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We’ve talked before about the bizarre Hollywood phenomenon of Twin Films – essentially films with near identical premises inexplicably released around the same time – and all of the machinations that can lead to them existing. Today, rather than focusing on an industry wide trend, we’re going to discuss a specific example of something similar- the bizarre tale of the time two comic artists based in the UK and US respectively somehow both created Dennis the Menace at almost the same time, with the first editions of each published on the exact same day, despite neither one knowing anything about what the other was doing.
While it’s commonly misstated that the UK version of Dennis the Menace, which debuted in Beano #452, came out on March 17, 1951, in truth both Dennis the Menace comics hit the shelves on March 12, with the incorrect date for the British version coming from the fact that this date was on the original cover. As to why, a common practice at the time was to post-date editions to try to keep them on the shelves longer.
Name - Characters - Dogs - Mischief - Dennis
Beyond sharing a name, both characters own dogs that usually aid in their mischief, with American Dennis having a snowy white Airedale mix called Ruff, and British Dennis owning a “Abyssinian wire-haired tripehound” called Gnasher. Like their owners, each dog has a distinct personality, Gnasher being decidedly more violent than Ruff, with his favourite pastime being chasing and biting postman. Another similarity between the two Dennises is their penchant for causing mischief with a slingshot, which is considered to be a trademark of each character in their respective home markets.
That said, it should be noted for those unfamiliar that the British Dennis is an intentional menace who relishes in the mayhem he causes, whereas the U.S. version tends to...
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