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This is 29 Acacia Road, and this is Eric, a schoolboy who leads an exciting double life. For when Eric eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurs!
Bananaman is a British comic series about Eric Wimp (or Twinge), a young boy who could change into a brawny but not terribly bright superhero by eating a banana. He fought to keep the world safe from a bevy of equally goofy villains. Originally the cover feature in Nutty, it carried over when the strip moved to The Dandy (where much was made of the slight similarity in appearance between Bananaman and Desperate Dan).
Later the comics were adapted into a series of animated shorts, which is how the character is best known outside Britain. In the United States, Nickelodeon showed Bananaman as a supporting segment of Danger Mouse.
Now also appears in The Beano.
Bananaman provides examples of:
- The Commissioner Gordon: Police Chief O'Reilly.
- Distaff Counterpart: Bananagirl, in The Beano's Super School.
- Prior to that strip, a two-part story from the nineties depicted his cousin, Bananawoman.
- Dumb Muscle: Bananaman, who has "the muscles of twenty men (twenty big men) and the brains of twenty mussels."
- Evil Counterpart: Appleman, whose costume was identical to that of Bananaman, only a different fruit.
- Forgot I Could Fly: In mid-flight. Yes.
- Hour of Power: The thing about Eric changing into Bananaman is it only lasts for a while, and tends to wear off at the worst possible time.
- I Love Nuclear Power: One possible origin story involved General Blight stealing a valuable radioactive material and hiding it inside a banana, only for baby Eric (just having been born) to eat it and... turn into a fully adult Bananaman wearing a nappy and still sounding like a baby).
- Lantern Jaw of Justice
- Master of Disguise: General Blight, although usually the only person he's shown fooling is Bananaman himself, which is no great feat.
- Multiple Choice Past: Bananaman had several mutually contradictory origin stories, as did his villains (No Continuity). One particularly peculiar one (from a Dandy annual) gave him a personal connection to all his villains due to them all having been at school together with Eric... except Eric is still a schoolboy, so how come they have all managed to grow into adults in the intervening time?
- Nephewism: Bananagirl in The Beano comic strip Super School is, according to the Beano website, Bananaman's niece. However, the two characters have never been side to side.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Beyond his usual Flying Brick abilities, the animated shorts tended to give Bananaman whatever banana-themed gadget would be most helpful at the time.
- Officer O'Hara: Police Chief O'Reilly — probably a direct Shout-Out to Chief O'Hara in Batman.
- Older Alter Ego
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Taken to extremes at times (one villain's disguise as a ticket collector consisted entirely of a hat with the word 'TICKETS' printed on it).
- Power-Up Food: Bananas, of course.
- Ret Canon: In the original comic strip, Eric's full name was Eric Wimp, and he had a shaven head for no explained reason. When the animated series made him Eric Twinge and gave him Idiot Hair, the strip followed suit.
- Rogues Gallery: General Blight, Dr. Gloom, Appleman, Auntie, Weatherman, Captain Cream, the Nerks, the Heavy Mob...
- Rule 63: Bananagirl like Bananaman only shorter.
- Sidekick Ex Machina: Bananaman's pet, Crow, often had to remind his hero of things like the fact that Bananaman has superpowers.
- Super-Powered Alter Ego: It's never exactly made clear what the relationship between Eric and Bananaman is, but Eric doesn't appear to be a complete idiot...
- Thematic Rogues Gallery: Bananaman doesn't actually have one, but Appleman is clearly a parody of the kind of villains this trope produces.
- There Was a Door: Bananaman often enters Chief O'Reilly's office via smashing through the wall. Became a Running Gag at times, such as O'Reilly preparing for this only for Bananaman to enter through the ceiling or floor instead.
- Unsound Effect: A series of Written Sound Effects representing a fight in the pitch dark in one cartoon eventually ended in "ETC!"
- Visual Pun: In one strip Bananaman comes up with a plan to trap a villain by 'wearing his thinking cap', which is a giant flat cap with a set of Rube Goldberg clicking cogwheels and whistling steam valves on top.
- Whole Costume Reference: Bananaman's costume is basically that of Batman, but yellow.