Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lord Snooty and his Pals (The Beano)

The fictional characters first appeared in the first edition of The Beano, on 30th July 1938. The strip (1938 – 1991) became the longest running in the comic’s history until Dennis the Menace and Gnasher overtook it.

The central character, Lord Marmaduke of Bunkerton, is known to his friends as Snooty and is a very ordinary boy who just happens to be an Earl, assisted, as always, by his butler, Parkinson. The strip was drawn by Dudley D. Watkins until his death in 1969, but Leo Baxendale and Albert Holroyd occasionally filled in for Watkins.

Lord Marmaduke (Snooty to his friends) of Bunkerton was fed up with living in a castle under the watchful eye of his Aunt Matilda (Aunt Mat), and took every opportunity to change into different clothes and have fun with his friends from Ash Can Alley. The original gang were Scrapper Smith, Hairpin Huggins, Skinny Lizzie, Rosie, Happy Hutton, Gertie the goat and later Snitch and Snatch. The sworn enemies of the Ash Can Alley were the Gasworks Gang, a group of ill-favoured yobs. Snooty was a popular hero andtriumphed because he shared the sufferings of his comrades while adding the gentlemanly virtues which they lacked.

During the Second World War, the story lines changed and sometimes Snooty and his pals tried to foil the plans of the Nazis' (and sometimes even, Hitler). After the war, the story lines reverted back and more and more featured the castle, despite the fact that the trash can alley gang were always present.

In 1949, the strip had an 18-month hiatus from the comic. On its return Snooty's original pals (from Ash Can Alley) were replaced with new pals who lived in the castle. The new gang were made up of previous characters from the Beano i.e. Big Fat Joe, Doubting Thomas, Swanky Lanky Liz, Contrary Mary the mule, Polly and her dog Pongo. This series of Lord Snooty continued until 1958, but a large amount of strips were not by Watkins; some of them were by Leo Baxendale, who also drew several Biffo the Bear strips from around this time.

Between 1958 to 1959, the strip was again rested before the comic began reprinting older Lord Snooty strips. Watkins returned to drawing the strip in 1964 and continued until 1968, a year before he died. Robert Nixon took over and continued to draw it for the next few years, before being succeeded by Jimmy Glen in 1973. Ken H. Harrison took over in 1988, and continued to draw it until the strip disappeared from The Beano in 1991. In the later years Snooty's personality took a turn for the worse. The character was axed because it became difficult to write strips, readers could no longer relate to.

Lord Snooty did reappear several times including a special appearance in the Bash Street Kids Book 2001, along with Snitch and Snatch. He also popped up in a one-off strip called 'Lord Snooty's Day out', Beano issue 3093 (2001), and was drawn by Robert Nixon. In 2003, in issue 3185, as part of the 65th anniversary issue he made another guest appearance alongside The Bash Street Kids. Then again in the 70th anniversary issue of the Beano there was a specially-drawn Fred's Bed strip which included Lord Snooty.

In the Beano serial, Are We There Yet? (2005) by writer-artist Kev F Sutherland, once again Snooty was briefly revived and up dated as Snoot Doggy-Dogg. The character was often acknowledged but did not come to prominence again until he was used as a villain for a feature length Bash Street Kids story again illustrated and written by Kev F Sutherland. The plot saw him, and a few other retro Beano characters such as Keyhole Kate and Pansy Potter, trying to take over The Beano and return it to its post-war roots. He failed, and was defeated by The Bash Street Kids.

In January 2013, Lord Snooty was brought back alongside a number of old Beano characters as a three panel strip in a new section of the Beano called Funsize Funnies. Lord Snooty ended in the penultimate issue before the 75th Anniversary Special. But he is set to return in a strip by Lew Stringer

Lord Snooty III (Marmaduke's grandson) started to appear as a regular strip in the Beano (2008), drawn by Nigel Parkinson. He is a repulsive boy who wallows in wealth. Snooty III also has a long-suffering and sarcastic butler named Parkinson. He has also formed his own gang, consisting of an adolescent named Naz, a young Black girl named Frankie, Emo, and One and Three the triplets (who claim that two does not 'hang out' with them much). The strip did not prove popular among readers and the comic series officially ended in 2011 after making less frequent appearances.

Read more
Watkins D. (1998)The Legend of Lord Snooty and his Pals DC Thompson This contains a history and reprints from the first 30 years of the strip's life.

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