Billy Whizz

Billy Whizz

Beano strip


strip_name=Billy Whizz
artist=Barrie Appleby
start_issue=1139
start_date=May 16 1964
finish=July 30 2008 (last new strip)
Ongoing (as reprints)
characters=Billy, Alfie, their parents

Billy Whizz is a fictional character in a comic strip in the UK comic "The Beano", first appearing in issue 1139, dated 16 May 1964, when it replaced The Country Cuzzins. Billy, the title character, is a boy who can run extraordinarily fast. He also has a younger brother called Alfie Whizz of similar appearance. Alfie used to be able to run faster than Billy, but later became a normal boy (though why this happened was not explained in the comic). Billy does not live in Beanotown but in neighbouring Whizztown.

The strip was originated by Malcolm Judge, who had previously drawn "Colonel Crackpot's Circus", and would go on to create several more popular strips, including "Ball Boy", "The Numskulls" and "The Badd Ladds". Judge's style tended to be typified by a wide variety of styles in which Billy's speed was depicted, including trails of dust, motion blur, multiple copies of Billy in a panel, and more besides.

Upon Judge's death in 1989, Barrie Appleby very briefly took over the strip, before David Parkins took it over at the turn of the year. Parkins overhauled the strip somewhat, making the effects of Billy's speed more destructive to his surroundings, giving him a slightly alien-looking tracksuit, and a more laid-back attitude. Parkins started to share his duties with Trevor Metcalfe in 1992, and they were both forced to quit the strip the following year due to an excessive workload. Vic Neill started drawing the strip thereafter, giving Billy a very inoffensive attitude (which was quite strange for Neill, who typically depicted anarchistic characters) and playing up the more alien aspects of his appearance. He continued to draw the strip until he died in 2000, and G. Hall took it up afterwards, continuing Neill's overall style, albeit with a bit less detail.

By March 2003, the strip's popularity had faded badly, and the comic's editors were giving serious consideration to dropping it. Instead, it was decided that the strip would be given a stay of execution, albeit under a new artist. Wayne Thompson took over from the following month. Thompson's work was styled closer to that of Malcolm Judge, and gave a new life to the character and feel of the strip. However, due to his commitments with fellow "Beano" character Joe Jitsu and Jak for the Dandy, the strip was understudied again by Trevor Metcalfe, who, aided with a Wacom tablet, drew the strip in a mixture of his own and Thompson's style. Metcalfe later drew the strip full time until his sudden departure from the comic in 2007, after which the Beano started running re-prints of the strips drawn by David Parkins. This run of reprints continued for the next year (including a few early Trevor Metcalfe and Vic Neill strips along the way) until the comic's 70th anniversary issue, when Barrie Appleby returned to provide a new strip. In The Beano Annual 2008, Billy's story was drawn by Tom Paterson, and for the 2009 annual Billy appeared in two strips, one drawn by Wayne Thompson, and one by David Sutherland, in the style of Vic Neill.

Because of the comic strip, "Billy Whizz" is also British slang for the restricted drug amphetamine (aka "speed"). It is also the nickname of dual code rugby international Jason Robinson due to his pace.

External links

* [http://www.chezcomics.com/comics-resources-information-pages/online-comic-strips/billywizz/billywizz.htm Billy Whizz comic strip at chezcomics.com]


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