By John Smith •
Published: 16 Nov 2023 • 18:05
British stamps featuring Minnie the Minx and Dennis the Menace
Credit: Royal Mail
Coming within a few days of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, one not so young lady who herself personifies girl power celebrates her 70th Birthday on December 19.
Minnie the Minx is the third oldest character in children’s comic The Beano and she was introduced to show that not just boys could be naughty but girls could as well.
The Scottish based publishers DC Thompson are best known for their two most read comics The Beano and The Dandy and for many children, their weekly dose of the somewhat anarchic and mainly working class characters of these two publications was how they first learnt to read.
There were of course other similar publications in the UK as well as those specifically aimed at girls or boys and the art of cartoons goes back centuries with most countries having their own special comics, some of which are particular to their home countries and others crossing geographical boundaries.
In Germany in 1845, Der Struwwelpeter (shock-headed Peter) became a popular children’s book with a selection of illustrated stories each of which had a moral tale intended to instruct the children to behave properly.
Whilst neither that or the works of Beatrix Potter in the UK were comics, they were both popular with children, with Peter Rabbit and friends still finding friends old and new.
The French loved Asterix, Baba the Elephant and Cool Hand Luke, whilst Belgium exported the somewhat racist at times Tin Tin, Finland was more laid back with the Moomims whilst children in The Netherlands enjoyed The Smurfs.
For Denmark, it was Rasmus Klump, Spain boasted Mortadelo y Filemón and Portugal Quim e Manecas, indeed every country had its own favourites but Britain seems to have been in the forefront with emancipated girls such as Minnie and the other mischievous female, Beryl the Peril who started life in The Topper and then transferred at a later date to The Dandy.
During the 20th Century various totalitarian regimes have used comics and cartoons to promote their ideologies and to try to influence the very young to follow their way of thinking.
The rise of the internet has seen a complete expansion of far more ‘adult themed’ comics from Japanese Anime to graphic illustrated novels such as The Walking Dead and of course both DC and Marvel Comics have been promoted to the silver screen and now generate literally billions of dollars for their franchise owners.
There are now plenty of strong female characters in both comics and on screen but in some ways they should at least tip their heads in recognition of Minnie whose idea of a scrap book was to use it for scrapping with the boys.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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