On the 10th April this year I received possibly the most excited email I’ve had in years, straight from Wayne Thompson’s drawing board.
Here it is:
That’s right – the artwork for my very first Bananaman script.
Seriously, you have no idea how happy this made me. I have been a Bananaman fan since I first picked up Nutty issue 3 back in 1980, back when Eric was bald, had the smelliest feet in Nuttytown, and Bananabonce wore a slightly different costume. In fact, I still read and giggle at issues of Nutty to this day. Here’s the one that’s on my desk right now:
Back then, Bananaman was drawn by one of my comic heroes, the amazing John Geering. Perhaps best known for drawing Bananaman for Nutty and the Dandy, artist Geering used to regularly drive five hours from Manchester to Dundee just to spend an hour or two in the Beano office before making the long drive home. I’m told he usually came bearing gifts of black pudding – sometimes even drawing the stuff into his strips.
He was also the genius behind one of my other favourite Beano strips from the 80s – Smudge.
From this week’s strip, Wayne has changed his Bananaman style to reflect Geering’s original art, but still with that little Thompson twinkle. It’s a wonderful tribute to Mr Geering and brings with it so many memories. From what I can tell from my own personal focus group (OK, my eldest daughter and her mates) it’s gone down really well in the playground too. Here’s the first few panels:
And, as you can see, a few other Beano characters make cameos in the story which sees the citizens of Beanotown struck down by a host of embarrassing illnesses.
Elsewhere in the issue, I’m working with Wayne again on Roger. But wait, has everyone’s favourite Dodger become… a teacher!?
What will Rog do when he discovers exactly which menaces he has to teach? Find out in this week’s Beano!