One of twoComic Book characters known as Dennis the Menace, both being primary school-age boys who frequently get into trouble and make mischief, aided by a pet dog, that were first published in March 1951. This page is about the British version as published in the Anthology ComicThe Beano.This Dennis has no known surname and is slightly older than the Dennis from across the Atlantic, 10 years old rather than 6 (though at times he has been portrayed as slightly older again). He also has dark spiky hair and an iconic black-and-red horizontal-striped jumper, and he is joined by his similarly drawn spiky-haired dog, Gnasher. He truly revels in doing naughty or mischievous things and is at odds with his parents, the local police, his neighbours and the "softies" of his neighbourhood.Unlike the U.S. Dennis, he is more actively malicious than simply mischievous. If you look at it the right way, it is not hard to interpret his actions toward the so-called "softies" as bullying based merely on the fact that those boys are more effeminate and quiet than he is. This has meant that a manipulative and calculating streak has been given to Dennis' main rival, Walter, in hope of balancing this out.
Provides examples of:
Actually Pretty Funny: In the episode "Leg Cuffed" Walter laughed at Dennis's prank on Angel Face, prompting her to punish both of them.
Mum: Hello, everyone, I'm Mrs... Oh, just call me Mum like Dennis does. Unless he's had a nightmare, then it's Mummykins. Aww...
Dennis: That was when I was three!
Ambiguously Brown: Athena in the new animated series. It's hard to tell whether she's half-caste or heavily tanned. All we know for sure about her ethnicity is her father is white.
There's also Angel Face.
Animated Adaptation: A couple, the most memorable being The BBC's 1996 two-season series Dennis the Menace, or Dennis and Gnasherinternationally. Though the same character, more or less, this Dennis managed to have random bouts of heroism here and there.
And don't forget, there's the 2009 and 2013 animated series.The 2009 series is called Dennis and Gnasher, downplaying the menace name, while the 2013 version is called Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, the first time that an animation has used the full name of the comic strip. (Excepting the international broadcasts.)
Backwards-Firing Gun: In the "Yard Sale" episode of the Dennis and Gnasher cartoon, Walter picks up Dennis's squirt gun and attempts to shoot Dennis with it, only for it to spray him in the face as Dennis says it backfires. He then turns the gun around and attempts to shoot Dennis again, only to soaked again as the water comes out the barrel and Dennis adds "Sometimes".
Bizarre Taste in Food: In "Just Desserts" Angel Face is the only kid to finish her plate of boiled figs without complaint.
Bowdlerize: In the series' early days, Dennis getting paddled was one of the running gags. However, as paddling children began to be seen as abuse rather than discipline, it was phased out of the comic.
Captain Obvious Reveal: In the episode "Constable Menace" it was obvious Angel Face was the culprit, as she was the only one with a motive.
Carrying a Cake: Used as a Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere in the animated series. Dennis is under strict instructions not to get dirty before his school photo is taken. On his way to school, he encounters the Colonel staggering across the road carrying two cakes. The implausibility of the situation is Lampshaded by the Colonel.
The Catfish: In the animated series episode "Fish Tale", Dennis and his gang attempt to capture 'the legendary pike of Beanotown Lake'.
Chained Heat: Dennis and Walter in the episode "Leg Cuffed" after Angel Face pretends to lose the key to the pair of cuffs they're joined at the ankle with.
Chest of Medals: The Colonel. A Running Gag in the 2013 series is the Colonel awarding himself medals for any frivolous reason he can think of.
Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In an episode of the animated series, Dennis is threatened with grounding if he gets dirty before his school photo is taken. On his way to school, he is naturally presented with situations like the Colonel Carrying a Cake and re-enactment of the Battle of Beanotown being fought with mud pies and custard pies.
Gray and Grey Morality: Walter was already a bit of a jerk at the beginning, but ever since the cartoon (or earlier) he's arguably become just as bad as Dennis.
Great White Hunter: Dennis' neighbour Stanley Livingston is a subversion, having the look of the trope but actually being very friendly with jungle animals and filling his house with them - a sort of proto-Steve Irwin.
Grounded Forever: An episode of Dennis and Gnasher had Dennis's parents ask themselves how much trouble he could have got into in the ten minutes since the school holidays started, only for a long string of neighbors to come to the door to complain. With each one, Dennis's grounding is increased by a year, until finally he's grounded forever.
Hammerspace: In "I'll Teach You" when Mum sees through Dennis and friends' Paper-Thin Disguise she pulls a cream pie from behind her back to lure Pie-Face out.
Karma Houdini: Angel Face is kind of a subversion. While the adults never find out her true nature, Dennis usually gives her some kind of comeuppance.
Dennis himself usually meets some form of comeuppance, but still falls into this trope more than a few times, usually depending on the targets of his pranks.
In "Constable Menace" even when Angel Face was caught in the act, she claimed Dennis made her do it and was instantly believed.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: The first adaptation of Dennis the Menace was a puppet series shown on an early cable television station called The Children's Channel during 1990 and 1991. Virtually nothing about the show has been documented online, and the show's existence is rarely acknowledged by DC Thomson. It doesn't even get a mention in the 70th Anniversary book, History of the Beano or Ray Moore's Beano Diaries.
Justified in the case of Beano Diaries, as it was published in 1989.
The Beano have recently acknowledged the 1990/1991 series' existence here and here.
Lighter and Softer: The new series makes Dennis much more goody-goody. He's still a menace, but he has been softened up a lot.
Loveable Rogue: The first Animated Adaptation attempts to find a middle ground for Dennis, he is still a trouble maker, but often towards unpleasant peers or general societies most his age despise. Most of the other kids root for him rather than fear him, diluting his "bully" image.
Naughty Is Good: In some cases (especially in the animated series), Dennis isn't outright malevolent as much as just a prankster, who usually makes sure to target deserving victims (albeit with collateral damage common).
Nephewism: Notably averted (often cited as being a prominent aversion in Conversational Troping in the UK) with Gnasher being the father of Gnipper. This was dealt with in-comic by having Gnasher vanish for weeks in one of the strip's rare long-running arcs, "Gnasher Come Home", after which he returned with his children.
Not Me This Time: Considering Dennnis' reputation, it's not surprising that he gets this a lot.
Off Model: In the 2009 animated series' "Dance of the Seven Pies" when Dennis is trying to convince Athena that an itchy Pie-Face is actually dancing, her character model is flipped, making her belt face the wrong way.
The Pigpen: Getting dirty is one of Dennis's secondary traits. In one episode of the animated series, he shown to have an uncontrollable compulsion to get dirty. When his father threatens him with grounding if he gets messy before his school photo is taken, Gnasher has to keep dragging him away from messy situations.
Power Trio: It depends on the period, but the Menaces and Softies are often seen in groups of three: Dennis, Curly and Pie-face for the Menaces and Walter, Bertie Blenkinsop and Spotty Perkins for the Softies. The Softies were sometimes expanded to four with the addition of Nervous Rex.
Rules Of The Road: In one animated episode, Dennis and his gang attempt to drive a line-marking machine which goes haywire and leaves white lines everywhere on the road. Cars naturally attempt to follow the line and end up driving on the footpath, through the park, etc.
The Unreveal: In the episode "I'll Teach You", when Mum becomes the substitute teacher she almost says her surname, but then asks the kids to just call her Mum like Dennis does. Later in the episode, Dad's old teacher almost says his name, but then Dad interrupts him.
Wales: Mrs. Creecher from the new series is Welsh.
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: In the 2009 series, Mr. Scrimp was Dad's boss at the rubber bands and paper clips factory. In the 2013 reboot, Scrimp is the mayor and the mayor from the 2009 series is the headmaster of the school.
In the 2013 series episode "The Omega Menace" there's a purple-haired girl working in a bric-a-brac shop. In the 2009 series episode "Game On" she worked at a company that made computer games.
Wild Card: Angel Face is only looking out for herself and will only work with Dennis if there's something in it for her.