Friday, March 19, 2010
Dennis the Menace is STILL Fun to Read
When I was a kid (70s/80s/now), I bought comic books off a spinner rack at the 7-11 among other places that don't sell comics anymore. Anyway, back then, there were a few different publishers than what exists now.
Of course there was Marvel, DC and Archie, but back then there was also Harvey, Gold Key, Charlton and Fawcett.
Fawcett was originally known for their "Captain Marvel Adventures" and "Whiz Comics" comic books among other titles, but by 1953 after the battle with DC about Superman and the burgeoning furor over comic books that led to the "Comic Code Authority", Fawcett through in the towel.
Ironically, that same year, a comic book debuted by a different publisher called "Dennis the Menace", based on the Hank Ketcham comic strip that debuted in 1951. (There is also a British "Dennis the Menace" that also debuted that same year (1951).)
The comic book changed publishers a few times and by the 60s, settled in at Fawcett, who started publishing again and the "Dennis the Menace" comic books, exclusively. Fawcett also started distributing the Archie comic books as well around this time, but that's another story.
By the 70s, when I was reading, there were three "Dennis the Menace" titles, the main one, "Dennis the Menace and his Friends" and "Dennis the Menace Bonus Magazine". There was also a digest called "Pocket Full of Fun". The titles were published into the early 80s when Marvel took over briefly. There hasn't been a new "Dennis the Menace" comic book in the US since 1982.
Although I purchased these regularly during the 70s, it was never my intention to get a complete run, mainly because of the constant reprinting, I saw virtually every story. The image above is a typical example. They must have reissued "Dennis the Menace in Mexico" at least a dozen times as part of the "Bonus Magazine" series.
So as far as getting a complete set, thanks to Lee Hester of Lee's Comics, every so often he buys a new collection of "Dennis" books and invariably, he has ones I don't have, so I buy them and they are relatively inexpensive, and so I almost have a complete run of all the books. I think I am missing 145 books out of a possible 500 or so books.
I'm in no rush to complete the set as I figure that I will just acquire them slowly over time. It's just fun to get them occasionally and relive old memories of a title long gone, and yes, there are a lot of reprints.