One of the UK's oldest children's comic books, published by D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd as long ago as 1938, and now well past the 3000 issues mark.
Famous characters / strips past & present include:
Dennis the Menace - not to be confused with an American one of the same name created within weeks of each other.
Gnasher & Gnipper (Dennis' pet dogs)
Rasher (Dennis' pet pig)
Minnie the Minx
Rodger the Dodger
The Bash Street Kids
The Bash Street Pups (the kids' pet dogs)
Biffo the Bear
Ivy the Terrible
Pansy Potter - The Strongman's Daughter
Little Plum (a native American)
The 3 Bears
Calamity James - and his pet, Alexander Lemming
General Jumbo - a boy with a remote-controlled model army
The Beano comes in a few different formats:
THE BEANO Comic - the original weekly publication
The Beano Annual - highly collectable books, published annually in time for Christmas since the 1940's (earlier ones seem to fetch upto & over £50 on Ebay). Dated so, for instance the 1992 book was launched for Christmas 1991, the 2008 book (the current one at time of writing) being sold in the shops now (2007).
The Beano "Comic Library" - these ran from 1982 to 1998, and feature a single storyline based on a single, or group of characters, published monthly. Much additional amusement was often caused when grown-ups would ask due to their "Comic Library" name "when do they have to go back to the Library?".
The comic has had numerous rivals through the years, many of which have fallen by the wayside, and include:
The Dandy - their long time rival, published around the same time just before WW2 by the same publishers. Still going strong after a reformat.
The TOPPER - ceased publication
The Beezer - ceased publication