Monday, 27 June 2011

Beryl the Peril (Retro British comic character)

I remember my sister bringing this annual home one evening from our school jumble sale. It would have been in 1971 and I assume a kid had read it and gave it over as the jumble. How could he or she? This was gold dust - kiddie treasure.

I loved the Beano and the Dandy - I read them religiously every week. Retro British comics were and still are fabulous - they take me back to my childhood and many happy occasions when I would get lost in the little worlds of our comic characters.

I knew of Beryl the Peril and the Topper, but I did not read them much because I preferred the Beano and Dandy at the time. However, upon reading the above annual, I became an avid Beryl the Peril fan. She was a female version of the Beano's Dennis the Menace and both characters were created by David Law.

My sister and I would often argue over who should read the book because we always seemed to want it at the same time. It never occurred to us to read it together.

The above Beryl the Peril annual 1971 was a collection of weekly comic strips put into one annual. This was popular during Christmas and all the regular weekly comics would have annuals. The strips would be taken from stories going back to the 1950s and 1960s. As with Beryl the Peril, some characters were popular enough to warrant a whole annual dedicated to them. 

Devious Beryl the Peril
They were great fun and Beryl was a devious and scheming tomboy character that was always getting up to mischief. Sometimes she would get her comeuppance (Usually being spanked by Dad) and sometimes she would win. Much of the stories from yesterday would be politically incorrect today. 


we later acquired this annual too.

These comics helped me with my reading development as a kid though I often remember my mother saying that she thought they spelt words wrong. Especially words like; "It's not fair," being spelt comic version with Beryl saying "Snot fair." This was in order to sound like a grotty little kid in the school playground. Of course, there were other examples like this, but we were kids and these mistakes were pointed out when we made them. These characters encouraged kids to read because we wanted to escape into these comical worlds.


Beryl was always at odds with her old fashion moralistic Father

They were smashing times with great memories. Sadly these comics are not as popular nowadays, though the Beano and Dandy are still going. The cartoonists have changed and the stories toned down too. Beryl the Peril moved from the Topper comic to the Dandy when Topper and Beezer folded. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s we thought it would never happen.


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