Thursday, June 07, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! HALF HITCH by Hank (Dennis the Menace) Ketcham (Fawcett Gold Medal Books, 1970)

I always got the idea from those DENNIS THE MENACE cartoons that Hank Ketchum was a stereotypical horny sailor even after his tour of doody led to a successful career as a comic artist! It's not hard to see why if only because of those panels where Dennis' dad (aka hisself, an ex-sailor it is oft mentioned) is seen with a crooked smile stumbling outta some 3-D South Seas travelogue or the time the entire fambly went to Hawaii and he's staring rapturously at some young island maiden doing the hula (well, that one was done years after Ketcham's demise but it might have been created in homage to his love for Polynesian pudenda). And that's not forgetting the ones where a buncha sailors are seen at the park ogling Dennis' mother or Dennis wants to play catch with some shore leave sucker making out with a bee-youtiful gal. My theorem is only exacerbated by this little known side project of his that I first discovered via a newspaper read during a fambly vacation and thought, hey why not pick the paperback collection up just for kicks?

Actually HALF HITCH wasn't that good a may be overtly sexy 'n all but in fact DENNIS is even SEXIER i.e. you'll never see Hitch peeking into the shower when some luscious neighbor's innit just to say "hi" or walk in on mom inna tub or comment on his dad's testosterone overdrive. If anything it's just a nautical (and vastly subpar) version of BEETLE BAILEY complete with many of the expected similarities from a fuddy duddy chaplain to an inefficient captain, lousy cook and an anthropomorphic animal in the Snoopy/Otto vein who in this case can actually talk (a seagull!). And---natch---loads of gals only they just don't look as hot here as they did in DENNIS a good two decades earlier.

And that is strange, since when these strips were being created females as a whole pretty much still had that visual oomph before the Women's Lippers brainwashed millions of adolescent ovary pumpers into thinking that the curvy way wasn't the proper route to go and that total karmik expression could only be attained through a weekend at a lesbian clambake workshop dealing with the proper usages of turkey basters and which washed up rock star to use as a donor.

Not to say that there are some fun gags once in awhile (and I do mean "awhile") but thankfully HALF HITCH got washed down the comic strip memory hole and Ketcham and his helpers stuck to DENNIS. At least that had the potential for a good set of gags and an even sexier undercurrent. Well, we do have this paperback to remember it by, but sheesh, if it only coulda been funny...


top_cat_james said...

Ketcham was still with us when the Hawaii episodes appeared in 2000. There's also the 1958 Giant comic book for an earlier Hawaiian vacation storyline. Both were published last year by Papercutz in an entertaining little volume.

Christopher Stigliano said...

s funny, but I saw the Hawaiian comic only a good four or so years ago and it was not done up by Ketcham or his acolytes for that matter! Methinks that the new staff is swiping old story lines due to a lack of any fresh approach as was done in many another comic strip throughout the years.

Bill S. said...

Thanks for illuminating us about what exactly this book is.
This is something I've seen over the years in the $2 - $4 range at used bookstores, glanced through, and then put back on the shelf, thinking 1) I could use that $2-$4 for a beer, which I would enjoy more; 2) I'll see this again at a cheaper price; 3) I can live without this.