Monday, March 30, 2009

Number 497

Al Wiseman

Al Wiseman was Hank Ketcham's assistant on Dennis the Menace, but where I encountered him was in the comic book versions of Dennis. Wiseman's artwork was excellent, and not only did he do a great job on Dennis and the other characters, but he could really draw architecture. He gave us a view of 1950s suburban America at Dennis' eye-level.

There were a series of special giant comics that came along in the late '50s-early '60s: Dennis the Menace In Mexico, in Hollywood, in Hawaii, etc. Where they were different for me was that Al Wiseman and writer Fred Toole had write-ups in the comics. They were given credit! Wiseman and Toole got their names and photos in the books. Ketcham must've really thought a lot of them to allow that.

This fun take on Treasure Island from Dennis' point of view is from Dennis the Menace #17, 1956. It was reprinted a couple of times. I think it's an excellent example of Toole and Wiseman's superior work on Dennis.


Tamfos said...

That's Wiseman's great lettering too, by the way. He could do it all.

These old Dennis Giants were gold mines. They were virtual clinics on how to 1) Draw everything. 2)Tell a story. 3)Effective silhouetting. 4)Ape another artists style. A huge influence on a young Dan Clowes (again, note the lettering).

Pappy said...

Yeah! What you said! I agree with all of it.

I like Ketcham's style but was never a fan of the Dennis daily panel. On the other hand I love the Toole/Wiseman Dennis.

Tamfos said...

I also respond more to Wiseman and Toole's work than I do to the Dennis daily. As you must know, Wiseman (and probably Toole) also ghosted some of Ketcham's "Dennis" Sundays. They're easy to spot. Much tighter than Ketcham's (or Fitzgerald's -- another ghost of Ketcham's).

Any time you want to post more Wiseman, please do. As you point out, the Wiseman blog is long dead, so if not here, where?

Vince M said...

Wiseman ruled! In my opinion he was one of the best Dennis artists ever.

I'd love to see more.

ttw said...

Thanks for posting these scans - Al was my husband's father so it's always nice to see nice comments about his work/art.