Move over, Gnasher! The Beano launches its first ever comic for visually impaired children


The Beano has launched its first ever comic strip for visually impaired children featuring a guide dog character to raise awareness of those experiencing sight loss.

A seven-year-old boy from Sutton and his golden retriever, Chance, star in the special edition – “A Buddy For Life” – which was published on Wednesday.

Available in print and audio formats, the innovation means that the iconic magazine can now be enjoyed by those experiencing full sight loss too.

Beano created the story in partnership with the Guide Dog charity to highlight the important role guide dogs can play in people’s lives.

It is hoped that this new story will go some way to tackle the statistic that 83 percent of adults with sight loss were bullied for the condition as children.

It features iconic characters Dennis the Menace and his trusty dog Knasher, who learn how guide dogs can allow those with sight loss to lead more independent lives.

This is done via another well-known Beano character, Erbert, who reveals to his friends that he is suffering from sight loss in the new story.

The Beano has collaborated with a charity to raise awareness of sight loss in young people (Supplied)
The Beano has collaborated with a charity to raise awareness of sight loss in young people (Supplied)

The revelation allows the topic of buddy dogs to be brought up – animals who can help increase the confidence of those suffering sight loss.

This has a real-world link to youngster Alex McQueen, aged seven, from the West Midlands, who is turned into his own Beano character alongside his buddy dog Chance.

He is not the only real person to have cameos in the story either and so too does Hester Poole, aged 16, and her guide dog Pickle.

Alex’s mother, Lindsey McQueen, said: “For Alex and Chance to be turned into comic characters in Beano is extremely exciting for him and all the family. Not just because he will be appearing in the comic, but because he is excited to show off Chance to the world.

“Guide Dogs has been supporting Alex since he was four years old and changed his life when Chance the buddy dog came home in 2022. They have a special bond that has helped both practically with Alex’s visual impairment but also with his confidence and given him a best friend.”

Alex and his dog Chance have been immortalised by the Beano (PA)
Alex and his dog Chance have been immortalised by the Beano (PA)

The collaboration also has personal significance for the Beano Studios’ Editorial Director, Craig Grham, who himself suffers from sight loss.

He said: “At Beano, it’s important to us to reflect kids’ experiences and help them navigate life with the fun and mischief that all kids should get to enjoy. BEANO Presents - A Buddy for Life has given us the opportunity to talk at length about sight loss, which has been a particularly special project for me as someone who has a visual impairment.

“We hope that this special Guide Dogs comic story brings joy to kids, whilst also helping them understand more about sight loss, how to be there for their friends and highlights the services available to kids and young people that Guide Dogs offer.”

A Buddy for Life is available to enjoy in audio and print form from today (1 May).