The Beano was born on the 30th of July 1938 a very different creature to what it is now. For one thing it was not entirely based on comic strips, it also had stories told with pictures with text beneath explaining what was going on, and stories told only with text. It also lacked many of the characters that are synonymous with it now, Dennis, Rodger and Minnie only arriving in the golden years of the 1950's.
A few months before The Beano came its sister paper, The Dandy, and a year after another sister, The Magic comic. Due to the war however, only two of these were to survive. The war meant that comics had to use less pages, by printed in lesser numbers and less often. This meant that the Beano and Dandy were made smaller, only availale to those who pre ordered them, and were only printed on alternate weeks. They provided a vital service in the war, warning children to leave alone things like mines on beaches and printing stories to outline the difference between Nazi's and normal Germans and so teaching chldren not to demonize people based on nationality. They also pictured the enemy leaders as Bungling fools, such as in The Beano strip, Musso the Wop and in the many times that Lord Snooty and pals went to give the Fuhrer a paice of their mind.
The 1950's is thought to be the golden age of The Beano as so many of the most popular and long running characters were created then, such as Dennid the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Rodger the Dodger and the charaters that would eventually become known as The Bash Street Kids.
Articles about a selection of characters are due to follow. But until then, the best way to learn about The Beano is to go to a newsagents and come out with 65p less than you went in.
For a more detaled history, visit www.beanotown.com or look at The Beano's entry at www.comicsuk.co.uk