Traditional comic book staple The Beano is undergoing one of its greatest metamorphoses in its history as the stalwart publication works with its cartoonists to redraw the children’s title for the digital age.
Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson is keen to ensure that the comic remains as relevant to readers in 2017 as it was when Dennis the Menace first ventured onto the page way back in 1938. To achieve this The Beano is now much more than a few fragile sheaths of paper, with the franchise branching out to include an app, website and CBBC CGI animation.
Product of Beano Studios these initiative are informed by a panel of 10 children have been recruited to give their views on playground trends, politics and even recent terror attacks - fidget spinners are out apparently but toy slime is in.
Helenor Gilmour, head of insight at Beano Studios, said: “Digital-first just doesn’t even begin to describe [today’s Beano readers]. They were born with swipey fingers.
“Kids’ media worlds are fast-paced and much more fragmented than before, so we have to keep up. The panel allows us to be on top of trends immediately.”
This diversification is born out of necessity with average circulation per issue falling to 34,778 last year, down from 74,419 in 2007, prompting a shift from comic strips alone to online games, listicles and videos.
The Beano will be hoping that these efforts are not made in vain unlike its stablemate The Dandy which ceased print publication in 2012 with online content following suit in 2013.