also made it exceptionally hard for his poor parents to make him have a bath (not washing is a recurring theme in the Beano). But how did he get this power? It certainly wasn’t through a fitness regime of any kind.
Turn then, to his name. Billy Whizz. Whizz. Whizz is the slang term for amphetamines, a drug also known as speed. Oh, well then, I suppose you can see now why Billy Whizz is a bad influence on the children, eh? Of course it isn’t Wilftonville’s place to judge people who do drugs – that’s what Odin is for. But Billy Whizz was totally doing drugs for the whole time he appeared in the Beano, and he wasn’t even repentant, and there wasn’t ever a single panel where he suffered from extreme cramping or muscle spasm. As such, it can only be concluded that drugs are full of win.
Moral: Drug Up
The Bash Street Kids
One of the Bash Street Kids wears a pair of glasses. If he takes off the glasses, he is blind.
Another of the Kids is fat. He likes to eat. He eats all the time, and can’t be stopped.
Wilfred wears a jumper which covers his mouth, and is quite short. As a result, he never talks.
Moral: Judge A Person Upon Their Appearance
Ivy The Terrible
We hear that Ivy doesn’t have her own page anymore, but instead shares one with Dennis The Menace’s sister, Bea. That’s not much of a shame, because nobody ever really cared much about her anyway. Oooh! Controversy! Ivy is a toddler who drives her dad absolutely round the bend with her antics, which we recall usually amounted to her smashing everything. Why would she do this? Is it because she is a toddler? No! She’s actually about as intelligent as any of the other, older characters you’ll find in the Beano. She only smashes because she wants. And when she gets what she wants, she is happy. Quickly it dawned on a generation of children that causing excess damage to property was the best way to get them a Happy Meal for tea.
Moral: Work For What You Want
Dennis The Menace
The main character in The Beano was Dennis The Menace. He lives up to his name, declaring war on the police and the postman (a somewhat unfair move, but still) as well as his schoolteacher and parents. Nobody is safe from his ways, but nobody is less safe than his homosexual neighbour Walter The Softie. Walter organises picnics for his friends, who are called names like Dudley Nightshirt, Jeremy Snodgrass, Softy Matthew, and likes flowers and being friends with girls. Dennis rebels against all of this, and attacks Walter with a vengeance only usually seen when Mel Gibson is denied a drink at the local Jewish pub. The clean, well-dressed Walter is shown no mercy.
Moral: Beat Up Homosexuals