Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anyone for Dennis?

Tuesday strip day.

After stating yesterday that Ketcham may have been drawing the Sunday Dennis the Menace in 1954, I went and checked my acts. Most sources say Ketcham turned over the writing and drawing of the Sunday page to Al Wiseman en Fred Toole in 1953. Which makes yesterday's Sunday about Mr. Ketcham al the more curious.

Here we have my only sample of the Sunday from 1952, when Ketcham was almost certainly all doing it himself. The strip itselfs seems like nothing more than a string of Dennis gags. The drawing is as artful as Ketcham ever was. This is Ketcham in his early years. He would restyle his character not long after. Still, some of his major achievements in cartooning are visible here. His use of silhouettes of course. Not only the straightforward silhouettes in the first and seventh panel, but also the way he silhouettes the desk in the third panel for effect. This sort of shameless simplification is the trademark of Ketcham's style. Look at the folds on the bed or the babysitter's clothes. How could you not draw them like that after having seen Ketcham's simple and flowing lines? The variety in his use of panel shapes and sizes. His use of walls and doorp[osts to seperate and draw the attention of the reader. He had not yet discovered the trick of leaving lines open instead of clsing everything up. When he started doing that he enabled himself to let his lines flow from one into the other without having to bother with such realistic stuff as closed pant legs of backs of shirts. I will talk some more about those in a later post.

For those of you who are used to my normal deluge of scans I am adding two more early B.C. Sundays. The first one is from 1958, the first year of the strip, and already Hart was wrestling with his relationship with the Gods.


Dave Tackett said...

I love the early BC comic strips; they rock (pun intentional). I'm not usually such a big Dennis fan, but I liked the different parental reactions in this one.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

And I think it is complete unjust that they are never seen after their first publication. B.C was the best sold newspaper strip in the seventies and they had this crummy deal with Tempo. If they ahd been published from the start like the Peanuts books, who knows what would have happened.