This week’s edition of the Beano contains the first of the continuing adventures of Wenlock and Mandeville, the Olympics and Paralympics mascots who are also horrifying monstrosities straight out of a fever dream.
The comic, a speedy little one-page affair, features the pair going for a swim, an act which should be impossible given their seemingly metallic composition and stubby psuedo-legs.
The plot itself involves Wenlock – the orange one with an eye which is permanently set into a frown, thus making him look like an alien overlord setting out to conquer the earth even when he does happy-seeming things like jumping and high-fiving – learning how to swim. While the character’s spoken language reveals a happy pair of childish things mucking around in the water, the subtext hints at a far more disturbing plot involving attempted murder.
Mandeville encourages Wenlock – who has clearly communicatied his/her/its discomfort at the idea of leaving the relative safety of the poolside – into the centre of the pool with the promise of an inflatable ring. Just as Wenlock leaves his/her/its comfort zone, Mandeville cruelly removes the stopper of the ring, an act that will almost certainly lead to the death of Wenlock, assuming that the one-eyed organism breathes air, which is frankly not an obvious conclusion at all.
Somehow – and perhaps this is an innate ability of whatever the two mascots are supposed to be – the near-death experience teaches Wenlock how to swim, and also makes him/her/it scream “I love swimming!” in what is surely some ghastly attempt to appease his/her/its captor.
Update: As a commenter points out, Wenlock and Mandeville have actually been terrifying children for a year now, with this strip being published in August 2011.