DC Thomson has announced plans to revamp its remaining weekly comic, The Beano. Contrary to our earlier report they've also given Dennis the Menace a makeover in the comic as well as the re-design planned for his new CBBC animated series, Dennis and Gnasher.
The Beano will be given an overhaul from 29th August, relaunching as a 32-page weekly. A "mini-mag" containing a preview of the redesigned Dennis and Gnasher comes bundled with this week's issue, on sale today.
The beanotown.com official web site may be getting a makeover, along with the full launch of dennisandgnasher.com, which is linked with the new animated Dennis and Gnasher show.
"Our ultimate aim is to engage a whole new generation of Beano fans with a fresh approach to our core characters," say DC Thomson. "We also hope to excite existing and lapsed fans, particularly parents who may have enjoyed The Beano themselves."
Although he has kept hold of his trademark stripey jumper and black shorts, Dennis, who will be sporting a new look, could have undergone a far more radical change, like the look seen here.
Designs put forward for the tearaway kid included a spray can-wielding hoodie and a spaced out scruff to make him more in-keeping with elements of today’s youth.
But DC Thomson dismissed suggestions for a Manga style makeover and went for a more traditional Dennis look – just without the trademark catapult.
The new look will be used in the Beano as well as the new animated show.
“Some of the looks put forward were very popular," says Morris Heggie, the Beano historian at DC Thomson. "There were some really strong ideas with hoodies, jeans and even one where he looks like Liam Gallagher – but a few were a bit radical.
“If we were introducing Dennis the Menace for the first time some of these would be great, but we’d be inventing a new character. People already have an idea of Dennis.
“Dennis’s look has evolved since he was introduced in the fifties," he added. "But he wouldn’t be Dennis without his spiky hair, stripey jersey and, most importantly, his knobbly knees.”
Dennis and Gnasher
Plans to “soften up” the legendary menace and his loyal companion came under fire last week in the press when it was revealed that he would no longer carry his trusty catapult or get a beating from his father’s slipper in the new TV series.
The cartoon – which will start on CBBC on 7th Septembe – aims to be “Britain’s answer to The Simpsons” and features a whole host of new characters.
“Since Dennis is already very much an established character, we had to make sure he looked as close to what everyone recognises as Dennis as possible," explains Frank Gresham, creative assistant producer on the show.
“To make sure our animators could animate him without problems, he did undergo certain changes. We made a promise to ourselves we’d only change what we absolutely had to of Dennis’s design.
“We felt we had to keep all of the elements of his clothing and his features.”
New characters include a joke shop owner called Mr Har Har, and a rock star called Ratbucket.
Even the old staples have been revamped, with Dennis’s long term rival Walter swapping his teddy bear for a sneakier personality.
A BBC spokesman said: “Like many cartoon characters, Dennis the Menace has been evolving ever since its creation, so changes are nothing new.
“The Beano comic-book style of the 1950s is very different to children’s expectations for their entertainment heroes today.”
• Dennis And Gnasher will screen every weekday at 3.45pm on CBBC, while Fun Kids will host a radio show based on the pair every Saturday morning throughout September.