Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Number 654

Dennis in Santa's Village

From Dennis the Menace Giant Christmas Issue #6, 1958, a Fred Toole/Al Wiseman Christmas story.

Dennis is in hyperactive mode for Christmas, and his parents have to appease him. Those of you with small children will appreciate this story. I read it when I was a kid, but didn't recognize myself until I had a kid of my own.

Wiseman's art is great, as always, and Fred Toole's story is full of gags. This 100-page Dennis, which I've hung onto since I bought it 51 years ago, is one of the best kids' comics I own. With their eyes for detail, Toole and Wiseman have captured the essence of being a kid at Christmas.


Chuck Wells said...

That really was a great story, Pappy and I appreciate the added bonus of your thoughts of it, and the fact that you've held onto this neat issue for so long.

Marcus Hamilton, who currently draws the Dennis newspaper strip, is a local Carolina resident and I usually see him at least a couple of times a year. I have a terrific Dennis illustration that he did for me.

Tamfos said...

Thanks, Pappy! I'm always happy to see more Toole/Wiseman Dennis stories! Just gorgeous, and you have to love how they slyly signed their work in the train sequence. Also, look at the fin on that jalopy on the last page! Can you imagine Wiseman trying to make something of 2009 KIA?

Merry Xmas, Pap!

Pappy said...

I loved these stories when I was a kid, but in the '50s I took them for granted. As an adult I see how with some deft strokes, external to the gags, Toole and Wiseman recorded the attitudes and perspective of a suburban, middle-class American family of the 1950s. And that was my life.

Mykal Banta said...

Pappy: I love the art in Dennis the Menace! Toole and Wiseman were the best - You mentioned their care with the details - and How! The exteriors and interiors of Santa's village are incredible. It is always a pleasure to see this strip from these guys - they could draw everything so well. Those panels of Santa’s Village are such eye candy.

The suburban middle class setting was my life, too. Maybe that's why I love Dennis so much. -- Mykal


Cool Dennis the Menace! I read these Dennis books by the dozens growing up, and it wasn't until fairly recently after reading your blog , that I learned about Al Wiseman and Ketcham's 'staff'...I just assumed Ketcham drew/wrote everything. I was young and naive then!
Great stuff, great fun.
Merry Christmas, Pappy!

Prof. Grewbeard said...

great art & story, but i just don't understand Dennis's appeal- he's too obnoxious! a little too true-to-life...

ttw said...

Like many of the Wiseman/Toole books they are based on real places and things. Santa's Village was located in Scott's Valley outside of Santa Cruz and was a place where we went as kids (Al's son as well). It was/is always fun to look at those comic books and try to identify local places and people Al would insert into the stories.