Comic tables turned on adults

20th October 2000 at 01:00
IT pays to keep abreast. As a secondary teacher, I am relatively familiar with the libidinal frankness of contemporary teenage magazines.

However, I recently covered for three days in a primary school and found myself embroiled with a Year 1 pupil over the existence, or not, of "numskulls" within every human head. The debate was left unresolved, subject to arbitration from the school head and the pupil's mum. I felt contingent, in the meantime, to re-acquaint myself with The Beano.

When I last read this journal, every story ended with the hero receiving either reward (a plate of bangers 'n' mash) or punishment (usually formal; usually corporal).

How times have changed! In her contemporary incarnation, Minnie the Minx steals from a scrapyard; assaults a park keeper; moves a civic signpost; apparently steals a husky-driven chariot and otherwise traumatises or violates innocent dult members of the public, and their pets, much as she always did.

Familiar fare, thus far. What I found unfamiliar, was that in the final two frames, her father berates himself for not playing with her enough and is then exposed as a buffoon.

Similarly, The Bash Street Kids continue their tradition of pilfering and destruction, but defy tradition by escaping happily from school while their teacher does not have the last laugh, but is ridiculed.

Having lived through a childhood during which I was told reading comics, which had an underlying ethos of personal culpability, would make me illiterate and immoral, it seems I now live in an adulthood during which I am vicariously held responsible for the illiteracy and immorality of children, not least, by the writers of comics!

Paul Miller

2 The Grove

Little Aston

Sutton Coldfield

West Midlands

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