Roger the Dodger
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|Roger the Dodger|
|Current/last artist||Barrie Appleby|
|First appearance||Issue 561
(18 April 1953)
|Regular characters||Roger, Dad, Mum, Dodge Cat, Dave|
Roger the Dodger, whose real name is Roger Dawson, is a fictional character featured regularly in the UK comic The Beano. His strip consists solely of Roger's basic remit to avoid doing chores and homework which usually involves him concocting complex and ultimately disastrous plans, the undoing of which results in him being punished (usually by his long-suffering father). To perform these tasks he enlists the help of his many 'dodge books'.
He first appeared in issue 561, dated 18 April 1953. His appearance is vaguely similar to that of Dennis the Menace; he wears a black-and-red chequered jumper, black trousers and takes better care of his hair than his equally mischievous counterpart. He also used to have a white tie, but it seems to have disappeared. Originally drawn by Ken Reid, Gordon Bell took over in 1959, but Roger dodged his way out of the Beano in 1960. He returned, drawn by Bob McGrath, in April 1961. Ken Reid was re-commissioned to draw the strip in 1962, and Robert Nixon when Reid left DC Thomson in 1964. When Nixon left in 1973, Tom Lavery began drawing the strip, who was then followed by Frank McDiarmid in 1976.
Ten years later, after Euan Kerr took over as Beano editor, Nixon returned, drawing in a noticeably different style from the one before. Roger's strip was given a second page in 1986. Between 1986 and 1992, a spin-off strip appeared at the end called Roger the Dodger's Dodge Clinic. Readers would write in with problems, and Roger would try to find a dodge for it (which would usually go wrong). Winning suggestions would win a transistor radio and special scroll. Roger is often shown in other Beano characters' stories offering "help", which he took to a new level in Beano issue 2648 from April 1993. This issue marked Roger's 40th birthday, and to celebrate he made appearances in every strip in the comic.
Nixon continued drawing it until his death in October 2002, though due to the strips being drawn months in advance, his strips continued appearing in the Beano until the end of January 2003, when artist Barrie Appleby took over. He drew the strip until 2011, when he stopped to concentrate on Dennis and Gnasher, though Trevor Metcalfe drew a few strips in 2003 and 2004, and there have also been some Robert Nixon reprints during 2005 and 2006. Since Appleby stopped drawing Roger, the comic has run reprints of Robert Nixon strips from the 1980s. Along with the Nixon reprints, Roger's Dodge Diary was introduced on the second half of Roger's pages, where Beano readers can send in their own dodges. In each one, Roger says a good thing, a bad thing and the results of the dodge. When the Beano was revamped on 8 August 2012, Appleby started drawing Roger again and Roger's parents were made younger. In the 75th birthday issue released on 24 July 2013, Jamie Smart took over as artist. On 9 April 2014, Wayne Thompson replaced Jamie Smart as Roger's artist, until Barrie Appleby returned to draw the strip temporarily, before Wayne Thompson surprisingly returned.
Roger is currently the second longest-running character in the Beano, behind only Dennis the Menace. However, if taken into account the strip's absence in 1960 then he would be the third longest-running behind Minnie the Minx.
Roger is a crafty-looking ten-year-old boy who sports a red-and-black chequered jersey with a white shirt collar poking out. He is also usually attired in a white tie, however, the Barrie Appleby strips dropped this around 2005. Upon his debut, Roger sported the usual school boy shorts, however he began wearing trousers during the 1970s.
Roger, unlike most Beano characters, does not go out of his way to cause chaos and mayhem. Instead, he chooses to watch from the sidelines, dodging responsibilities and punishments.
Other characters in the strip
- His Mum and Dad. In one strip in the Beano Book from 1957, his dad's name is revealed to be Bill Dawson, and he has occasionally shown to have been a dodger in his youth and on occasion asks Roger for dodging help.
- His rival is a bully named Cruncher Kerr (believed to be named after Euan Kerr, though his earliest appearances predate Kerr's appointment as Beano Editor in 1994).
- Roger has had two different pets, firstly a Crow called Joe the Crow, and secondly a Cat called Dodge Cat.
- Roger also had two friends, called Crafty Colin and Sneaky Pete. These two mainly appeared in the 1990s, though Pete did reappear in the 2006 Beano Annual. However, in the late 2000s Roger gained a new friend called Dave.
18 April 1953: Roger The Dodger made his debut in issue 561, drawn by Ken Reid.
1959: Gordon Bell becomes the artist.
1960: Roger's first series ends.
April 1961: Roger returns to the Beano, drawn by Bob McGrath.
1962: Reid is artist again.
1964: Robert Nixon takes over.
1973: Tom Lavery takes over.
1976: Frank McDiarmid takes over.
1986: Nixon returns to draw Roger again, he moves to two pages and Roger The Dodger's Dodge Clinic is introduced.
1992: Roger The Dodger's Dodge Clinic ends.
April 1993: Roger's 40th anniversary is celebrated.
January 2003: Barrie Appleby takes over, after Nixon's death.
2011: Appleby stops drawing Roger to focus on Dennis and Gnasher, and Roger's Dodge Diary is introduced alongside Nixon reprints.
2012: Appleby resumes drawing Roger after Nigel Parkinson takes over Dennis and Gnasher.
July 2013: Jamie Smart takes over as artist.
April 2014: Wayne Thompson takes over as artist.
July 2014: Barrie Appleby returns as artist.
In other media
- Roger had his very own ride in Chessington World of Adventures named Roger the Dodger's Dodgems before Beanoland was re-themed to Wild Asia.
- Roger appeared in the PC racing game Beanotown Racing as a playable character. His vehicle was a checkered bumper car.
- Roger was also featured as a character in The Beano Interactive DVD which consisted of mini-games and a few short animations.