Bananaman started life as a cartoon strip in the first issue of Nutty comic in 1980. Nutty was an attempt to pull readership from the main three comics of the time, The Beano, The Dandy and Whizzer and Chips. The comic had a fresh feel with it’s more off the wall humour and Bananaman soon came to be it’s best known character.
Bananaman was really schoolboy Eric Wimp, resident of 29 Acacia Avenue, who transformed into the powerful Bananaman whenever he ate a banana. He could fly and had superhuman strength, which could be increased further by chomping more yellow curvy fruits. He had to be careful not too eat too many though and to avoid abnormal bananas, as they tended to affect him in a not altogether positive manner. Bananaman was normally pitted each week against some parody of a famous supervillain, with some of the more popular ones being Appleman (guess what he ate), General Blight and alien race the Nerks and their leader King Zorg.
In 1983 the BBC turned the comic strip into a cartoon series, which apart from changing Eric’s surname to Twinge and giving him a new hairstyle was fairly faithful to the comic strip. It was voiced by all three of The Goodies, Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, which made it popular with adults too, since Bananaman represents the last time the comedy trio worked together (at least that I know of!). Interestingly, several of the cartoon episodes were actually translated back into comic strip form.
The more eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that the picture accompanying this post doesn’t appear to be that of a cartoon character, and indeed you’d be right, as it is in fact a rather excellent adult sized Bananaman costume, which is available from drinkstuff.com. It would certainly make an excellent costume for anybody wanting to run a race in fancy dress!