Friday, August 02, 2019

The first PUP PARADE (1967)

The Bash Street Dogs have been semi-regular characters in the Beano for a long time now but their genesis was gradual. As far as I can discover (and also going by memory) they first appeared, as you might expect, in The Bash Street Kids strip. The earliest example I have is this episode by Gordon Bell from The Beano No.1282, dated 11th February 1967... although they already seem established at this point so it's possible they first appeared a week or two earlier? 
However, their first solo strip was this one-off Dogs' Tale strip for The Beano Summer Special 1967. As Summer Specials are completed months before release, this strip (drawn by Dave Sutherland) would have been drawn late in 1966... around the same time of their appearance in The Bash Street Kids strip I showed above.

If memory serves me right, The Bash Street Dogs turned up a few times during 1967 in the Kids' strip, and were clearly popular with the young readers. Finally, they were awarded their very own strip in The Beano No.1326, dated December 16th 1967. The new series was called Pup Parade and was drawn by Gordon Bell...
As you can see, the Pups looked a bit different to begin with. Less "cute" and a little more aggressive perhaps. It's often the case that new characters take a while to find their "look" as the artists settle into drawing them. The dogs didn't even have names at this point, and Bones was lacking his distinctive cap (as well as being far bulkier than he would be later). 

A week later, in the Christmas issue (No.1327) of The Beano for 1967, we can see some refinements were already happening. The dogs look more affable and Bones has gained his red cap. They'd also gained the dustbin that serves as the place they hang out...
A few weeks further on, and they introduce themselves to us with their names. (Beano No.1330, January 13th 1968.) Their proportions have changed, and they're now drawn the way we remember them; shorter and friendlier looking...

...and that's pretty much how they've remained since. I'm sure Pup Parade proved to be a great success because it ran for quite a while in the Beano and has returned numerous times over the past 52 years. The late Gordon Bell was a superb cartoonist who gave the pups their personalities and established them as firm favourites. 

As the current artist on Pup Parade I consider it an honour to be commissioned to write and draw these great characters for the Beano. I've just started work on my third series and I'm pleased to say that Pup Parade will be back in the Beano from issue No.4001, on sale 4th September 2019. This time it'll only be a mini-strip of 3 or 4 panels, so the focus will mainly be on one or two pups rather than all nine of them every week. All the dogs will appear in the first new episode though as you can see from the clip below! Check it out in September! 




4 comments:

Peter Gray said...

Great you are back in The Beano and nice seeing the changes Gordon made along the way...loved Pup Parade has a kid and glad they are back with you holding the pen...Rasher should also come back too ;)

Lew Stringer said...

I don't think there's any chance of Rasher returning unfortunately but I'm happy to be back doing Pup Parade. Thanks Peter!

Manic Man said...

problem with comics like the Beano, is they are English.. and research and references on English comics are much rarer then Japanese, American or European.. I don't even think D.C. Thompson even ever kept much of an archive of issues so the chance of finding the very first appearance of the pups is tricky and you need to find people with copys of the issues.. which are mostly only rich collectors who aren't that keen on helping researchers for some reason.. some are but you need to spend a lot of time tracking them down..

Lew Stringer said...

I understand that Thomsons have copies of everything they've published. You might be thinking of Egmont, whose comics are now owned by Rebellion, that have a patchy archive.

It's not that tricky. Anyone with a run of 1967 issues would know. They're not that expensive to buy as back issues. If someone supplies me with the info I'll add it.

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