Friday, February 28, 2014

Roll the credits!


Fifty years ago it would be unimaginable that The Beano would credit the people who produce the strips. Back then, DC Thomson had a strict policy of not allowing artists to sign their work, and writers were completely anonymous. There had been a few exceptions. In recognition of Dudley D. Watkins being their greatest asset they had allowed him to sign his pages for a few years, and Allan Morley was able to initial his strips, but on the whole such things were forbidden. 

It wasn't just DC Thomson. Their rivals Amalamated Press were just as reticent, with Roy Wilson being one of the few granted permission to sign their work. Even in the 1960s and 70s, Fleetway and IPC usually had their 'bodgers' (the nickname for art assistants) white out any signatures the artists tried to sneak in. (Curiously the practise was different at Odhams, with artists seemingly able to sign pages if they wished to. - Which is an easy way for collectors to now determine which pages Leo Baxendale drew for them for example. - Also Hulton of course published credits in the Eagle.)

Things started to change more significantly in the late seventies (perhaps influenced somewhat by Countdown and 2000AD running credits, and also by new editors coming into the industry). Signatures started appearing on strips and by the 1980s it was common practise at IPC, with even the mighty DC Thomson allowing it as well. IPC even started crediting scriptwriters and letterers too! (And rightly so. We wouldn't have a comic strip without 'em!)

However, writers were still often anonymous in the humour comics, (although IPC's Oink! was an exception, as was Scouse Mouse). Pleasingly, this week's Beano has made the welcome move of running a contents page with full credits to the artists and writers. The staff are also given credit. Let's hope this new policy continues! 

(There's no work by me in this issue as it was replaced by an advert, but they have a stack of Rasher strips in stock so hopefully it'll return soon.)

As you can see from the list of contents there's a lot packed into this issue, including Dennis the Menace dealing with an Internet troll! Script by Nigel Auchterlounie, art by Nigel Parkinson. Good work, lads!


Copyright © DC Thomson & Co. Ltd.

The story is exaggerated for a better visual effect of course. If it was realistic it'd just be three pages of someone tapping angrily on a keyboard 24/7, but in these sad times of Internet bullying it has a nice positive message to convey to the readers. 


Copyright © DC Thomson & Co. Ltd

The Beano is out now, priced £2. 


Cover by Nigel Parkinson.

4 comments:

Burke's Law said...

Roll the credits? Let's hope no one TROLLS the credits, eh, readers? Snigger! Well done to the Nigels.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Kev F's doing Bananaman now? This warrants further investigation!

James Spiring said...

TwoHeadedBoy, Kev F has been doing Bananaman for a few months now, and is actually credited in the header of Bananaman.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

I haven't bought the Beano since that birthday issue last year (which I'm not sure on the whereabouts of right now) - the presence of Kev F anywhere's usually enough incentive for me to be interested in something.

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