Biffo the Bear
|No image available|
|Biffo the Bear|
|Current/last artist||Paul Palmer|
|First appearance||Issue 327
(24 January 1948)
|Regular characters||Biffo, Buster, Brian, Mary|
Biffo the Bear is a fictional character who had his own comic strip in the British comic The Beano. Biffo is an anthropomorphic bear resembling Mickey Mouse who gained the front cover of the comic starting from issue 327, dated 24 January 1948, replacing Big Eggo. This page is reprinted in "The Dandy and The Beano: More From the First Fifty Years", the second of the Golden Years (later 60 Years) series. His human friend Buster appeared with him later in the 1950s. A story reprinted in Classics from the Comics in August 2008 was titled Biffo and Buster. This was a full page, from 1957. As Biffo was the cover star at the time, and Buster's name was never in the title, this must be from The Beano Book 1957, not an issue of the comic.
Dudley D. Watkins drew Biffo from the character's debut in 1948 to his sudden death on 20 August 1969, after which David Sutherland replaced him. He remained on the front cover until issue 1677, dated 7 September 1974. Dennis the Menace took over as from the following week, and Biffo was relegated to the inside pages. In the late 1970s, Sutherland stopped drawing Biffo, and the strip was taken over by Jimmy Glen.
His strip was retired in the 1980s (with his final appearance coming in issue no 2310, dated 25 October 1986), by which time it had been reduced to a single line of four pictures. However, the strip came back in 1989 with the title shortened to just 'Biffo'. The format had been revamped to three or four frames over a page with no speech, often depicting Biffo in fantastical, surreal situations. These strips were mostly drawn by Sid Burgon, though Trevor Metcalfe contributed a few stories as well, including in the Beano Book 1994. In the Beano Book 1999 Milly O'Naire(from Milly O'Naire and Penny Less, from the IPC Jackpot comic) made a guest appearance as well as her dad. This was probably because Sid Burgon had previously drawn that strip as well.
More recently Biffo was seen in a four-part special leading a group of retired characters, Pansy Potter, Keyhole Kate and Desert Island Dick, to return The Beano to an earlier form (specifically, the 1960s, the logo from that era was used in the story).
Since 2007, Biffo has been seen in few short strips in the Fun Size Beanos, but these are mainly reprints.
Biffo returned in The Beano 2007 Christmas special; he featured in 'The Riot Squad'. His next guest appearance was in the 70 Years Anniversary Beano, drawn by David Sutherland. As the issue was edited by Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit), animals in the zoo could be seen that bore a close resemblance to that of his 1989 short film, Creature Comforts. Biffo also made an appearance in the 2010 Beano Annual, again drawn by Sutherland.
In 2013 Biffo appeared in the Funsize Funnies pages of the Beano. Initially drawn by Wayne Thompson, he returned the following year, now drawn by Paul Palmer.