Wednesday, October 21, 2020


A huge tip o' the toupee goes to reg'lar (he eats his branflakes!) reader Top Cat James for recommending this collection of early DENNIS THE MENACE comic book stories that somehow slipped away somewhere. And hey, if you're a fan of the original Dennis comic (as opposed to the pallid and toned down version seen today) then you too will really enjoy glomming these early-fifties stories which I somehow get the suspicion might have rattled ol' Dr. Fred Wertham even more than the Teenie Weenies ever could!

Yes, these early stories show a Dennis that couldn't be tamed no matter how much Ritalin was pumped into his Maypo, what with him getting his weak-kneed dad into trouble with everyone from the cops to bowling partners plus giving burglars more'n just what for! in situations that would make THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF look more like a Dr.Seuss book.  

'n sure you've been in on the DENNIS  comic book game even during his post-Fawcett days when the kid even had a stay at Marvel (which has been documented on this blog previously...try findin' it yourself you spoonfed fanabla you!) but these early tales have THREE important things goin' for 'em...first off they were made inna early-Fifties which was a particularly fertile time for comics on all fronts. Second, these stories are not approved by the Comics Code Authority thus the kid can get away with just about anything short of murder. And third-ly, the artwork by whoever it was that Hank Ketcham had drawing these things for him (Lee Holley?) is far better'n the chicken scratch that passes for the comic these days. Yeah, the Dennis of 2020 ain't that bad when compared with the work being provided by the usual ditzy dames who have been drawing comic strips for ages (never let a woman do a man's job!) but it still is no match for the general sway 'n feel you get plenty of here!

So settle back and let your inner suburban slob blubberfarm take over with these extremely wild DENNIS THE MENACE stories that tend to end in more of a violent brawl than even the Kree/Skrull War did! And if it weren't enough there are tales from such characters as Punky (who did make an appearance or two in the newspaper DENNIS comic), Chub and Pee Bee Kappa who are also done up in that fine Ketcham style that really typifies a time in the history of this earth that only a communist would hate to live in. Somehow I think I just alienated a good portion of my readership by typin' that out but wha th' hey???


Bill S. said...

I believe there will be further volumes in this series, as there are other "Menace" comics that are PD (though the trademark is still in force, hence the "Fun With A Menace" name).

Whenever I'm thinking about bashing the modern Dennis The Menace, I go and take a look at the new "Nancy" first. (Or better yet, I DON'T take a look at the new "Nancy," because I might throw something and break a window.) Then the new Dennis does not look so bad.


top_cat_james said...

Artwork here is by Al Wiseman. Holley was only with Ketcham from 1958-62, and did not work on the comic books. He drew the Sunday pages, promotional material, and storybook illustrations.

You are correct when you describe how rough-and-tumble (or should that be Ruff-and-tumble?) these comics are. I've only seen a very few of these stories reprinted in the Seventies' digests--Dennis would have lost his spokestoon gig with Dairy Queen had the execs read the episode with Dennis tormenting a sweet, elderly babysitter (who did him no harm whatsoever) by 1) feeding her dog food 2) locking her out of the house and 3) lying to the police officer who catches her crawling in a widow, resulting in her arrest. Of course, Dennis receives no punishment afterwards, and smiles malevolently as he's tucked in by Alice in the final panel. More volumes, please!

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

The Menace legacy was ruined long before the current era. The 60s TV show was generally cringe-inducing. Even as a kid I knew the episode where the cretin Dennis sings "Silent Night" at the end was just pig slop. What a revolting little suck-up.