England rugby union star Jason Robinson will be marketed as the Beano’s Billy Whizz in a major tie-up with the comic’s owner DC Thomson.
A range of merchandising will be aimed at the youth market. The range will include clothing and bags and will be available in high street stores by Christmas.
It is also understood that companies with a “speedy” image, such as Kwik Fit, have been approached for tie-ins. Courier and Internet companies are looking at deals.
Robinson and the Beano decided to go into partnership after the rugby icon’s appearance in a June edition of the comic, which coincided with the British Lions tour of Australia.
The licensing and copyright agreement will be jointly owned by Jason Robinson – through sports marketing company Octagon – and DC Thomson comics.
Octagon group director Clifford Bloxham says: “Jason is a leader on the field – now we believe we can build him into a leading brand by focusing particularly on his speed.”
Martin Lindsay, licensing manager for DC Thomson, adds: “It’s great to have Jason on board, he’s one of the best players in the world and has all the credentials that The Beano wants to be associated with.”