2018 seems to be an iconic year for Dundee. As the new flagship V&A museum prepares to opens its doors this September, another milestone is being marked across the city. The Beano, now the world’s longest running weekly comic, is celebrating its 80th birthday and this is being marked with a new exhibition at the city’s neo-gothic McManus Galleries – well worth a visit in their own right.
“Bash St’s Back at the McMenace” is a collaborative venture between the gallery and The Beano’s creators, Dundee publisher DC Thomson, which has raided its archive to turn one of the galleries into a treasure trove for fans of Dennis the Menace, Gnasher and the Bash St Kids.
The exhibition offers a fun and informative insight into the history and development of the publication and the cartoonists and masterminds behind the stories. These stories were often inspired by local playground antics observed from the windows of the DC Thomson offices. As well as many original art works, visitors can view a plethora of Beano memorabilia, from badges and figurines to t-shirts and even Doc Martin boots.
This is the story not only of The Beano but the development of the comic book as a medium and its influence on the city of its birth. Dundee is home to the only professor of comics worldwide and even has its very own Bash St. As media has modernised, The Beano has moved with the times and gone digital, now boasting an app and website as well as a print version.
For young and slightly not so young fans, this is a well-presented display that will both educate and entertain.