The idea for this week’s Roger the Dodger came about from the strip’s wonderful artist, Wayne Thompson. Could Billy Whizz, the fastest boy in the world, make a guest appearance? It got me thinking – how could Billy and Roger team up? Would Billy come to Roger with a problem he needed dodging out of? Or – more likely – would Roger use Billy in one of his own schemes instead?
To celebrate Billy’s guest appearance, here are 10 things that you may or may not know about Billy Whizz.
1. When the character was invented potential names included Speed Boy and Flash Harry.
2. The Beano ed at the time thought Billy would run out of steam after just a year – but he’s still going strong some 50 years later.
3. Beano artist Mal Judge originally designed Billy and his crazy hair, and would go on to draw his speedy adventures for a quarter of a century.
4. If Billy grew his hair, it would apparently be blonde!
5. And why does Billy (and his dad and brother) have that funny antenna hair-style? Well, according to the 1970 Beano Book it was because every time dad took them to the barbers, Billy caused so much trouble that they were chucked out before their hair cut was finished!
6. Billy can run so fast, he doesn’t get wet when it rains. The BBC online magazine once tried to work out if this was scientifically possible!
7. Like a lot of Beano dads over the years, Billy’s father once had a bit of a make-over. 2009 saw new artist Nick Brennan making Mr Whizz more than a little chubby – and his famous moustache was gone. However, three years later, the original slim-line Dad was back, complete with face fuzz.
8. Billy has a female cousin called Billie who is almost as fast as he is.
9. In his first strip he also had a pet – the slowest tortoise in town.
10. And where was that town? In early strips, Billy lived in Whizztown although these days the Whizz family live in Beanotown along with the rest of the Beano stars. In fact, they live next door to the Beanotown United stadium.
(All images on this page copyright DC Thompson)