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Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace

Fact File


'Look! Here's a new pal you'll enjoy - He's the world's wildest boy!'

Early in 1951, Beano Editor George Moonie, sub-editor Ian 'Chiz' Chisholm, and David Law, an Edinburgh born artist who had drawn cartoons for newspapers like Dundee's 'Evening Telegraph', began work on a new character whose name was inspired by the Music Hall song "Dennis the Menace from Venice". Davey Law, adapting a design scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet by scriptwriter Chiz, brought a unique vitality to the artwork and this naughty boy character was immediately popular, though possibly not immediately recognisable. In that initial half page strip, Dennis's costume included a shirt and tie - the famous red and black jersey didn't appear till two months later.

Dennis 1

Of all the characters, Dennis has emerged as the firm favourite, and his half page strip was swiftly increased to a full page. Dennis was such a hit with readers that, in 1953, he also began appearing in his own spin-off strip in newspaper 'The Weekly News', also drawn by Law, and his exploits continued there for a further four years. A second spin-off, in the pages of The Beano again, ran for a few months in 1957 and 58 - 'Bringing Up Dennis', drawn by Ken Wilkins, showed the menace's early life as a troublesome tot.

In August of 1968, Dennis's faithful sidekick, the extremely rare Abyssinian Wire-haired Tripe Hound, Gnasher, joined in the mayhem, completing a classic comedy double act. Dennis and Gnasher replaced Biffo the Bear to become The Beano cover star in 1974, taking over both front and back pages. Two years later the Dennis the Menace Fan Club (including Gnasher's Fang Club, complete with the famous furry Gnasher badge) was formed. The club reached 1,000,000 members in 1988 and led onto the launch of The Beano Club.

Dennis 9

By the time of Dennis's promotion to the front cover, Dave Sutherland had replaced Davey Law as Dennis's artist. Dave's initial Dennis strips matched closely to Law's style, but over the course of the 28 years in which he drew Dennis and Gnasher's weekly exploits, he developed his own highly recognisable style.

Throughout this time, Dennis's popularity continued to grow. Gnasher gained his own spin-off strip, 'Gnasher's Tale', while a further menacing pet, Rasher, was also given his own series in 1984. And the arrival of little sister, Bea, to the household in 1998 led to the 'Bea-ginnings' strip. And Dennis himself proved the perfect host for the Fun Section of boy's comic 'Champ' in the mid-eighties.

Dennis 3

In 1996 Dennis and Gnasher became TV stars in their own animated series, with stars like Billy Connolly, Hugh Laurie, and the Blue Peter team providing guest voices. A further series of animated adventures in 2009 proved a ratings winner.

Have your say!

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  1. metalman
    metalmanSat 21 September 2013 at 4:55PM

    65 and still going strong

    if you agree with me please leave a comment starting with I agree with Metalman

  2. isabellovesmork
    isabellovesmorkWed 24 July 2013 at 5:07PM

    Beano rocks

  3. wacky elliot
    wacky elliotSat 23 March 2013 at 12:46PM

    haha this was when the beano was at its golden age mhahahahahahaha darrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  4. gadgetguy
    gadgetguyFri 22 February 2013 at 10:36AM

    I love the beano more than any of you I have counted all of my beanos and in total I have got 2569 true fact

  5. Mario Toad and Luigi
    Mario Toad and LuigiSun 23 September 2012 at 12:16PM

    I can't believe Dennis and Gnasher was in 1951 and is still going!

  6. Matthew The Menace!
    Matthew The Menace!Sun 9 September 2012 at 8:23PM

    What they should do is there should be a retro page of dennis first apperance and tells how he got his top! the title should be called "Dennis origins" WHO AGREES!

  7. pestocat123
    pestocat123Tue 31 July 2012 at 1:15AM

    i love the beano it has changed tho so so much i got all the beano books an the 2012 ones i hope i will get more

  8. arceus god of life and beano12
    arceus god of life and beano12Mon 23 July 2012 at 9:19PM

    ahhh now classical dennis he is the best but my fav comic is tom dick and sally

  9. Teaandbiccies
    TeaandbicciesMon 7 November 2011 at 6:56PM

    The early 'Noughties' Dennis is my favourite.

    The new one kind of looks like the '60's version, who was cool, but I think he reached the peak of creation around 2000.

    Gnasher was quite ugly then, too, which in this case is a good thing, not bad at all.

  10. poohead
    pooheadWed 26 October 2011 at 5:56PM

    I want this denis back !! copy if you agree

  11. beanofan10
    beanofan10Tue 13 September 2011 at 3:53PM

    I <3 beano

  12. Alice and Zuky
    Alice and ZukySat 10 September 2011 at 11:52AM

    The Beano is AWESOME! I spent loads of my money buying subscription so I could read it every week. A message to the Beano team - please can you put the strip on the Beano mug in the Retro Beano section of the Beano - I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!

  13. Alice and Zuky
    Alice and ZukySat 10 September 2011 at 11:49AM

    How do you get an avatar?

  14. lilycool32
    lilycool32Sun 31 July 2011 at 1:33PM

    dennis is cool

  15. youku874
    youku874Sun 24 July 2011 at 7:15PM

    EEEK! when i first saw this it was like a mashed up timeline! how could dennis be a kid while he's suppose to grow up about now! and in the retro he's already?! looks like the retro was classic mashed up physical timeline!

  16. Blue Beano
    Blue BeanoSat 4 June 2011 at 6:19PM

    I love looking at beano strips from the past

  17. The smasher :)
    The smasher :)Wed 27 April 2011 at 8:46PM

    dennis the menace and gnasher is my fav comic out of te beano :)

    gnasher is the best dog on earth :):)

  18. The smasher :)
    The smasher :)Wed 27 April 2011 at 8:41PM

    beano is the best ultimate comic on earth ihave all the beanos all the way from 2011 down tl 1970

  19. abbie2000
    abbie2000Sun 24 April 2011 at 6:21PM

    dennis i got benao message sent from me . it for you and your pal from beano

  20. cheekychica
    cheekychicaThu 24 March 2011 at 6:10PM

    I think gnasher is so funny and cute! =)

  21. abbadabba
    abbadabbaThu 17 March 2011 at 6:59PM

    how do you get a avatar?

  22. BeanoMinxterGrace
    BeanoMinxterGraceMon 21 February 2011 at 2:35PM

    Amazing but ,Digifiend, they havent mentiond his Nan so why should they mention Gnipper?????????????

  23. michael_the_menace
    michael_the_menaceFri 11 February 2011 at 7:30PM

    DENNIS IS COOL!!!!!!!

  24. Thebeanorox988
    Thebeanorox988Sat 5 February 2011 at 6:32PM


    Sorry but I am blue. Geddit? Blue! HAHAHAHA!!! Blue! Sorry! ALARM SOUNDS written in ALLCAPS! That was a BRILLIANT joke I just said!

  25. bigeggo1942
    bigeggo1942Sun 23 January 2011 at 5:24PM


  26. BigBossyx3
    BigBossyx3Sat 25 December 2010 at 12:15AM

    the new dennis isent that col...

  27. Sbogs
    SbogsSat 18 December 2010 at 8:27PM

    I have a badge from dennis`s fan club

  28. Sam
    SamSat 27 November 2010 at 2:29PM


    Yep, Chowder. And the Cramp Twins, for that matter.

  29. Biffo
    BiffoFri 26 November 2010 at 8:56PM

    I think Denis's granny shouldn't own a pig because Denis had rasher who was a better one than Denis's granny has.

  30. DemonReader
    DemonReaderFri 26 November 2010 at 12:54PM

    Long Live Dennis The Menace, King of the Pests, Destroyer of Softies, and the soon to be Ruler of the World! *Clears throat* Moving on, there should be some mention of Gnipper and how Dennis climbed to the front cover.

  31. GT9
    GT9Thu 25 November 2010 at 6:53PM


  32. Toajedi
    ToajediTue 23 November 2010 at 6:16PM

    Dennis used to wear a white shirt and stripy tie!!

  33. Digifiend
    DigifiendThu 18 November 2010 at 2:09PM

    @Jonnie12, on that logic Rasher, who no longer exists because they replaced him with Granny's other pet (Harley), shouldn't be mentioned either. They should've mentioned Gnasher And Gnipper and Go Granny Go.

  34. BeanoJr'74
    BeanoJr'74Wed 17 November 2010 at 8:34PM

    I actually wasn't sure if that 2009 series would get such high ratings. After all, modern cartoons have really declined and I was thinking this would follow the way of Chowder (rubbish Cartoon Network cartoon), but boy, I was wrong!

  35. Jonnie12
    Jonnie12Wed 17 November 2010 at 4:47PM

    Gnipper isn't dennis' pet anymore, grannys. Therefore he has no need to be on here!

  36. Digifiend
    DigifiendTue 16 November 2010 at 11:11PM

    What? No mention of Gnipper?