Bea (Dennis the Menace)
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|Current/last artist||Nigel Parkinson|
|First appearance||Issue 2935
(17 October 1998)
|Regular characters||Bea, Dennis, Mum, Dad, Gnasher, Gnipper, Rasher|
Introduction to The Beano
Bea's introduction to the comic began with the 8th August edition of The Beano ensuring readers that they may be in for a big surprise. Subsequently, Dennis' strip inside revealed that his mother was in fact pregnant. Dennis, reacting to the news, fainted out of surprise. The next week the comic went through a revamp and the cover showed Dennis' father announcing that he had just become father to a daughter. The story inside showed Dennis was worried about the news, feeling having a younger sister would tarnish his reputation as a menace. However, his family portrait revealed that his little sister, named Bea, was just as much of a trouble maker than him. These were the first Dennis strips drawn by the new artist David Parkins, who had taken over from the previous artist, David Sutherland.
Parkins had always intended that the character would be called "Bea" (short for Beatrice), taken partly from the comic's name and evidenced in the yellow-and-black striped romper suit/onesie she was seen wearing in her first appearance. However, the comic staff decided to put the name up for vote. The readers seemed to agree with Parkins, as "Bea" won the vote by a nearly two-thirds majority. Dennis' Mum regularly shouts; "Bea! No!" whenever she does something naughty, the two words evidently making the word "Beano".
Nigel Parkinson strips (1998–2008)
In issue 2935 dated 17 October 1998 Bea gained her own solo strip entitled Beaginnings drawn by Nigel Parkinson. It was here that Bea uttered her first word, "Mud". Bea was voted naughtiest baby in Beanotown when she was only a week old, has Gnipper as her dog, and loves playing with Rasher. But for five isolated examples, the strip has always been drawn by Nigel Parkinson, who also frequently drew the main Dennis strip at that time. Issue 2942 (5 December 1998) was a special issue dedicated to her, where she appeared in every strip in the comic.
She shares notable similarities with fellow Beano character, Ivy the Terrible, who, from August 2008, joined Bea in her strip, renamed Bea and Ivy. Nigel Parkinson continued as artist, as Ivy had been reprinted before the team up. Bea's own strip returned for a few issues in 2009, however, this was dropped later that year, mainly due to her older brother's relaunch. In 2010 Bea joined up with Gnipper and Harley, Gran's pet pig, in a new strip titled The Bea Team, the title being a parody of The A-Team film which was released around the time the strip was in The Beano. This would prove to be Bea's final strip and now she only appears as a recurring character within the Dennis the Menace strips.
As a pun on her name, Bea dresses only in a yellow and black one piece with a yellow hair band to match. Her appearance is extremely similar to her elder brother's in that she sports jet-black messy hair and a behind the nose grin. After the 2009 re-launch of Dennis and Gnasher, eyelashes were added to her appearance and she became far more baby-like in not only looks but also personality.
- "Comicvine". Retrieved August 10, 2012.