Thursday, 17 March 2011


He’s way past being old enough to know better. He comes decked out in red and black, his calling is causing trouble and he’d probably think me a softy. Yes, my number one cartoon mascot, Dennis the Menace, is sixty today! Excuse me while I have a celebratory sip from my Dennis mug.

Of course no-one cares in the least about anything he’s done in the last twenty years, but that tends to be the fate of all cartoon mascots – the icon becomes completely detached from the character.

This BBC News item isn’t a bad piece, though the adventurous Minnie the Minx is probably a closer successor to Just William than the rambunctious Dennis. It even quotes from Beano artist and British comics historian Lew Stringer. (Whose Blimey! blog I’d heartily recommend to someone with an interest in the subject.)

The story of his name coming from a Music Hall song was new to me, and I thought it a little too close to Terry Nation’s non-existent encyclopedia. Indeed at first all the net references I found to it seemed suspiciously recent and referring back to that one Beano page. But then I came across this...

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