Thursday, 17 March 2011

Happy Birthday Dennis!

THE YEAR OF THE MENACE BEGINS!  Celebrate Dennis the Menace’s 60th Anniversary with The Beano

When a member of the Beano staff drew a rough outline sketch (literally on the back of a cigarette packet!) of a spiky-haired boy on a winter’s day in 1951, few would realise the impact it would have. That basic sketch, under the work of artist David Law, quickly became Dennis the Menace and his first appearance in The Beano was on March 17th 1951 - 60 years ago this week! But far from getting his bus pass, Dennis remains as menacing as ever and, thanks to the magic of comic strips, hasn’t aged a day either. Having been promoted to the front cover in September 1974 and now the undisputed star of the long-running weekly UK comic, The Beano, Dennis has evolved with the times but he retains many of the classic elements that have so endeared him to children of all ages for the last 60 years. Contrary to popular media belief, Dennis still has his catapult and his pea-shooter and isn’t afraid to use them!

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Dennis the Menace’s first appearance with a special issue, on-sale on Wednesday 16th March, The Beano will embark on a year of celebration, known as the Year of the Menace, including a focus on ‘classic’ menace give-aways including catapults, pea-shooters and the like. One of the earliest ‘menacings’ in the Year of the Menace will involve US President, Barack Obama, as well as the cross-party support of David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg!
Beano Editor, Mike Stirling, said, “There’s no question that Dennis continues to appeal to kids of all ages and he remains the quintessential menace. Children want to be like him and really challenge the establishment - that’s why he continues to appeal.”

“We always aim to give our readers what they want”, continued Stirling. “Between our research insight and from meeting fans, we know Beano readers are smart kids who know what’s going on the world – they’ll be excited by the thought of Dennis and the President meeting but, of course, The Beano is bigger than any President!  It’s a huge honour to be immortalised in the Beano and, as a big comic fan, we would expect President Obama to be thrilled to be recognised by the World’s most famous comic”.

 Dennis is headed for another 60 years of success, allied to a range of developments outside the pages of the famous comic. As well as the hugely successful annuals and the brand new Beano website,, Dennis is licensed across a range of different product areas from food to clothing. There is also a Beano musical stage-show is in development. The continuing popularity of the character is reinforced by his move into an animated series, Dennis & Gnasher, which has proved massively popular on CBBC – being one of the most successful shows on the network, having been seen by around 15m UK viewers. The show is exported to Australia, India, continental Europe, and as of October 2010, the United States meaning Dennis now has the platform to be a global menace! The Beano is also doing its bit for this year’s Red Nose Day for Comic Relief, with a special edition of the monthly Beano magazine, BeanoMAX, now on sale.
Celebrate 60 years of Dennis the Menace with The Beano this week.

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