No, after all the completely unnecessary hoo-ha by middle-aged men when a children’s comic changed the title of Dennis’s strip a few years back, DC Thomson aren’t about to face their wrath again by changing him to Phil. This is a very special one-off comic featuring characters called Phil, Emma and (not so strangely) Roger, created for a birthday boy a few years back. Namely, me. Well, I say a few years back but it appears they have somewhat flown by.

The fact ‘the Menace’ has been dropped from Dennis for quite a while will be the first clue. I’m publishing this post on my 45th birthday and this was a gift from my friend Emma (and her dog Izzy) for my 38th, so it’s actually seven years old! (How did that happen?!) That’s right, for my 38th. Then again, you’re reading this blog so you already know I’m a big kid at heart. Emma was able to substitute the names of three characters with mine, hers and our mutual friend, Roger.

Beano megastar Dennis was unfortunate enough to be given my name for the issue and, as luck would have it, Roger’s was given to Rodger the Dodger! I never knew the name of the character who became Emma but upon checking with Lew Stringer it appears she’s from Nick Brennan’s Crazy for Daisy. Coincidentally, she bares an uncanny resemblance to the real person, so that just made it all the funnier for me.

The basic plot is that Santa and Rudolph, distracted by the warbling of carols by Walter and his friends puts himself directly in the flight path of Dennis… erm, me and his… erm, my pet dog Gnasher, after a sleigh stunt using a homemade ramp shoots us into the air a tad too high. It’s actually Gnasher who comes up with the idea of asking for help from some of the other Beano stars to help deliver the presents to everyone in Beanotown. However, as he’s unable to communicate this I take the credit. (Which Roger then tells me is an uncharacteristically smart idea. Thanks!)

This part involving Emma’s character I found particularly funny, for completely personal reasons. This little bit of the strip suited her character perfectly and makes me laugh aloud every time I see it. It resulted in some mickey-taking on my part and it is still referred to now and again when the occasion calls for it. I loved this gift. It was a thoughtful present and certain parts of it really seemed to suit the three of us to a tee, making it seem all the more personalised than probably originally intended.

With 32 high-quality pages and a thick, glossy card cover complete with a small spine, it was a high quality comic and a great idea for any young Beano or Dennis fan, or for those who used to be when they were much younger. Unfortunately Signature Gifts no longer have any Beano items for sale but DC Thomson have picked up the mantle for their own characters and offer something a lot better today.

DCT’s personalised Beano lets parents not only name but also create the look of a new character based on their child. It’s chock full of strip, puzzles and activities all starring any young fan of Dennis et all. Not only that, but the website includes a wealth of customisable Beano items, like various comics and books, clothes, lunch boxes, mugs and a whole lot more. Perfect for your child (or yourself).

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