Monday, February 21, 2011
Laugh out Loud: Dennis by Al Wiseman
As a kid, Dennis the Menace was one of my absolute favorite comic books--and I loved it far more than the TV show or the daily newspaper panel, although I loved that too. But the comics accomplished something very few funny comics(other then Mad) actually did-they made me howl with laughter. Dennis was a holy terror-fully deserving of the title, and in the comic books, the storytellers( Fred Toole,writer and Al Wiseman, artist) had the opportunity to fully flesh out his irresistible destructiveness. Dennis could take a simple night out in a Chinese restaurant and turn it into a full-fledged disaster movie--his frustrated parents unable to do anything but stand back and watch in amazement as their little whirlwind wreaked havoc upon an unwitting society. I loved every beautifully wrought, fine line of it!
And the art was indeed something to marvel at. Modeled upon Hank Ketcham's exquisite designs, Al Wiseman had a style all his own; clean, crisp, sharp, minimal but wonderfully expressive. You never saw lawns so neatly manicured, suits so crisply tailored, towns so ordered and picturesque --a picture-perfect suburbia circa 1960, just made for a tiny little tornado to pummel to the earth and leave in rubble. Order reduced to chaos in a matter of seconds at the hands of a three year old boy!
Do yourself a favor--search out some of these wonderful comics(that somebody, somewhere really ought to reprint!)sit back, and have a laugh!
Dennis --in the comic books.
* This one is for my mom, my first set of inks and crowquill pen(from "Colliers"house paint store in Binghamton--the only paint(& art supply) store in town) and the Dennis the Menace cartoon I drew with them(with only a few ink splots) that she framed and hung proudly on the wall! thanks, mom!