Ball Boy is a comic strip in the UK comic The Beano and also the name of the main character. It first appeared in issue 1735, dated 18 October 1975. It features a five-a-side football team (who usually lose all their matches, often 37-0 in some cases) that includes:
- Ball Boy - the captain of the team, Ball Boy bears resemblances to The Dandy's Owen Goal. He plays striker for the team. He has a minor part in The Beano Interactive DVD, playing football with a globe in a geography lesson.
- Titch - A small boy who (ironically considering his height) usually plays in defence. Little is known of Titch, although he is given his own short strip in The Beano Annual 2002.
- Dimmy - Similar to Smiffy from the Bash Street Kids, Dimmy is the team's defender. He looks a lot like Plug.
- Benjy - He is a good player on the team, Benjy seems to be assistant captain and Ball Boy's best friend.
- Goalie - the goalkeeper. This character is an anomaly in the sense that in some strips he is a superb goalkeeper and in others he is comically awful, letting in everything. There are a few strips where he just sits in the corner of the goal, reading, because the rest of the team can't get a shot on target.
Sometimes you see unnamed characters from the team.
Ball Boy's team kit is usually red and black vertical stripes along the t-shirt and black shorts, but has sometimes been blue and black or white and black vertical stripes. Sometimes they get guest players joining the team for 1 strip, like Bea, or Gnasher. The team sometimes also have other players featured, including a recurring black player called Elvis. Paul Gascoigne made a guest appearance in the strip in 1993 in the issue celebrating Roger The Dodger's 40th anniversary when Roger who was appearing in every strip in that week's comic arranged for Gascoigne to sign up for the team.
Ball Boy and his team have both been at two World Cups. In Italy in 1990 featured in that year's Beano Book and a long running strip in the comic during the 1998 finals featuring the team around France.
The strip was drawn by Malcolm Judge until his death in 1989. John Dallas took over from him afterwards, and drew it until his retirement in April 2003. Since then, the artist has been Dave Eastbury. Nigel Parkinson and Tom Paterson both occasionally draw the strip as well.
For issue 3260, dated 8 January 2005, the Ball Boy strip was meant to feature a French footballer called Henry Thierry who wore a red shirt. In the strip he is shown a red card and then runs from the team bath when a snorkel appears close to him saying "Time to va-va-voom" - a reference to the Renault adverts in which Thierry Henry appears. The Beano editor Euan Kerr decided to destroy the entire print run of that comic so as not to risk the striker's wrath, the issue eventually going on sale with a different Ball Boy strip in its place.
Ball Boy also features in The BeanoMAX comic, drawn in the black and blue vertical striped kit, by Nigel Parkinson. This was explained in a March 2007 Beano. Ball Boy's Mum accidentally washed the kits with a blue garment, and it dyed the red stripes dark blue! But the team, who'd complained they needed new kits, were happy, so BB didn't admit what had happened. This strip was drawn by regular artist Dave Eastbury. Strangely Ball Boy was left out in the Beano Annual 2009 which meant either Ball Boy's no longer in the comic or Dave Eastbury decided not to the strip as a one off.
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