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The Merchant of Dennis the Menace: The Autobiography of Hank Ketcham Paperback – October 17, 2005


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The Merchant of Dennis the Menace: The Autobiography of Hank Ketcham + Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace 1951-1952 (Vol. 1)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (October 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560977140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560977148
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 8.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,195,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hank Ketcham was born in 1920 and created Dennis the Menace in 1950. He passed away in 2001.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Langan on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I saw this book about 8 years ago at a college library. It features some of the best Dennis the Menace cartoons and tells of some of Hank Ketcham's real-life adventures (Hank is the author of the classic cartoon). Hank based the cartoon on himself and his real-life son, Dennis (He used to tell people "Our son Dennis is a real menace!"). If you look at some of the real-life family photos, you'll notice quite a resemblance between the Mitchell family and the Ketcham family! Hank Ketcham later took off to live in Europe in the 1960's (there's a hilarious cartoon that shows Mr. Wilson's delight that Dennis is going on a vacation but disappointed that his little nemesis will be returning!). Some of you may not understand a lot of what I'm talking about in this review and I guess you'd have to pick up a copy of The Merchant of Dennis the Menace to get a better idea of what I'm saying (which, unless this gets reprinted, many of you may never get the chance).
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8 of 20 people found the following review helpful By n0s4a2 on February 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Hank Ketcham's cartoons are exquisite, absolutely lyrical, yet formula driven. This is the best collection of his work, and it is very instructive for aspiring cartoonists, because it shows a lot of preliminary sktches and model sheets (similar to the developement of animated films by Disney, where Ketcham worked for a time). Yet Ketcham was an artistic mediocrity with great technical facility but nothing genuine to say, and he was a stranger to his own family, especially to his son, Dennis. It's positively weird that Ketcham shows pictures of his son at age 5, the obvious inspiration for the successful strip, but after that HE PRETENDS HIS SON DOESN'T EVEN EXIST! I went through the book several times trying to find out the fate of the real Dennis, but he is simply ignored. Apparently, Ketcham's wife had psychological problems, the cartoonist divorced her and moved to Switzerland, never speaking to the boy again. Ketcham remarried, his former wife committed suicide, little Dennis came back from Vietnam with problems that he never fully overcame, and the two had no relationship beyond the stipend his father sent to keep him quiet. None of this is hinted at in Ketcham's book, which is strictly about how wonderful suburbia is, and how cute that little rascal Dennis is, and how Ketcham's career just went up and up and up. He made himself a wealthy man by selling the character every which way, eventually training assistants who gradually took over the drawing and writing, leaving Ketcham a rich, leisurely copyright owner. The gags have an artificial, frozen-in-the-fifties quality, and in all the years I have read it, it has never once been funny, thought provoking or connected to any real feelings.Read more ›
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