Billy Whizz facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBilly Whizz
|Comic strip character(s) from The Beano|
|Stars in||Billy Whizz|
|Other contributors||Barry Appleby
|Current/last artist||Wayne Thompson
|First appearance||Issue 1139
(16 May 1964)
|Also appeared in||The Beano Annual
The Bash Street Kids
|Alias(es)||The World's Fastest Boy|
|Family||Alfie Whizz (brother)
|Regular characters||Alfie Whizz, Dad|
Billy Whizz is a fictional character featured in the British 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. His speed often causes chaos yet at the same time his ability can prove useful. He also has a younger brother called Alfie Whizz of similar appearance. Alfie is usually shown as a normal boy but occasionally he is shown to be just as fast as his brother.
In strips up until the 1980s, Billy lives in Whizztown rather than Beanotown like most of the other regular characters, however, this later changed and more recent strips place him in Beanotown.
When the strip began, Billy simply wore a T-shirt and black shorts. In a late 1970s strip, Billy's dad sends him out to buy a new pair of trousers, supposedly to slow Billy down, but as he buys a pair of tracksuit bottoms this doesn't happen, though from that point Billy wore those trousers. A more dynamic change came in the early 1990s when he began to wear a black tracksuit marked with a lightning bolt. When depicted in colour, originally all the non-black areas of the tracksuit were in yellow, though soon all but the lightning flash was in red, and later the lightning flash turned red itself. Billy initially wore ordinary shoes but around the same time as the tracksuit was introduced he started to wear trainers, which are usually worn out very quickly by whizzspeed running, and as a result often have holes in the soles.
From the first strip, Billy sported a shaved hair cut with two long, antennae-like hairs sticking out at the top. In the 1970 Beano Annual, it is revealed that the reason why Billy, plus Dad and Alfie, always have this style is because they always get thrown out of the barber's before the last two hairs can be shaved off. After Vic Neill became artist, the two hairs morphed into a lightning flash, with no explanation given for this in the comic. This hairstyle was retained by Graeme Hall, but was later reverted to the original two hairs once Wayne Thompson took over. It has been revealed in some strips that Billy's hair is blond should it grow to full length.
Billy is known not to be quite as mischievous as the other Beano characters and often does not go out of his way to harm or annoy others. Any trouble he causes is usually by accident, though this happens quite often due to Billy's whizzspeed. However, he does seem to have a fairly short temper, as in the 1999 Beano Book he exploded into a rage after he found out Alfie had a glass of ice during a race. He has been known to be rather impatient, not able to sit still even for a film. Much like other Beano characters save for Dennis and The Bash Street Kids he does not appear to have a set group of friends. His kind nature and good heart is occasionally taken advantage of by other Beano characters, especially that of Roger the Dodger and Dennis the Menace, as for example in one strip he agreed to carry Roger's dodge books so he could slow down.
16 May 1964 Billy Whizz debuts in the comic. Issue No. 1139
late 1970s/early 1980s Billy starts wearing trousers instead of shorts. This is explained in a story where Billy's dad tells him to buy some trousers, in the hope that they will slow him down, but Billy chooses some tracksuit bottoms which don't slow him down.
27 January 1989 The final appearance of Malcolm Judge's Billy in the comic. Barrie Appleby draws the strip for the next few weeks, before Steve Horrocks takes over.
1990 David Parkins takes over as the full-time artist.
1991 Trevor Metcalfe starts drawing Billy as understudy to Parkins.
1992 Vic Neill also starts drawing Billy.
9 May 1992 Billy Whizz wears his new thunderbolt tracksuit for the first time in a story where he runs so fast in his new tracksuit that he is mistaken for a lightning storm. Issue No. 2599
1993 David Parkins quits drawing Billy, and Vic Neill takes over permanently, although Trevor Metcalfe still contributes occasional strips for the next year.
1993 Trevor Metcalfe provides the Billy Whizz strip for the Beano Annual 1995, which proves to be the last time he draws Billy for over a decade.
9 July 1994 Billy's hairstyle changes, with no explanation in the comic. Issue No. 2712.
2000 Vic Neill dies, and is replaced by Graeme Hall.
5 April 2003 Wayne Thompson takes over as Billy's artist. Issue No. 3168
2005 Trevor Metcalfe again starts drawing Billy, this time as Thompson's understudy, before later becoming permanent artist.
16 June 2007 The final regular new strip in the Beano drawn by Metcalfe. From the following week's issue, Billy's strip became reprint. Issue No. 3385
2 August 2008 Barrie Appleby draws a new Billy Whizz strip in the 70th birthday edition of the Beano, the first new strip in the comic for over a year. Issue No. 3443
31 October 2009 Nick Brennan takes over as artist and new strips start being printed.
10 November 2012 Wilbur Dawbarn replaces Nick Brennan as artist, reverting the character to his original image.
In other media
- Billy appeared alongside other Beano stars in the 1994 straight-to-DVD movie, Beano Video. He was voiced by Jonathan Kydd.
- Billy had his own ride at Chessington World of Adventures, a flying chair ride titled Billy's Whizzer, from the opening of Beanoland in 2000 until it was refurbished into Wild Asia in 2009.
- Robert Harrop designed a Billy Whizz figure featuring him inside a bumper car.
Billy Whizz Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.