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Dennis the Menace turns 60

This year, Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace will turn 60. It started in 16 papers on March 12, 1951. It is now in over 1,000 papers world-wide.

Hank Ketcham created his little character in October 1950, with inspiration coming from his own 4-year-old son, Dennis, and a comment made by his wife after an especially trying day with the rambunctious little rascal: “Your son is a menace!” Dennis made his official debut on March 12, 1951 in 16 newspapers; today, the comic is distributed in print and online by King Features Syndicate to more than 1,000 newspapers worldwide. Dennis Mitchell has endeared himself to generations of fans. Good-hearted but mischievous, Dennis is forever testing the patience of his loving parents and next-door neighbors, ensuring that their lives are anything but ordinary.

Hank Ketcham was legendary for being one of the most exquisitely skilled cartoonists of all time, and every “Dennis the Menace” panel is a tiny masterpiece of design and draftsmanship. In 1995, Ketcham stepped back from penning the comic and took a presiding role over the activities of creating “Dennis” with the help of his long-time assistants. Since Ketcham’s death in 2001, the fine team of artists he handpicked has continued his creation: Marcus Hamilton draws the daily panel, and Ron Ferdinand, the Sunday comic.

Community Comments

#1 JD Rasmussen
@ 6:16 am

If you haven’t gone back and read some classic “Dennis” lately, you’re really missing out. Hank Ketcham truly fashioned a classic.

And congratulations to Marcus, Ron, Dottie and the whole current Dennis team!

#2 Pete McDonnell
@ 11:56 am

I haven’t seen the panel in the papers for a while. I got the book the reprinted the first 2 years of panels, from Fantagraphics. It’s really great stuff. Ketcham was an amazing cartoonist .

#3 Joel Bader
@ 3:37 pm

Many thanks to Hank Ketcham and his successors for over sixty years of laughs!!!!

#4 Ron Ferdinand
@ 6:33 pm

Thanks, for the kind words, folks!

#5 Todd Dolce
@ 1:34 pm

Ron, you do great work!! I can simply stare at the artwork for hours when looking at the strip on Sundays! I did read somewhere that you employ a LAMY Fountain Pen with a medium nib for your line work.

That nib isn’t very flexible,…so I thought,…so I’m wondering if you go back in and meticulously fill out areas of line with a brush to give it a variable width look.

#6 John Read
@ 1:54 pm

Todd, that is such a cartoonist geek question!

Wish Ron had answered it for you.

#7 Todd Dolce
@ 8:36 pm

John,….it just comes natural,….I’m a process and tool freak!

#8 Keith Moyer
@ 10:34 am

Dennis has been a favotite for years! I thought of an alternate to the 2-9 snowman theme: Margaret says, “How come…?”
Dennis replies, “It takes too long to hollow out the head!”

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