Billy the Cat and Katie

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Not to be confused with Bill the Cat or Billy the Cat.

Billy the Cat (later Billy the Cat and Katie) was a British comic strip published from 1967 until 1974 in the comics magazine The Beano. The strip featured William Grange, later joined by his cousin Kathleen, alias Billy the Cat and Katie. Both were acrobatic crime fighters who helped the police to solve crime and catch "crooks" in the town of Burnham, and they wore "cat-suits" to conceal their true identities.


The original version of the strip was drawn by David Sutherland, and ran in distinct series from issue 1289 (dated 1 April 1967) to 1677 (7 September 1974).

Despite its seven year run there was no direct indication of the origins of the crime fighting school children apart from the occasional reference to William's late father, noted to be an inventor, presumably having developed the cat-suits, helmets, lasso ropes and cat claws etc. An unofficial origin of Billy the Cat and Katie (by kind permission of DC Thomson) written by David Carman is available to read here. [1]

When the strip made the final appearance of its original run in 1974, it was one of the last remaining adventure strips in the Beano. An older version of Billy, without Katie, and now set in Marham, appeared in Buddy comic in the 1980s.

Minus Katie, the strip returned to The Beano for six weeks from issue 3195, dated 11 October 2003, drawn by Wayne Thompson and Richard Elson. In 2005, it made a second brief return, scripted by Mike Chinn and this time drawn by Nigel Dobbyn, who has also subsequently drawn several Billy and Katie stories for Beano Annuals, from the 2007 annual onwards. The story in that annual was written by Bash Street Adventures artist/writer Kev F Sutherland. The 2009 annual did not have a Billy the Cat story, though he reappeared in the 2010 annual, starring "William the cat" in a Victorian setting which turns out to be the hallucination of an unconscious William Grange, on a school trip to a museum.

He made a guest appearance in the 70th anniversary Beano in 2008, this time drawn in a Manga-like style by Laura Howell. Billy returned to the comic shortly after in issue 3454 (dated 18 October 2008), as a single-page strip illustrated by Barrie Appleby.

Despite this, Nigel Dobbyn's version of the strip appeared in the Beano Annual 2011 [2]. However, Dobbyn was unhappy with how his artwork had been stretched in that year's annual, and as a result Billy did not appear in the 2012 annual.

Billy the Cat and General Jumbo[edit]

This was a crossover between Billy the Cat and General Jumbo in the 2008 Beano Annual written by Kev F Sutherland and drawn by Nigel Dobbyn. It involved Jumbo's radio control having been modified by a sentient model infantryman, taking control of Jumbo's actions. Billy had to save the day, firstly by removing Jumbo's wrist-controller and secondly by causing it to feed back on its creator – who, however, in homage to a classic B-movie motif, shows faint signs of life in the final panel while the heroes make their exit. (There is further homage in the naming of some of the model infantrymen, although using "Sergeant-Major" as "Wilson"'s rank is a departure from the strictly parallel.) This story was concluded in the 2009 annual, again written by Sutherland, but this time only featured Jumbo and was drawn by another artist.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

  • Billy the Cat and Katie – information page
  • [3] – Animated trailer for Billy The Cat v General Jumbo
  • The Unofficial Origin of Billy the Cat and Katie - [4] - (Fan Fiction authorised by DC Thomson)