Bananaman is a fictional character appearing in British comic books. Bananaman is a parody of traditional superheroes, being portrayed as a schoolboy who is transformed into a muscled, caped figure when he eats a banana. The character originally appeared in Nutty as the backpage strip in Issue 1, dated 16 February 1980 drawn by John Geering. He has since appeared in The Dandy and The Beano.
The original strip, by Dave Donaldson and Steve Bright, written and developed by the latter, and mostly drawn by John Geering until his death in 1999, is essentially a parody of Superman and Batman with shades of Captain Marvel and his British twin, Marvelman and occasionally other Silver Age characters, while also combining comic slapstick with a heavy dose of eccentric British humour similar to Alan Moore’s contemporary work on Captain Britain.
After John Geering died in 1999, Barrie Appleby took over and later Tom Paterson. In 2003, the original scriptwriter, Steve Bright drew it, until 2007. Sporadically from 2007 to 2010 the character appeared in reprinted strips from the John Geering era. For a short time, in late 2008, artist Chris McGhie reinvented Bananaman in a series of new strips. Chris’ other work included The Three Bears for The Beano (in 2002) and the characters on Yoplait’s ‘Wildlife’ product range. Two new strips appeared that year drawn by Barrie Appleby as well.
Since the Dandy revamp occurring in October 2010, Wayne Thompson took over drawing Bananaman in a style reminiscent of French cartoonist Lisa Mandel, a popular artist in The Dandy who has previously drawn Jak, Agent Dog 2-Zero and, occasionally, Bully Beef and Chips. In Issue 3515, Wayne’s style notably changes and looks more cartoony and detailed. As of spring 2011, Thompson’s version of Bananaman appears in full colour over two pages.
From 1983–1986, Bananaman also had his own annual. This was unusual because, unlike many other comics at the time, Nutty never had an annual. Unlike Dennis the Menace and Bash Street Kids, which mostly consisted of reprints these annuals were entirely new material.
In issue 3618, dated 14 January 2012, Bananaman made his debut appearance, as John Geering reprints, in The Beano, however he continued to appear in The Dandy. Another Beano character, Bananagirl of Super School, was revealed to be his cousin.
The Dandy print comic ended in December 2012, but Bananaman was still seen in the digital version drawn by Andy Janes. New Bananaman strips drawn by Wayne Thompson and written by Nigel Auchterlounie, Kev F Sutherland and lately Cavan Scott continue to run in The Beano through 2014. In 2016, writing duties for the strip were taken over by Tommy Donbavand.
In the strip, Eric Wimp, an ordinary schoolboy living at 29 Acacia Road, Nuttytown (later changed to Dandytown and then Beanotown when the strip moved to other comics), eats a banana to transform into Bananaman, an adult superhero, sporting a distinctive cowled blue and yellow outfit complete with a yellow two-tailed cape resembling a banana skin. His superpowers include the ability to fly, superhuman strength (often quoted as “twenty men… twenty big men” but sometimes limitless, with “nerks”, “women” and “snowmen” all being used in place of “men”), and seeming invulnerability. This is offset by the fact that he is just as naive and foolish (if not more so) as his alter ego; as mentioned in the comic once or twice, he has the “muscles of twenty men and the brains of twenty mussels”.
If Bananaman needs extra power, bananas can be eaten for strength boosts, provided by his faithful pet crow; if he does not have enough strength to shatter an ice block, for example, after eating another banana, he will have enough. If he eats lots of bananas in one sitting, he quickly becomes obese in his transformation; if he eats bananas that are not full, he transforms with extra weight in the lower part of his body. There have also been comics where he has eaten a variant on normal bananas, and transforms differently, reflecting the difference in that banana. The effects of eating the bananas are not consistent from story to story.
Annual 1987, Book 1984, Summer Special 1988
Annual 1985, Summer Special 1984
Summer Special 1985-1987
Summer Special 1989,1992,1993