Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Synchronicity of Dennis the Menace

On March 12, 1951, Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace comic strip first hit American newspapers. It's still running to this day, in more than 1,000 newspapers, because comic strips never, ever die.
Where it Gets Weird:
Just a few hours before Ketcham's Dennis the Menace hit the nation, on the opposite side of the Atlantic, issue No. 452 of the British comic The Beano hit newsstands even though it was dated 17 March, 1951. This particular comic was notable for featuring the first appearance of what went on to become cartoonist David Law's most famous creation: Dennis the Menace.

Fair to fair, this kid looks like he could kick Dennis's ass.
That creepy muskrat at his feet is supposed to be Dennis' dog.
Where it Gets Even Weirder:
So, their comics strips had the same exact name, and for some bizarre reason were published on the same exact day. That means the guy in the UK just ripped off his American counterpart, right? Or vice versa?

Was this just belated revenge for Yorktown?
Nope. By all accounts, neither man knew, or had any way of knowing, that there was an equivalent comic being developed an ocean away. No lawsuits were filed. After all, if one of them had caught wind of the other ahead of time, he'd have changed the title--it's to neither creator's advantage to create confusion among readers (for all you know the other comic is the worst thing ever). It just appears to be a massive coincidence, or as Carl Jung would have called it, synchronicity.
Besides, aside from this freak occurrence, the two characters had nothing in common. Hank Ketcham's take on Dennis was based on his own son, and David Law's Dennis was more like a gritty reboot of Calvin.

Something tells us this kid actually does piss on stuff in his comics.
Hank Ketcham and David Law decided to amicably continue their separate works, and both characters ended up becoming immensely popular with their respective audiences.

Though they clearly bought their shirts from the same thrift shop.
However, it was Hank Ketcham's Dennis that got made into a movie in 1993 starring Walter Matthau, Marty's mom from Back to the Future, and that blond kid from Rushmore.

Also, a down-and-out Doc Brown had a cameo.
Coincidentally, a totally different Dennis the Menace movie came out in Britain the same year, albeit this film was called Dennis because it was, in fact, a blatant ripoff of Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace. Why they didn't just coincidentally make a film about the UK's Dennis is anyone's guess, but we're willing to bet that it was because such a film would not get a PG rating.

Seriously, this kid rocks.

47 comments:

  1. wow dennis the menace? i used to love that.

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  2. "Seriously, this kid rocks." it sure does
    nice post

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  3. Never liked Dennis. I thought he was a rotten kid.

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  4. Christopher LLyod is my hero

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  5. Oh my ... what is that thing, Dennis' dog? I shouldn't have seen that thing just before going to bed ...

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  6. That's random as hell, but makes me want to watch the live-action version for some reason.

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  7. While Dennis was dull as a stone, the UK Dennis looks more like a punk rocker.,

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  8. NOSTALGIA ATTACK!
    I remember the Dennis the Menace movies, with that scary dude who steals the kids apple, and the other movie with the youth machine or whatever.

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  9. interesting...go on....showin love

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  10. That is really odd.

    They really had no idea of each other?

    Maybe ALIUMS were sending thought-beams of their MASTER-RACE CARTOON.

    It's a conspiracy :O.

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  11. Crazy and cool. I like learning stuff like this. Also thanks for your comment on my blog - and I just wanted to say your comments are great, so thanks :) (oh your blog is great too, of course, and the writing is really strong).

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  12. That's just bizarre. Very interesting coincidence.

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  13. nostalgia aswell, BRITISH DENNIS FTW!

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  14. That must be the workings of quantum mechanics. Information is everywhere and at the same time!

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  15. The Dennis the Menace from USA is the only real one... I agree that the UK version looks like he'd absolutely rape USA Dennis his soul but still, he isn't the real one...

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  16. nice, didn`t know about the uk one :P

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  17. Omfg I nostalgia'ed unbelievably hard at the tramp on the fence from the movie!

    I used to watch this round my nans 24/7

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  18. UK Dennis ad black hair due to WWII (during / after WWII it was more popular to feature non-blond heroes in england)

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  19. science is full of situations where two people invented the same thing at the same time...

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  20. pretty weird. i used to watch the black and white show on nick at night before school.

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  21. I used to have a few issues of the Beano. Good times.

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  22. never heard of the other version - its nice it didnt turn into a lawsuit, things like that wouldn't happen anymore

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