Tuesday, March 9, 2010

DENNIS THE MENACE No. 62, Sept. 1962

This post is for Albie’s kids, Gideon and Haddie. Both like sitting with pop in front of the computer, reading Kids’ Comics. Guys, Dennis cracks me up, too, so this one’s for you two!!

Dennis was drawn by many great artists in this title, but talk of “best” always boils down to either Al Wiseman or Owen Fitzgerald (both can make your jaw drop). I am in the Fitzgerald camp (see below). His loosey-goosey figures send me. This is from Dennis the Menace No. 62, September 1962, and the dazzling writing is pure Fred Toole.

“That’s what I call psychology,” says husband, Henry, in this next story, so proud. “That’s what I call fibbing,” says wife, giving her husband a typical “Alice” look. What a mom! What a family.

One wish? Every human in the world could have one childhood memory of a day like the one in the following story. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. What a family.

14 comments:

  1. That was way better than any single Dennis strip~! Now I wanna fly on a Helium Sea-Horse~! I enjoyed the Walt-Kelly-Style lettering in this one too~!

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  2. Lysdexicuss: I think we all want a ride on the helium seahorse. -- Mykal

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  3. These are awesome!
    Great gags and linework!

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  4. I couldn't agree more, Mike! -- Mykal

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  5. Wow best dennis post yet!

    And needless to say, Haddie and the Gid were SO tickled to see their names up on the monitor! LOL you shoulda seen it!

    Thanks, Mykal... you rock, bro!

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  6. Al Wiseman was great...I love his backgrounds. He and Ketcham were masters of economic cartooning, no unnecessary lines, all drawn with elegant simplicity. They make it look so easy!

    And I agree with Lysdexicuss: I think Dennis worked much better as comic book stories than as a single-panel cartoon (not to take anything away from Ketcham, I admire him greatly)...Dennis just works better when he has more time (and panels) to create menace!

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  7. Hey, Doug: I think of the three cartoonists (Wiseman, Fitzgerald, and Ketcham), Ketcham is still my favorite. I believe he has it all - the ability to draw a loose, relaxed character with such incredible purity (ala Fitzgerald) and also do beautiful backgrounds with a kind of formal composition (ala Wiseman). His easy, few lines always strike deeply into a character, or a mood or moment, with staggering, uncanny depth. I vacillate between Wiseman and Fitzgerald, depending on my point in life. For years, I was for Wiseman. Now, as I enter my senior years, I appreciate the deceptive simplicity of Fitzgerald. Perhaps in my final years, Wiseman will return with his strict, old-school draftsmanship.

    But really, whether we are talking comic strip vs. single panel, or which cartoonist of these three is a favorite; we have the pleasure of trying to decide between degrees of "10" on a 10 scale.

    Doug! One of the first posts from Greatest Ape I ever commented on was a Dennis/Wiseman comic, if I recall correctly! -- Mykal

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  8. Darn, I always forget about Fitzgerald! I've been aware of the Toole/Wiseman team much longer than I've known about Fitzgerald on Dennis ( I love his Starlet O'Hara and Moronica strips). And it can be hard to ID artists when they can match styles as well as these guys could. That's what I get for skimming the intros! What year did Fitzgerald take over for Wiseman, do you know offhand?

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  9. Doug: No Sweat - I always appreciate the comments! The first Fitzgerald Dennis was in November of 1961. -- Mykal

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  10. not a big Dennis fan, but i always thought the art was great and it does evoke a sunny, suburban feel. i have to admit the writing is excellent too, but reading these comics as a youth convinced me that having kids was far too risky a venture. being an uncle is enough for me!

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  11. Prof. I think Dennis worried a lot of people, including my father; who always said what Dennis needed most was a good, sound . . . Well, you get the idea.

    The older I get, the more I love Dennis. The writing and art have always been great, but I find myself harkening back more and more to that "sunny, suburban feel." Getting soft. -- Mykal

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