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Lord Snooty (or Lord Snooty and his Pals) was a fictional character in a comic strip in the UK comic The Beano, first appearing in issue 1, dated 30 July 1938, and was the longest running strip in the comic until Dennis the Menace and Gnasher overtook it. The central character was Lord Marmaduke of Bunkerton, known to his friends as Snooty, a very ordinary boy who just happens to be an Earl, and is always assisted by his butler Parkinson.
Original run (1938–1991)
The strip was mostly drawn by Dudley D. Watkins until his death in 1969, though Leo Baxendale and Albert Holroyd occasionally filled in for Watkins. The strip had an 18-month hiatus from the comic between June 1949 and December 1950. It was at this point that Snooty's original pals (from Ash Can Alley) were replaced with his new pals who lived in the castle. Some of these had previously appeared in other Beano strips. The strip had another hiatus from 1958 to 1959, before the comic began reprinting older Lord Snooty strips. Watkins returned to drawing the strip in 1964, before Robert Nixon took over in 1968. Nixon continued to draw it for the next few years, before being succeeded by Jimmy Glen in 1973. Ken H. Harrison took over in 1988, and continued to draw it until the strip disappeared from The Beano in 1991. Lord Snooty was the only remaining strip left from the first issue when it was withdrawn.
Subsequent appearances (2000s)
On 9 September 1998, a book entitled The Legend of Lord Snooty and his Pals (ISBN 0-85116-691-1) was released. This contained a history and reprints from the first 30 years of the strip's life. In 2000, Lord Snooty made a special appearance in the Bash Street Kids Book 2001, along with Snitch and Snatch. Snooty also appeared in issue 3093 (dated 27 October 2001) where a one off strip called 'Lord Snooty's Day Out' appeared (drawn by Ken H. Harrison), and in issue 3185 (dated 2 August 2003) where as part of the 65th anniversary issue he made a guest appearance alongside The Bash Street Kids. Big Fat Joe also guest appeared in that issue, alongside Billy Whizz. In 2005 Snooty was revived, briefly, in the Beano serial Are We There Yet? by writer-artist Kev F Sutherland, in which he goes hip-hop as Snoot Doggy-Dogg. the character was often acknowledged but didn't come to prominence again until he was used as a villain for a feature length Bash Street Kids story again illustrated and written by Kev F Sutherland. The plot saw him, and a few other retro Beano characters such as Keyhole Kate and Pansy Potter, trying to take over The Beano and return it to its post-war roots. He failed, and was defeated by The Bash Street Kids.
In January 2013, Lord Snooty was brought back alongside a number of old Beano characters as a three panel strip in a new section of the Beano called Funsize Funnies. Lord Snooty ended in the penultimate issue before the 75th Anniversary Special. But he is set to return in a strip by Lew Stringer
Over the years, the strip featured the following characters:
- Aunt Matilda – Snooty's guardian, nicknamed Aunt Mat.
- Samuel – the castle guard.
- Snooty's original pals (who appeared to live with him in Bunkerton Castle):
- Skinny Lizzie – thin girl, part of Ash Can Alley gang (1938–1950)
- Hairpin Huggins – tall thin boy, part of Ash Can Alley gang (1938–1950)
- Happy Hutton – unhappy boy, part of Ash Can Alley gang (1938–1950)
- Gertie the Goat – a goat, member of Ash Can Alley gang (1938–1950)
- Scrapper Smith – loves to fight, originally member of Ash Can Alley gang, stayed on to live in castle. The character gained his own strip in 1955 which lasted until 1959. (1938–1990)
- Rosie – short blonde girl loves to cook, originally part of Ash Can Alley gang, and stayed on to live in castle (1938–1990)
- Snitch and Snatch – identical twins who cause mischief and mayhem. They did not appear in the first issue but joined Snooty's pals later on in 1938. (1938–1990)
- Snooty's later pals (who became his pals in the strip's second series):
- Joe – very fat and greedy. (a.k.a. Big Fat Joe) First appeared in Beano no 1, had his own strip, joined Snooty in 1950 (1938, 1950–1990)
- Liz – a very tall girl. (a.k.a. Swanky Lanky Liz) Joined Snooty in 1950. Previously had her own strip from 1948 to 1949. In this strip the character was shown as a swanky stuck up (with a nose which literally stuck up) snob these traits were lessened when she became one of Lordy Snooty's pals.(1948–1990)
- Thomas – an indecisive boy, whose hair was shaped like a question mark, he originally had his own strip entitled Doubting Thomas (1940–1942, 1950–1990)
- Polly – a black girl. She originally had her own strip entitled Polly Wolly Doodle and her Great Big Poodle. (1946–1947, 1950–1985)
- Other characters:
- Professor Screwtop, inventor who appears sometimes to help out the gang. He occasionally appeared in other Beano strips such as the Bash Street Kids.
- Angus, Snooty's pet stag.
- Pongo, a dog originally from the strip Polly Wolly Doodle and her Great Big Poodle.
- Cyril, The Castle Jackdaw.
- Mary, A mule originally had her own strip called Contrary Mary which was in the Beano's first issue, she joined Snooty's gang in 1950.
- The Gasworks Gang, sworn enemies of Snooty and his pals.
Lord Snooty the Third
5 July 2008 issue of The Beano, number 3439, included a new version of the strip drawn by Nigel Parkinson. It is about a mischievous boy who lives in a castle, the first strip showing Snooty jetskiing on Lake Snooty. Although it was originally entered as part of the New Bash Street Kid competition, the following issue, number 3440, establishes that this character is indeed Marmaduke's grandson, showing a distinctive and recognisable "Grandad" in the family portrait gallery. Later on, Snooty the Third became a spy, parodying James Bond.
Snooty III also has a long-suffering and sarcastic butler named Parkinson. He has also formed his own gang, consisting of an adolescent named Naz, a young Black girl named Frankie, Emo, and One and Three the triplets (who claim that two does not 'hang out' with them much). The strip did not prove popular among readers and the comic series officially ended in 2011 after making less frequent appearances.
Reception and popularity
Lord Snooty is often regarded as part of the golden age of comic characters and has become one of few to earn his own collection of strips. The Telegraph, a British Broadsheet, wrote an article in 2009 on the then Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron comparing him to the idea of Lord Snooty, a 'toff' befriending the poor. However, they compared Lord Snooty the Third, unfavorably with the original, questioning whether Cameron was the first, a pleasant boy wanting the best for his friends, or the third, a 'repulsive' boy who laughs at those less fortunate.
- Beano January 2013 Issues
- "The Beano Top 100.". phpBB Group. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "Contrary Mary". The Beano.
- History of The Beano: The Story So Far...
- The Legend of Lord Snooty
- Why Lord Snooty is the ideal role model for David Cameron at the Daily Telegraph; by Charles Moore; published 4 December 2009; retrieved 27 May 2013