Beloved national institution, the world’s longest-running weekly comic and home of the Bash Street Kids, the Beano* has entered the world of politics.
A cease-and-desist letter has been sent to Jacob Rees-Mogg, ordering him to stop impersonating Dennis and Gnasher’s nemesis Walter. A creation of less enlightened times, Walter used to be known as “Walter the Softy”, but now goes by his full name, Walter Brown.
If you can’t read that, it says:
Dear Sir, It has been brought to our attention that you have been infringing on the intellectual property rights of one of our cartoon characters and masquerading as Walter Brown. It is evident that there are numerous instances whereby you have adopted trademarked imagery and brand essences of the character to the benefit of enhancing your career and popularity. This constitutes a clear infringement of our copyright and we draw your attention to numerous instances of you distinctly copying the following attributes of the character Walter Brown, as your own invention including:
1. The character’s hair parting and style
2. The character’s distinctive round reading glasses
3. The character’s choice of spotty ties and vintage apparel
4. The character’s enjoyment of classical music (because he thinks it makes him look clever)
5. The character’s bullish behaviour with peers and stopping others from having fun
6. The character’s insistence to remind others of his father’s successful career
We firmly request that you cease and desist in your ongoing impersonation of the character, which remains the exclusive property of Beano Studios. A swift response on this matter would be greatly appreciated to avoid getting Teacher involved.
The legal letter raises several important points - Rees-Mogg’s hairstyle, glasses, love of spotty ties, general show-offy “ooh, look how posh and clever I am”-ness, silver-spoon-filled gob and existence outside of the real world are all straight from Walter’s playbook. What’s more, Walter first appeared in the Beano in 1953 while Rees-Mogg wasn’t even born until 1969.
(Side note: Jacob Rees-Mogg is only 48. How is Jacob Rees-Mogg only 48? He’s clearly about 110. How does someone who’s never done a day of work in their lives look like that? He looks like an antique bannister, or a chess piece that hates poor people, or a homophobic, woman-loathing Victorian skittle.)
Mike Stirling, Head of Beano Studios Scotland said: “We were flattered when we discovered that Jacob Rees-Mogg has dedicated his life to impersonating one of my favourite Beano characters, young Walter. Nonetheless, as a hard-working British media company, we would prefer the public gets its Walter fix in the pages of our comics and on Beano.com, rather than played out on the political stage. In other words, bog off Rees-Mogg!”
Rees-Mogg’s office has yet to get back to the comic, which will be celebrating its 80th anniversary this summer. They launched a CGI series on CBBC last year, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed, which is way better than you’d expect it to be (especially if you are about six).
(* It’s officially just called Beano now, without the The, but come on, it’s The Beano, it feels weird not saying The.)