Calamity James

Calamity James

Calamity James is a comic strip in the UK comic The Beano. It is about a boy, called Calamity James, (a pun on Calamity Jane) and he has disastrous luck. He first appeared on 1 November 1986. He has a pet called Alexander Lemming, (a pun on Alexander Fleming) who used to have just as much bad luck as James, although now he is rather normal and does not have any bad luck.

Calamity James has black hair, wears black trousers, and has a red jumper with the number 13 on it. He has big eyes, and lots of buckteeth, but in his early days, he had small eyes and only two buckteeth. His shirt with the number 13 on it could well be the source of his bad luck. Once he gave his shirt to Alexander Lemming, and he had a day of bad luck and James had a day of good luck. Soon, Alexander got fed up with the jumper and gave it back. One of Alexander's hobbies is plummeting. He also tends to anoint James with balm or ointment if he gets hurt.

A distinctive feature of the strip is its cluttered appearance, with much surreal and incidental background detail. Various themes recurr; notably the "Little Squelchy Things" which appear in a wide variety of guises and tend to be visual gags, though they may take part in the story (for instance, James may trip over one), and a constant scatter of winning lottery tickets, notes with a large sum of money on them, diamonds, gold bars, and bags with 'Vast Dosh' written on them which James walks past yet somehow never manages to notice. Once, when he was complaining about his lack of money, Alex told him to look around (he was surrounded by one of each of the above), as if he had just noticed them, but then it turns out he was referring to busking. Another recurring feature is the appearance of bizarrly-named factories and other buildings, such as "Lumpy Custard Factory" and "Knicker Elastic Testing Sheds", that appear in the background throughout the strips.

Tom Paterson has been the main artist for the strip, although Steve Bright has drawn the strip on occasions.

As Tom Paterson had a lot of work with "Dennis the Menace and Gnasher" and "Minnie the Minx", Calamity James did not appear as regularly as those strips, and was eventually dropped.


1 November 1986 Calamity James debuts in the comic

December 1986 James' Pet, Alexander Lemming, debuts.

October 1988 "little squelchy things" debut in the comic

October 1993 James gets slight changes in appearance, including bigger eyes, and more buckteeth, as well as being rendered in full colour

1997 the strip gets painted with a computer in bright, shiny colours

2007 the strip semi-retires, as Tom Paterson starts drawing Dennis the Menace

External links

* [ Beanotown]

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