Dennis the Menace has one of the most recognisable faces in Britain. That chaotic shock of hair, that round face, that grin.
I like the simplicity and clarity of this screenprint: the black-and-white face, the splash of colour.
And he’s also come to be associated with the colour red – the colour of the stripe on his football jersey. So I’ve given the black-and-white portrait a red bar at the bottom of the page. Incidentally, the publisher DC Thomson didn’t always insist on Dennis having a red jersey – in the early days, annuals featuring the comic-book star would sometimes give him a blue or green top, depending on where in the book the strip fell as printing considerations dictated which pages had which colour.
This image first appeared in an issue of The Beano annual in the 1960s.
Dennis the Menace, the star of The Beano comic, first appeared in 1951. He has since become a kind of national mascot – what Asterix is to France, or Oor Wullie is to Scotland.
Dennis the Menace has gone through various phases since then, from the pocket-sized Satan of the 1950s, to the pugnacious youth of the 1960s and 1970s to the incorrigible imp of the 1990s.
In the early 1960s, he was joined by his Abyssinian wire-haired tripe house, Gnasher. Gnasher seems to be made of the same kind of thing as Dennis the Menace’s hair – the untamed explosion of black hair symbolic of the chaos they embody.
He is a gift to the screenprinter, from a graphic point of view, with his red-and-white sriped jersey and explosion of black hair.
Standard size: 25cm x 19cm.
Medium size: 48cms x 38cms. Not yet printed. Email me to ask for one.
Large size: 76cms x 56cms. Not yet printed. Email me to ask for one.
Handmade, limited edition screen print on mould-made, cotton paper.
Signed and numbered out of 200 in pencil by the printer, John Patrick Reynolds
© D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd.