Dennis the Menace began on March 14, 1951 and he went on to become the second most popular cartoon kid in the world (after Charlie Brown). The timing was perfect: the post-war generation, at the height of the baby boom, embraced the perennial troublemaker and turned Dennis into a global publishing, merchandising and multi-media phenomenon, with over 50 million book collections sold, the fondly remembered live-action TV show from 1959-63, two major motion pictures in the ’90s, a full-length animated film in 2002, and many other media tie-ins. The strip currently is enjoyed by readers of over 1,000 newspapers every day.
Ketcham captured the mischievousness, rambunctiousness, and anarchy of a kid’s world better than any other cartoonist. The strip appeals to both parents and children -while parents shake their head ruefully at how accurately Ketcham caught the essence of children’s natural zest for mayhem, children identify with Dennis and the chaos that he leaves in his wake. Ketcham’s gags are funny, subtle and touching, and executed with a vivacious, exquisite line.
Ketcham drew Dennis the Menace from 1951 to 1994, when he retired and let his assistant take over the strip. This fourth volume of Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace publishes every single panel strip from 1957 and 1958 in one handsome and thick hardcover volume. Ketcham’s legendary pen and ink work achieves its full flowering in this volume as do the various situations and themes that Ketcham would return to again and again.