Archive for babysitter’s guide by dennis the menace

thrift store finds: babysitter’s guide by dennis the menace

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , on July 2, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood’s St. Vincent DePaul store. Please don’t mistake me for an expert on any of the things I am writing about… I’m just a fan of a bargain.)

Last year, I wrote a couple hundred words about Dennis the Menace, and to be perfectly frank, I didn’t expect to ever revisit him here in Thrift Store Finds. I had said my piece, as it were. Although I continue to find Dennis paperbacks during my thrift store runs, nothing unique sang out about them; nothing new occurred to me to the point where I felt like devoting an second post to Hank Ketcham’s ornery little mischief maker.

That is, until I came across this week’s Thrift Store Find.

Babysitter’s Guide by Dennis the Menace, published in 1961 by Fawcett Crest Books is a bit of an oddity. Written and drawn by Ketcham and Bob Harmon, from the onset this looks like the standard collection of Dennis gag strips… but the majority of the comics in Babysitter’s Guide are themed around (you guessed it) Dennis terrorizing his various babysitters.

Obviously, I’ve been reading a lot of these old comic paperbacks in the last year and a half and I’ve often wondered why I didn’t come across the idea of theming more often. Most paperbacks I look at are a random mish-mash of strips, collected with very little rhyme or reason to their sorting within collections. It’s understandable why both publishers and cartoonists might prefer cherry-picking the best strips for book publication, but it occasionally makes for strange gaps within a collection.

Ketcham was a gag man, however. There was no strict continuity within his Dennis strips, no sweeping stories. As such… Dennis the Menace was a good choice for a book culled together as this one is.

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