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Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace 1957-1958

    Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace 1957-1958 (Vol. 4)

    Peanuts was cerebral in many levels. Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace was a one panel fast paced gag of mischievous child behavior. Denis was the embodiment of every plotting kid in North America. I grew up in an environment in school where we would get a scholastic mini catalog with the latest books each month and there were two things I always looked for Marmaduke and Denis the Menace. Seems Denis still has legs. Marmaduke on the other hand just disappeared. Both strips resembled each other in many ways but were of different polarities. From canine to kid maelstrom. Denis is a pleasure to read each time it comes out from Fantagraphics. It’s unique shape is a compliment to the format it represents. I love this strip, it made me want to get an ice-cream from Diary Queen. Too bad his face no longer graces the establishment. This is Fantagraphics fourth book of the series. With their stable of Peanuts, Denis, Popeye, and Pogo, it is a safe bet that Fantagraphics has a great future and a perfect niche.

    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.

    Tony M.