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beryl

Beryl the Peril (or simply Beryl) is a fictional character created by David Law, the creator of Dennis the Menace, for issue 1 of The Topper comic (dated 7 February 1953) published by DC Thomson & Co. Limited. Like Dennis, she had black and red apparel, and devilishly tormented her parents and other members of her community. Despite not having quite as many appearances as other DC Thomson characters such as Dennis the Menace or Desperate Dan, Beryl is still considered one of the classic characters which define the popularity of British comics.

Beryl the Peril first appeared in the first issue of The Topper in 1953. She was created to be a female equivalent to The Beano’s Dennis the Menace. Davey Law, her artist and creator, drew inspiration from his daughter, who would often pull faces during her tantrums. The strips were similar in concept to the Dennis the Menace ones in that she would cause chaos through menacing her neighbours, parents and school teachers. In 1958, Beryl was chosen as one of the few of D.C. Thomson’s characters to earn an annual all to herself, consisting solely from reprints in past years.

When Law retired in 1970 her strip was taken over by Bob McGrath and later John Dallas. Her costume changed at some point in the mid-1980s from her red top underneath a black dress to a blue and white striped jumper underneath a red dress. In 1986 she became The Topper’s front page star, replacing Tricky Dicky. Her dog Pearl was also introduced shortly before that time, although before that she had a pet turkey called Gobbler. The same year, Robert Nixon took over, a cartoonist who followed in the steps of noted cartoonist Ken Reid, and her overall look became smoother and fuller. She also appeared far less like Dennis the Menace and seemed far more individual as a character. She remained with the comic when The Topper merged with The Beezer in 1990.

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