Merry Christmas Eve and welcome back to Rotten Ink. Growing up I watched Nickelodeon at my Grandparents house as their cable provider had it while ours in Waynesville didn’t have it just yet and I can remember being glued to shows like “Danger Mouse”, “Count Duckula”, “Mr. Wizard’s World” and “You Can’t Do That On Television” and one that was also very popular that my brother and I would watch was “Bananaman” that was a silly superhero themed British cartoon series, and sadly as time has passed I find less and less people remember this amazing character here in America and that is why for this 10 Year Anniversary and Christmas Eve update I have chosen to talk about him! So grab some eggnog, get a plate of Christmas cookies as its time we chat about the one and only British superhero known as Bananaman!
Eric Wimp is a young schoolboy who was rocketed to Earth as a baby from the moon and when he eats bananas he turns into Bananaman an adult costumed hero who can fly, is invulnerable, can breath in space and has superhuman strength. Bananaman is a superhero who works alongside the police who call him on the banana phone in order to stop crime as well as stop super villains fro hurting his city. During his heroic deeds he also gets help from Crow his pet bird who helps out when our hero is in a tight situation and always brings back up bananas to give him more energy and strength. While Bananaman is a superhero he still is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and this sometimes leads him into danger and traps that of course he will escape from in the end. The character Bannaman was created by artist John Geering along with writers Steve Bright and Dave Donaldson who brought the comic strip to readers that ended up spawning into the cartoon series and made him one of U.K.’s most popular superheroes. And sadly for those wondering artist John Geering passes away in 1999 and the comic strip when not reprinting old adventures is drawn by Andy Janes. A true iconic character for those who grew up reading and watching his cartoon and I for one am glad to have been able to watch his show here in America thanks to Nickelodeon.
The show Bananaman started airing on October 3, 1983 and was on BBC and was 5 minute cartoons that was based on the comic strip and featured the voice of Graeme Garden as Bananaman and Tim Brooke-Taylor as Eric and was super popular with viewers who grew up loving this superhero that read his adventures in Nutty. The show would last for a total of 40 episodes for three seasons and the series ended in 1986. But even with no new episodes being made it ran heavily in reruns until around 1999. The episodes was written by Bernie Kay and directed and produced by Terry Ward. The show would go on to be released on DVD in the U.K. and those fans from America would have to import it like I did in order to watch again. A fun fact about this show is the British comedy troupe The Goodies are who voiced all the main cast of the cartoon like Bananaman, Crow and Eric! While Bananaman never hit the peak of popularity in America like it did in the U.K. for those who grew up watching it no matter what nation you know just how fun and silly this cartoon was.
Like all great Superheroes that have came before and after him Bananaman has his fair share of villains that try to bring him down and ruin the city. And to be honest I think he has a great rogues gallery and while not on par with the likes of Spider-Man, Batman and Dick Tracy when it comes to the baddies he still has some great ones like the following that are some of my favorites. General Blight is an evil Army General and is his arch nemesis and is always coming with a scheme including unleashing The Snow Man a freeze and heat caring Christmas style snowman. Doctor Gloom is another great one who is the mad scientist sidekick of General Blight who creates enemies for Bananaman including Appleman. And I also like Rhubarb Man a walking talking piece of Rhubarb who moves around like a human. Other villains include Skunk Woman, Desperate Dan, Bubble-Gum Bert, Clayman, Witchy Woman, Grannie Punk, The Weatherman, King Zorg, The Heavy Mob and Spaghetti Man to name a very few. Really if you get a chance to read any of Bananaman’s comics or watch his cartoons make sure to do so not only to enjoy his adventures but to also see his baddies in action.
Like all great cartoons Bananaman has had his fair share of very cool merchandise for fans to collect over the years with some being official and others being made by fans themselves to show their love for the character. So if you are a Bananaman fan like myself you can get such cool thinks as T-Shirts, Home Media, Stickers, Dolls, Toys, Buttons, Posters, Statues, Trading Cards, Halloween Costumes, Action Figures, Drinking Glass and so much more stuff with most being fan made stuff that is available here in America. So if you like Bananaman make sure to check Etsy and Ebay as I am sure you will find some cool stuff for your collection.
So now that we have talked about Bananaman and things about him from his merchandise to his baddies I think we should now move to this Comic Capers graphic novel that features some comic book adventures of our hero Bananaman! I would like to thank a seller on Etsy for having this in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets go to Nuttytown and head to 29 Acacia Road and see if Bananaman is home and what adventures he has in store for us!
Comic Capers: Bananaman GN **1/2
Released in 2000 Cover Price $0.00 Beano Books # ? of ?
“Eurovillain Contest” Eric is bored at home and decides to make a cable satalite dish so he can watch better TV when he finds that Lord Zorg has a show that is about what Eurovillain can stop Bananaman, and this of course causes Eric to turn into his superhero alter ego and head to Europe were along the way Weatherman and The Mole try and slow him down, but he ends up finding his way to Europe and the contest starts! The first baddie that attacks is Goudaman and his giant cheese wheel and at first the holes in the cheese are a maze that Bananaman can not figure out that us until he gets the idea to have a bunch of mice to follow him who eat the giant cheese wheel and Goudaman is defeated. Next Garlicman and his foul smelling breath attacks, but Bananaman uses a giant book to smash him after a fake court trail! And so many Eurovillain’s try to bring down Bananaman including Spaghetti Man, Ivan The Terrible, Abzorba, Doctor Gloom, Ragnar The Hairy and The Weatherman and all of them fail and are defeated by Bananaman and worse the judges have given all the baddies the score of zero making it that no one is going to win, that is until Big Rita a mechanic is mad at the poor scoring and shows up at the station and roughs up the judges as well as King Zorg and this makes her the winner of the contest. The second store is “The Secret Of Willie Boggins” on Arcadia Street young Willie Boggins as a secret when he eats a boiled egg he turns into General Blight! And as Bananaman goes after him our hero has a streak of bad luck that even hits his secret identity Eric Wimp. And after General Blight robs a bank he buys a whole big jar of pickled eggs and eats them at once and grows into a giant, and after Bananaman tries to stop him and fails he goes and eats a ton of bananas and turns into a giant himself, but the fight ends when both have stomach aches and have to use the bathroom.
This graphic novel was a fun silly very kid friendly read and showcases the true goofy nature of the hero known as Bananaman as well as several of his foes that all make appearances in this comic including General Blight who gets his own story out of the two presented. The plots of both stories are simple and yet affective with the first being a villain contest TV Show that has baddies going after Bananaman and a panel rates the villains to award the winner. And the second story has General Blight on a crime spree and even grows giant size and this forces Bananaman to have to do the same in growing to end the fight. Bananaman in this graphic novel is super silly and while he saves the day each time he kind of falls backwards into doing so and while he acts as if he knows what he is doing its clear at times he does not. But because he is silly this makes him a very charming hero and reminds me of Captain Klutz another hero we have talked about here on Rotten Ink and you should give that update a read here. And I have to say this graphic novel really did spark my love for the Bananaman character again as he is just such an awesome superhero with such a great nature. Also the fact he his a kid in his alter ego reminds me of Captain Marvel or Shazam as he is called now. Really sad that Crow is not in this as it would have been cool to have seen him around and helping out when needed. While many of his villains appear many of them do not get a lot of time on panels as they are defeated fast and our hero moves onto the next, I will though say that King Zorg gets his time to shine as he is the host of the TV Show contest and gets to say a few cheesy jokes before he his beat up by Big Rita who ends up winning the show. General Blight is the graphic novels main villain and he is able to win a few rounds with Bananaman as he runs him over with his bicycle, is able to rob a bank, turn into a giant and beat our hero is a fight showing he is truly the arch-nemesis for Bananaman! I also like how their big giant fight has to end early as all the food they ate made them have to potty bad and because they are so big they have to use cooling towers at a power station to relive themselves…so silly. The cover for this graphic novel is great and showcases both Eric Wimp and Bananaman and is eye catching with the interior art being done by an artist I could not find the credits for, but whom ever of the comic strip artist who did it they did top notch stuff. Over all this Bananaman Graphic Novel is not for everyone as I think those who do not know the character will find it to British in humor and way to kid friendly, but for those fans like myself it’s a fun read that takes you back to your youth watching the cartoon (or even in some cases reading the comic strip) and enjoying his adventures. Checkout the artwork below to see the style used in this book.
Bananaman was a great way to spend this Christmas Eve as he is such a very underrated superhero character here in America as sadly besides that very small run on the early days of Nickelodeon and those who imported shows or got on the Grey Market truly remember him, while in England he really is a well loved hero and still has a following and fan base to this day. I really hope that you readers have a great Holiday season spent with your family, friends and pets with lots of great conversations and plenty of tasty food. I also want to thank you for spending apart of your Christmas Eve here at Rotten Ink and making this 10 Year Anniversary very special and I hope you enjoyed the updates over the decade of blogging and hope it brought back great memories of your youth. So with that eat a Christmas Cookie or three, watch a Bananaman cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you in 2023 for the best of 2022 Movie’s seen in the theater countdown.