Category Archives: Minnie the Minx

Great News Inside!

Remember how whenever a comic would end it would always have ‘Great News Inside’ splashed across the cover, only to tell you the comic was ending that week? Well, sadly today marks my last day as a full time cartoonist. I’ll still be drawing and writing in my spare time, but just not as a career.

This last ten months has been a blast and I’ve been given the opportunity to do some amazing things and work with some amazing artists. A childhood dream came true when I was allowed to draw Minnie The Minx in the mini strips How To Train Your Parents and Breaking Dad, as well as writing for Nigel Parkinson’s Minnie in The Beano Summer Special.

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I was apprehensive when first asked to write both Little Plum and The Nibblers, as I wasn’t that familiar with the characters, but the inimitable Hunt Emerson (who draws both strips) is an amazing artist whose ability to take my stories to another level with his fantastic artwork has been both a jaw-dropping joy and a privilege to see. The talented swine!

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When I was offered the chance to write the iconic Gnasher & Gnipper I very nearly gnashed the Editor’s hand off, I’ve been writing most of the Gnasher strips for the past seven months for Beano legend Barrie Appleby. Seeing Barrie draw my scripts is like hearing The Beatles perform a song you’ve written.

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Other highlights include writing Bash Street Kids for the legendary Dave Sutherland, Bea for Nigel Parkinson, a Grinch parody for the infuriatingly talented Laura Howell, as well as drawing puzzles featuring my all time favourite characters: Calamity James, Billy Whizz, Les Pretend, and Pup Parade.

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I also got to bring back Gnasher’s kids, Dennis’ pet spider Dasher, Walter’s pet poodle Foo Foo, make more obscure references to films than you could possibly imagine, draw Alex Matthews’ Nuke Noodle clothes-lining zombies, kill Jedward and – amazingly – bring The Dandy back from the dead…

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Next year you’ll read some of my writing in both The Beano & The Dandy Annual, which is easily the career highlight of any Beano artist or writer, but If I had to pick a current highlight, this would be it: Hunt Emerson’s Little Plum in my script of ‘The Guffalo’.

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© DC THOMSON 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

So, as I return to a ‘real job’, I just want to say thank you to Craig, Mich, John & Mark at The Beano for all the work and help they’ve given me, to Steve Beckett, Wayne Thompson, Hunt Emerson and Lew Stringer for all their advice and support and to all the readers who’ve read my work over the past ten months.

And finally, to Sarah Trinder & Andy Fanton, without whom none of this would have happened.

See you in the funny pages and remember – everyone we know loves The Beano!

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Filed under Andy Fanton, Barrie Appleby, Bea, Billy Whizz, Calamity James, Comic Strips, Dave Sutherland, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Gnasher & Gnipper, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Lew Stringer, Little Plum, Madverts, Minnie the Minx, Pup Parade, Puzzle Pages, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The BeanoMax, The Dandy, The Gruffalo, The Nibblers, Zombies

Puzzles, panels and perilous tasks.

PHEW! It’s been a busy few months for me and The Beano! There’s a lot to get through here, so I’ll try and keep it brief!

Firstly, I’ve had 2 new mini strips start:

The latest is Animals Crossing, a daft strip revolving around the traditional “Knock, knock” joke.

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Clucking Hilarious: Animals Crossing runs for 6 weeks in The Beano.

Next up is How To Train Your Parents, which follows on from my Minnie The Minx strip ‘Breaking Dad’. This time the strip features Minnie showing you how to get your parents to do what you want and get your own way!

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Theme Park Larks: How To Train Your Parents runs for 6 weeks in The Beano.

There’s one more mini strip due soon, based around some pop-star punnery…

The last of my established-character based puzzles was printed a couple of weeks ago, featuring Jonah – the unluckiest sailor on the seven seas! In it, Jonah – oh no! It’s ‘im! – won a one way trip to an exotic tropical isle!

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A Whale Of A Time: Jonah sinks my puzzle pages with a tropical island tale.

Next up, the top brass at The Beano asked me to do a nice little puzzle page featuring lovely fluffy bunnies for Easter!

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Funny Bunnys: The header for my Radioactive Rabbit Rampage puzzle page.

There’s more daft puzzles on the way featuring yetis, Frankenstein, intergalactic imbeciles and a plethora of creatures from beyond the stars all coming soon!

Aside from all the doodling, I’ve also been busy writing Gnasher & Gnipper for artist Barrie Appleby, The Nibblers and Little Plum for Hunt Emerson and soon you’ll hopefully be seeing Dennis The Menace‘s fart-machine baby sister return to her own strip, Bea-ginnings! (I’m not sure who the artist is for that one).

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Gnoisless Gnasher: Gnasher lost his Gnash in Barrie Appleby’s Gnasher & Gnipper.

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Starstruck: Porky’s seeing stars in Hunt Emerson’s The Nibblers.

Still with me? Good. This year sees the return of The Beano Summer Special and we’ve all been busy beavering away to bring you a fun-packed, sun-packed treat. I was unexpectedly asked to write a couple of two page Minnie The Minx strips, which are to be drawn by the legendary Nigel Parkinson. Which is a bit like being asked to write a song for George Harrison, then having it recorded by all the Beatles. More on this another time.

I’m also unbelievably pleased to say I’ve been writing a couple of characters for both The Beano Annual and The Dandy Annual 2016. Yes, 2016! (The 2015 Annual hits the shops in a couple of months).

When I got the email asking if I would do it, I genuinely wrote back asking if they were joking! Writing for the Annuals really is a privilege and something I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life. It has to be the highlight of my career so far, even topping my full page strips in The Dandy, drawing Beryl The Peril for ‘Pass the Peril’ and drawing Calamity James and Minnie The Minx for The Beano. To be honest I still can’t believe it!

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Pass Out: The final part of the second Pass the Peril in 2011 on The Dandy’s Facebook page. Apologies for the shambolic shoddy lettering, I was just starting out and had yet to learn to write. Or draw!

I’m not sure why, but it’s traditional not to let on which characters you’re writing for, so I’ll keep schtum for now. All I will say is The Dandy character is easily my favourite DC Thomson character of all time…

Finally, back to The Beano weekly. I’ve just had my first four Little Plum scripts approved, which I really enjoyed writing. I’ll write a blog on them when they appear, but for now I’ll tease a bit more by saying one of the stories features my SECOND favourite DC Thomson character of all time, who, despite being a Beezer character, was regularly shoe-horned (or should that be horse shoe-horned?) into my Dandy strips…

The Beano is available every Wednesday priced £2 from all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s, The Co-Op and Winter Road News, Winter Road, Portsmouth.

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Filed under Barrie Appleby, Comic Strips, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Minnie the Minx, Puzzle Pages, The Beano, The Dandy

This week’s Beano is streets ahead!

It’s a bumper day for Beano fans, not only is there a brand new issue out, but Dundee Council have unveiled a street named after Beano Town’s most notorious avenue!

To celebrate 60 years of The Bash Street Kids, Dundee now has it’s very own Bash Street just a catapult shot away from the school which inspired the strip all those years ago. You can read more on the story HERE and see the Beano Ed and Bash Street Kids artist Dave Sutherland unveiling the street name HERE!

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This week’s issue is a fun packed as always, with the aforementioned Bash Street Kids giving their usual brand of silly sympathy when Teacher has a headache, Dennis The Menace takes on the internet trolls, Ball Boy takes to the air with the England squad, Minnie The Minx celebrates being given an extra page, Edd is fighting off the flu in The Numskulls, Calamity James has no idea when it comes to Ikea, you can’t teach an old Tripe Hound new tricks in Gnasher’s Tale, there’s a terrifying trip to the vet in Number 13, Wallace & Gromit are making a splash, Billy Whizz goes on a crash diet, Crow makes an over-ripe comeback in Bananaman, the writing is on the wall for Tricky Dicky, Chiefy’s got the chills in Little Plum, Dad is feeling sporty in Roger The Dodger and there’s more laughs with Grandpa, The Nibblers, Smudge, Karate Sid and Les Pretend!

Grab a menacing preview of this week’s issue HERE! There’s also a chance to win a radio controlled car by taking a survey about The Beano HERE!

This week also sees the debut of my second run of Minnie The Minx strips – How To Train Your Parents. This week, it’s how to get out of housework. Here’s a sneaky peeky, minus the text.

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All artwork is © DC Thomson 2014

The Beano issue 3723 is on sale now in all good newsagents, WH Smiths, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op and they’ve got a couple of extra copies in this week at Winter Road News, Winter Road, Portsmouth.

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Filed under Billy Whizz, Calamity James, Dave Sutherland, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The Nibblers

The Only Way is Beano,

This week’s Beano sees a brief return of a patented Stu Munro Multi-Puzzle (©SMunro 2014), with ‘The Only Way Is Bash Street, in which Joey Essex off The Only Way Is Essex is sent back to school for being daft and there’s only one school daft enough to take him.

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All artwork and characters are © DC Thomson

As usual I wrote Gnasher’s Bite, in which Dad has a fight on his hands when it’s time for Gnasher’s annual visit to the vet care of Barrie Appleby.

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All artwork and characters are © DC Thomson

Hunt Emerson’s take on The Nibblers sees Whiskers’ latest plan backfire when he accidentally floods the house – WATER disaster, eh readers?

Sorry.

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All artwork and characters are © DC Thomson

On the pages not ruined by my inclusion, Smudge is back by the hand of Alan Ryan, as is Number 13. The Dave Grohl Of Comics™ – Steve Beckett – sends Grandpa on a golfing crash course, Karate Sid‘s kung foolery leaves artist Paul Palmer reeling, Laura Howell’s Les Pretend is one card short of a full deck and her Tricky Dicky suffers a Dicky tum.

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Steve Beckett’s Grandpa tees up for fun.

Lew Stringer’s Rasher is a pig that likes to dig and his Doctor Flu has a money-making scheme that’s snot what it seems. Nigel Parkinson’s Minnie The Minx is minding her manners and Dennis The Menace is taking a page out his own book. There’s rhyme and reason in Alex Matthews’ double page Ball Boy, Wilbur Dawbarn’s Billy Whizz gives his teacher the run-around and Nigel Auchterlounie’s nutty Numbskulls solve the case of what’s going on in Sherlock Holmes’ noggin.

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Lew stringer’s Doctor Flu.

Dave Sutherland’s Bash Street Kids take a chill pill, Wayne Thompson sends help for heroes via helpless hero Bananaman, there’s featherbrained larks with Hunt Emerson’s redskin chum Little Plum and Jamie Smart has been watching too much Game Of Thrones in this week’s deranged Roger The Dodger.

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The Beano issue 3720 – OUT NOW!

The Beano is available in all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Co-Op and there’s only one copy left in the little newsagent up the road from me, so hurry up.

Also out today, the new issue of Dennis The Menace & Gnasher Megazine, which features an ace 32 page pull-out comic of me old chum Andy Fanton’s George Vs Dragon strips! Cor!

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My next puzzle won’t appear for a while – as I haven’t drawn it yet, but it will feature a beloved Beano sea-faring sailor from yesteryear…

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Filed under Alexander Matthews, Andy Fanton, Barrie Appleby, Billy Whizz, Comic Strips, Dave Sutherland, Dennis the Menace, George Vs Dragon, Gnasher, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Jamie Smart, Lew Stringer, Minnie the Minx, Puzzle Pages, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The Nibblers

60 Years Of Minnie The Minx.

Minnie the Minx is the third longest running Beano character, behind Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger. Minnie was initially created and drawn by the legendary Leo Baxendale (creator of The Bash Street Kids, Little Plum and The Three Bears). Minnie‘s first appearance in The Beano was issue 596, dated 19 December 1953. 

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Minnie shows some respect for her creator.

When Baxendale left The Beano in 1961, 28 year old art teacher Jim Petrie took over drawing duties on Minnie The Minx.

40 years later, on the 13th of January 2001, the final Jim Petrie Minnie The Minx strip was printed in The Beano. Jim had notched up exactly 2000 strips for Minnie between 1961 and 2001, the second highest single artist run for a strip behind Dave Sutherland’s Bash Street Kids, which he has drawn for over 100 years. Well, not quite, but I bet it seems that long to him.

In the final Petrie Minnie strip she meets up with the artist and bids a (sort of) fond farewell after minxing him. Jim himself can be seen assuring readers they’ll enjoy the “new artist”, Tom Paterson (of the insanely excellent Calamity James).

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Tom’s Minnie was a very different character, and went through quite a few changes. Her parents seemed to foster her out to Sweeney Toddler‘s parents for a while and she ditched her red striped jumper for a yellow one. She was going through that difficult phase that all 50 year old children do, the mid-life crisis.

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Tom’s gloriously gruesome take on Minnie The Minx.

Desperate Dan artist Ken Harrison took over the strip in 2008, reversing much of the changes and bringing the character back to her roots. The red jumper returned and with it came new writers and an invigorated strip much closer to the Jim Petrie era.

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In late 2012 Minnie was passed over to Nigel Parkinson, who draws it to this day (alongside his drawing duties on Dennis The Menace).

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Minnie celebrates her 60th birthday with her fellow Beano chums, care of Nigel Parkinson.

In late 2013 this run of excellent artists was finally put to an end when, on the eve of Minnie‘s 60th birthday, a terrible artist was given the chance to ruin the character for everyone.

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Drawing ‘Breaking Dad’, in which Minnie manages to injure her long suffering dad every week, was nothing but an unadulterated pleasure for me. Artists often talk about fulfilling childhood dreams, and working for The Dandy & The Beano has certainly been that for me – but drawing Minnie The Minx is the absolute high point. I honestly can’t think what could top it.

Unless they let me draw for the annual of course…

See Minnie The Minx in The Beano every Wednesday, available at all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsburys, Asda, The Co-Op and the little corner shop on Winter Road, Milton, Portsmouth (just up from The Shepherd’s Crook pub opposite Milton Park).

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Filed under Dennis the Menace, Jim Petrie, Leo Baxendale, Minnie the Minx, The Beano, The Dandy, Tom Paterson

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost: Part 1

As It’s Halloween it seems like the perfect time to talk about ‘ghosting’. Though it sounds like some sordid thing involving ghoulies, in the comics world it usually refers to drawing in the style of someone else. Something that can be very hard to get right now that so many artists have their own style.

Aside from a few character cameos in Justin Beaver, my first proper ghosting work was It’s A Blunderful Life in The Dandy, which featured the World’s unluckiest boy, The Beano‘s Calamity James. James is one of the hardest characters to draw as Tom Paterson‘s intricate style is, like Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid‘s before him, extremely hard to recreate naturally. I gave it a good go, but Paterson’s manic lucidity still somewhat eluded me. It’s very much a character in his style sitting in a puzzle in my style.

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It’s A Blunderful Life: Calamity James & Alexander Lemming braving a festive failure.

A month or so ago I had another attempt at drawing a Paterson style James puzzle, and got much closer this time by spending a very long time image sourcing and pouring over his work. I found a whole strip set in space, as was the puzzle, and copied and adapted images from it to suit the puzzle. I’m very proud of the final piece, but I wouldn’t do it again. In fact I ditched another Calamity James puzzle, ‘Wheel Of Misfortune’, shortly after because I couldn’t face it!

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Intergalactic Idiot: Calamity James gets lost in space.

Ghosting is extremely hard to get right, there are some fantastic artists out there who can ghost with such accuracy that you can hardly tell it’s their work, but sometimes (as in Jamie Smart’s Roger The Dodger) it is best to ignore the original art style and draw your own. Drawing in another artists style can inhibit what you can do with a character, unless you are willing to take liberties (I always draw The Bash Street Kids in Baseball boots, as I simply can’t draw shoes like Dave Sutherland). The problem with Calamity James is that the art is so recognisable and weird that if you were to draw the character in any other way it just wouldn’t be Calamity James.

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Bash Street Kid: Danny wearing baseball boots in Canteen of Carnage from The BeanoMAX.

I’ve been lucky enough to get to drawn most of The Beano‘s familiar characters in puzzles over the past year, everyone from from Dennis The Menace to Little Plum. I can’t tell you what a thrill it has been getting to draw all my favourite childhood characters and having to ghost so many of my favourite artists. Some I found easier than others though, Dave Sutherland’s Bash Street Kids are fairly easy because you have 50 years of reference material to look at. Barrie Appleby’s Roger The Dodger was the hardest for me, due to his complicated shirt and hair.

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Beano Brawl: The Bash Street Kids, Calamity James, Billy Whizz, Minnie The Minx & Roger The Dodger take part in The Great Beano Pancake Bake Off from The BeanoMAX.

Ghosting is very much a skill, something I picked up from learning to draw by copying Jim Davis’ Garfield and later less successfully Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes. That’s essentially all it is. Copying. You can see clearly see both artist’s influences in this strip, A Bear Behind, from The Dandy.

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A Bear Behind: Background by Watterson, foreground by Davis.

Sadly I didn’t get to draw any of the big characters for The Dandy, aside from a few cameo appearances and repeated sightings of Phil Corbett’s Korky The Cat, which I’ll blog about another day. So when The Dandy ended and they asked me to do two strips for the final issue: Auntie Clockwise (originally by Wayne Thompson, who draws Bananaman for The Beano) and Hamish the Haggis Basher (originally a one-off strip by Tom Paterson) I thought was the last time I’d ever have the chance to draw Dandy characters.

Little did I know I’d be bringing back Desperate Dan just 10 months later…

Always keep a Dandy handy!

Always keep a Dandy handy!

The Halloween issue of The Beano is on sale from Wednesday 23rd October in WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s, Asda and all good newsagents, priced £2.

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Filed under A Bear Behind, Billy Whizz, Calamity James, Calvin & Hobbes, Comic Strips, Dave Sutherland, Dennis the Menace, Garfield, Ghosting, Halloween, Jamie Smart, Ken Reid, Leo Baxendale, Minnie the Minx, Puzzle Pages, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano, The BeanoMax, The Dandy, Tom Paterson