It’s no secret that Nuke Noodle, Alex Matthews‘ time travelling wrestler, was and is my favourite Dandy character.
For me Nuke was the funniest and most consistently inventive strip in The Dandy and clothes-lined his way into my top ten favourite cartoon characters over the course of his brief year in print. Nuke traveled through time, space, literature and even The Beezer, smashing and bashing through every strip with a bizarrely hilarious lack of interest in following the rules of narrative and any making any semblance of sense at all – I could easily fill the entire internet with nothing but love for this crazy strip, (and when I run out of stuff to write about in about a month or so, I probably will).
Nuked: The Twitter icon I used for my short-lived Nuke Noodle Twitter account, which was just quotes from the comic. It ran for 4 months. I closed it on New Years Day 2013.
I had managed to crowbar Nuke in to the final strip of Barbarian Librarian in which the titular librarian had been fired for using excessive violence to administer library fines, I really drew it just so I could say I’d drawn him in The Dandy and to hopefully springboard a conversation with Alex about the character. I’m still just a fanboy at heart.
Final & Dandy: The final Librarian Babarian strip, which features Nuke Noodle as his replacement.
I was pleased to be able to legitimately sneak him in to Auntie Clockwise in the last Dandy alongside Bill & Ted, The Beano’s Tim Traveller, Doctor Who and Doc & Marty from the film Back To The Future!
Auntie Social Behavior: Auntie Clockwise gets lost in the circuits of time in the last ever print copy of The Dandy.
I’m not sure how another artist feels when he sees his characters drawn by someone else, having never experienced it myself, but Alex seemed to like it. When I asked Phil Corbett what he thought of my inclusion of his Korky in a Beano puzzle he told me he loved me. So I guess he was pleased/sick of me pestering him.
I drew Nuke because, like Korky, I liked the character and I enjoy drawing in the artist’s style. Sometimes working for The Beano just feels like getting paid to produce fan art, but when you’re ‘borrowing’ other peoples characters it often feels like sneaking into their house while they’re sleeping and using all their stuff.
Which I also do regularly.
Jamie Smart has a very nice dog. Andrew Fanton needs to run a hoover round once in a while. Nigel Parkinson is out of milk.
Anyhoo, a few weeks ago I was working on a daft Halloween puzzle called ‘Wrestlers Vs Zombies’ and I just couldn’t make it work. The wrestlers all looked like superheros and it just wasn’t very funny. I keep the Nuke Noodle anthology from Dennis The Menace Megazine by my desk, so I started to thumb trough it for wrestler-based inspiration. I ended up reading it cover to cover!
Slamthology: The cover of Alex Mathews’ Nuke Noodle anthology from Dennis The Menace Megazine.
Then it hit me, just because he’s a Dandy character, doesn’t mean he can’t appear in The Beano! After all, Bananaman started life in Nutty, moved to The Dandy and now he’s in The Beano! So I got to bring back Nuke, alongside a couple of other brain-bashing Beano characters, for one last round in the ring…
That, I thought, was definitely the last time I’d get a chance to draw a Dandy character, aside from occasionally sneaking a very lost Korky The Cat in to the odd puzzle page…
So I was surprised to learn that I’d be using my ghosting skills to bring 7 more of the most popular Dandy characters “back from the dead” in a one off appearance rather fittingly in the Halloween issue of The Beano…
Always keep a Dandy handy!
The Halloween issue of The Beano is on sale today, Wednesday 23rd October, in WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s, Asda and all good newsagents, priced £2. The Wrestlers Vs Zombies puzzle will be in a future issue.