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Where's Dennis? The Magazine Cartoon Art of Hank Ketcham Paperback – October 17, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers with an interest in comics history will value this book. Though not part of Fantagraphics's deluxe set of the collected Dennis the Menace, this little paperback gives a fascinating look at Ketcham's career before he created that franchise, when he was a commercial artist and a popular contributor to magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and sometimes even the New Yorker. He wasn't an especially fluent writer, relying on others for punch lines, but the hundreds of pieces gathered here show what a prolific artist he was. They also show his development as a cartoonist, as his lines start to swirl and ricochet, becoming looser and loopier, dancing in casual-looking brush strokes of fluctuating thickness—even without the gags, Ketcham's best work is extremely fun to look at. Ketchum has assembled a cast of bemused housewives, frazzled businessmen, and bratty kids even before discovering his unifying concept. It's especially interesting to see how several early cartoons were reworked into Dennis panels; in every case, the later pieces are superior, with tighter layout, sharper choice of details and livelier art. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

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

Alex Chun is a longtime journalist living in Los Angeles. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, he is currently a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times where he covers pop-culture. He also edits a series of art books for Fantagraphics. In his spare time, he collects original cartoon pin-up art and maintains the website www.pinupcartoongallery.com. His books include The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo (two volumes), The Pin-Up Art of Bill Wenzel, The Pin-up Art of Bill Ward, The Glamor Girls of Don Flowers, The Glamour Girls of Bill Ward, Classic Pin-Up Art of Jack Cole, and The Pin-Up Art of Humorama.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (October 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560978538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560978534
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,608,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Mcgee on November 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is almost pure delight. To see where Hank's style originated is fantastic. There are a handful of old editorial cartoons shown side by side with the dennis panels where he reused the idea. This was one of my favorite features of Charles Schulz' L'il folks book, and im glad to see it used here as well. My only complaint is that there are a handful of pages where they just cram too many cartoons on the page. The reduction doesnt serve the artist, or the reader in any way. If it was a case of small print vs. incompleteness, im glad they did what they did. I would rather have more, than less. But in a perfect world they would all be full size.
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Format: Paperback
Where's Dennis? The Magazine Cartoon Art of Hank Ketcham is almost indescribably great. I always felt that the artwork in the first couple years of the Dennis the Menace daily comic strip wasn't quite as inspired as the beautifully quick and graceful pen lines of the late-fifties, sixties and seventies. So I wasn't expecting to be blown away by Ketcham's pre-Dennis work. Boy, was I wrong.

I was totally dazzled by the artwork in this book. "Where's Dennis" has jumped right up to my short list of favorite cartoon books, along with Harvey Kurtzman's "Hey Look" and the Roy Crane collection from Luna Press, "Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy."

This 200-page book is filled with some of the most delicious cartooning you will ever see. Some of it's even in color! It totally bridges the gap between "sophisticated" magazine cartooning of the post-war "slicks" and the more conservative newspaper comic strip work that followed.

Thanks to Shane Glines and Alex Chun and Fantagraphics Books and the Ketcham estate for making this happen!
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Format: Paperback
It is interesting to note that Hank Ketcham also drew some very risque comic strips. The humour reflects the mores of the era of the 40s and 50s. For those who thought that era was innocent, Ketcham's frequent strips about middle aged executives with mistress show girls dispels that myth.
Interesting how the later Dennis the Menace strip was actually very conservative, with it's "white picket fence" family life.
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