by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter
November 24, 1999
Comics Legend Hank Ketcham
- Knight Watchman
Beck & Caui: Investigations
Comics Legend Hank
Everyone knows Dennis the Menace, that mischievous five-year-old who has
become an international symbol of boy ness. But what do you know about Hank
Born in 1920. Ketcham is the cartoonist and papa of Dennis The Menace,
one of the most popular comic strips in history. Beyond the adventures of that
little blond whirlwind Ketcham has worked as an animator with Waiter Lantz
(Woody Woodpecker, etc.). with Walt Disney (on Pinocchio. Fantasia,
and Donald Duck), and won the Reuben Award and Bill de Beck Award in
1952. Ketcham has also done magazine advertisements, and his Dennis is the
mascot of a fast food restaurant chain, and the subject of games and toys.
began publication in 1951 as a single panel feature about family life in
America. Ketcham's simple, clean art brought success to some of the best
realized characters in comics, endearing Dennis and Margaret in the hearts of
millions of readers worldwide. The secret to that success may also lie in the
strip's premise: everyone has known and loved a five-year-old boy.
paperback book editions of Dennis the Menace have been published, and
Dennis has appeared as a live action and animated TV series, and in several
books include. Dennis... (Standard/Pines, Halden, Fawcett
publishers,1953-'79); Dennis...Giants (Standard/Pines, Halden, Fawcett,
1955--'69); Dennis...(Marvel Comics, 1981-'82); Dennis ...and his Dog
Ruff (Halden/Fawcett, 196l); Dennis... and His Friends (Fawcett,
1969-'80); Dennis...and His Pal Joey (Fawcett, 1961): Dennis ...and
the Bible Kids (Word 1977); Dennis...Big Bonus Series (Fawcett,
1980); Dennis.. .Bonus Magazine (Fawcett, 1980), Dennis... Comics
Digest (Marvel, 1982); Dennis...Fun Book (Fawcett 1960); Dennis...Fun
Fest Series (Halden, Fawcett 1980); Dennis...Pocket Full Of Fun (Fawcett,
1969-'80); Dennis... Television Special (Fawcett 1961-'62); and Dennis...Triple
Feature (Fawcett, 1961). Dennis: His First 10 Years, a trade
paperback, was published by Abbeville Press.
older comics are expensive and difficult to locate. Price guides or comics
dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade joumals
are best sources.
you want it good, or do you want it original? If good, Knight Watchman
is the best Batman homage in comics.
That's when an artist or writer openly steals another's work or style because of
love and respect. There's an exceedingly fine line between homage and
is love and respect...
the art looks like Frank Miller's distinctive style, itself heavily influenced
by high contrast artists like Alex Toth. The editor claims "while most Big
Bang artists are trying to recreate someone else's art style, this IS Ben Torres
style." Either way, this is some of the most dynamic, exciting art in super
hero comics today.
the story reads like Frank Miller's famous The Dark Knight Returns Batman
mini-series of ten years ago. But the editor claims "while we do tell
stories in the styles of the guys who wrote and drew those heroes over the
years, the characters themselves are not carbon-copied rip-offs."
is true. And Knight Watchman is extremely well written.
is also good.
what is its story? It doesn't matter, really. You've read it about ten
thousand times. You'll read it ten thousand times more. What separates Knight
Watchman from hundreds and hundreds of other superhero clones of Superman
(there can only be one original, after all) is quality.
if you want original, read Superman. If you want good, read this comic.
is arguably one of-the best superhero comic books on the market today.
& Caui: Investigations
adventures of supernatural sleuths who seemingly investigate nothing in
occasionally obscure trips into a fantasy world called the
"Underside". An unfulfilled promise.
welcome Canada's Temps Tots to the growing number of magazines and
newspapers publishing Suspended Animation. When in Canada, stop in and say eh?
Questions? Comments? A comic you wish reviewed?
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