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Comic Strip / Dennis the Menace (UK)

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Dennis and his sidekick dog, Gnasher.

One of two Comic 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 Comic The Beano.

This Dennis 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, this Dennis actually is a menace, as 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:

  • Actor Allusion: Billy Connolly guest stars as a pirate in the nineties series.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the episode "Leg Cuffed" Walter laughed at Dennis's prank on Angel Face, prompting her to punish both of them.
  • Adaptational Badass: Rubi to an extent in Unleashed. In the comics she's largely confined to her lab and her wheelchair is a big clunky model. In the show she's always out and about taking part in the gang's adventures and she often serves as The Lancer for Dennis as well as being The Smart Guy. Also her wheelchair is now a sports model and she can move very fast when needed.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The 1996 series, while still keeping the mischievious personality, made him considerably nobler and heroic, to the point where he actually saved Beanotown from various villains.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The various cartoon series made him less malicious and more fun-loving, though still a rebellious rapscallion.
    • Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed is where he's the most heroic and humble towards his friends and even some adults, only clinging the Jerkass Ball on several occasions.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Whilst Walter was fairly polite in the earlier comic strips, many of the cartoon series portray him as a very vindictive and vengeful arch-nemesis who wants to make Dennis's (and in some cases, everyone else's) life a misery by stopping them from having fun or getting them into trouble for petty reasons, at least whenever Dennis didn't even bother Walter.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed, Walter is even worse and is portrayed to be even more villainous than any incarnation. This includes getting Dennis and his friends framed for crimes they've never committed, animal cruelty, plotting to take over the world with an alien empress etc. On top of that, he's also incredibly selfish and is generally manipulative towards everyone including his lackey, Bertie. In short, he's more of a bully here than even Dennis could ever dream of.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In The Beano, Dennis was occasionally shown to have a pet spider named Dasher. He made one appearance in the 1990s series, where his name was changed to Sid.
  • Adults Are Useless: They never are able to stop Dennis' mischief.
  • Alpha Bitch: Athena Kane in the 2009 cartoon. Sometimes slipping into Lovable Alpha Bitch depending on the situation.
  • Always Identical Twins: Jemma and Jules in "Triathlon Trouble". They use this to cheat in an event.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: Dennis' Mum in "I'll Teach You" when she fills in for Mrs. Creecher.
    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 mixed race or heavily tanned. All we know for sure about her ethnicity is her father is white.
    • There's also Angel Face.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Walter and the Softies are sometimes considered this. It was averted when he got a girlfriend, called Matilda who looks eerily similar to Walter, in the cartoon series.
  • Animated Adaptation:
    • The BBC's 1996 two-season series Dennis the Menace, or Dennis and Gnasher internationally. Though the same character, more or less, this Dennis managed to have random bouts of heroism here and there.
    • The 2009 series, Dennis and Gnasher, downplaying the menace name.
    • 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.)
    • The 2017 series Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, the first to be CG animated.
  • Anti-Hero: Dennis is traditionally a bully who lives mainly to create chaos. More recent comics and the cartoons at times try to portray him as less mean.
  • Art Evolution: Noticeable when David Law was him, the character actually grew over the years from a small child who looked about 8 to by The '70s the character was lanky almost teenage looking character. The character's design stayed constant when David Sutherland took over drawing him in the 70s and then finally the character was made smaller and younger looking in the 90s in time for the Animated Adaptation.
    • The 1996 TV series switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink-and-paint for its' second series. The colour scheme also became brighter and less washed-out, and backgrounds became more detailed.
    • In 2009 the comic strip changed to match the general artstyle of the 2009 animated series.
  • 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".
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: The nursery worker, especially when she has Bea in her care.
  • Banister Slide: Dennis has done this many times, notably once in a 1980s comic, where Mum had sewn a sandpaper patch on to his shorts, leading him to sand down the banister for her. It was one of many nice things he inadvertently did - Mum was taking advantage of his usual behaviour - and thus he was surprised when he was rewarded at the end.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Even before his Menace Decay, Dennis has been very protective of his sister, as seen here.
  • Big Eater:
    • When it comes to pies, Pie-face wins, he beat all the other big eater characters in a pie eating contest then went home for more pie for tea.
    • True to his canine nature, Gnasher will eat just about anything.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Angel Face.
  • 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.
  • British Stuffiness: The Colonel.
  • Canine Companion: Gnasher, oh so much.
  • Canon Immigrant: Matilda and Sergeant Slipper were created for the 1990s series. They both made appearances later in The Beano.
  • Canon Welding: One issue of the comic implies Dennis' father in the 2009 cartoon is the original Dennis, and that the new Dennis is actually Dennis Jr: There's a flashback to his childhood showing him as Dennis the Menace. Also the original Dennis and the new Dennis have subtly different designs; specifically the order of the red and black hoops on their jerseys are opposite - old Dennis wore black-red-black-red from the collar down, Dennis Jr wears red-black-red-black from the collar down.
  • Captain Colorbeard: Parodied in the 1990s cartoon, with a series of paintings showing a family of pirates with names like these, ending in "Weirdbeard", whose beard was green with stuff sticking out of it.
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • In Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, Dennis has "Genius wears a striped jumper!" and "Result!"
    • In Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, Dennis has "This is going to be BLAM!"
  • 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.
  • Chaste Toons: Averted. Gnasher is the proud father of six puppies. Also, before Dennis' sister Bea was born, there was a long-running storyline which featured his mother's pregnancy.
  • 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Curly vanished when Dennis And Gnasher Unleashed launched he was replaced by sporty black girl JJ and disabled inventor Rubi.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dennis' mother came across this way in the '90s series, but not in the comic itself.
  • Coincidental Dodge: Subverted in "Prom Mean" when Dennis throws a custard pie at Angel Face. She briefly bends down to pick up a coin on the floor and the pie almost hits Walter, but when she realises it's just a penny she stands back up just in time to get hit.
  • 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.
  • Companion Cube: Paul the Potato to Pie-Face.
  • Conjoined Eyes: Dennis, Depending on the Artist. This was abandoned in Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed.
  • Cool Car: Dennis has one whenever it'll make things funnier.
  • Cool Old Lady: Granny, who is just a mischievous as her grandson, much to the dismay of her son and daughter-in-law.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the cover of the first Dennis the Menace and Gnasher DVD, they call it series 4, implying that it's in continuity with not only the 2009 series but also the 1996 series.
  • Crappy Carnival: In the animated series, Dennis visits a fair where all of the rides have been nerfed because of the havoc Dennis and his cronies wreaked the previous year.
    • In the comics, Dennis is disappointed by a local funfair, so he tries to make his own called Menaceland. It involves a lot of destruction, so his father gets mad and makes a Dadland to punish him.
  • Crossover: One episode of the animated series had Dennis enter a contest on Blue Peter, complete with the animated presenters being voiced by the actual (at the time) presenters of the show.
  • Denser and Wackier: The original comic was never grounded in reality, but the 1990s series takes it Up to Eleven. The series feature aliens, mad scientists, sentient socks and other wackiness.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In one episode of the 2013 series, Greytowers Prep takes on Beantotown School in a triathalon. The Greytowers team is so much fitter than the Beanotown team (consisting of Dennis, Walter and Angel Face) that they could easily have won. Instead they cheat and, even though they initially win, they are exposed and disqualified.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: As an example of just how much of a level in jerkass Walter took post-millenium, he gets carried away during a monologue and lets slip his desire to someday become Prime Minister and outlaw fun.
  • Dinosaur Doggie Bone: Gnasher loves bones. So much that he's been known to steal dinosaur bones from museums.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: In the 2013 series, the opening song is sung by Dennis' voice actor.
  • Doting Grandparent: Dennis's Grandma is the only adult who Dennis respects rather than his parents and is his best adult friend. An episode of the animated series even revealed she's something of a Generation Xerox to him.
  • Dreadful Musician: Even Dennis himself largely admits his band the Dinmakers aren't very good and really exist only to indulge his liking for making a racket. Averted in Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed where (while still needing some fine tuning) the Dinmakers are actually pretty decent Musicians.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In his first ever strip he was wearing a necktie. Apparently by choice. Seriously. Which makes sense that this is the original 1951 Dennis(who is revealed in issue 4077 of The Beano to be modern Dennis' grandpa) that we're talking about.
    • It's impossible to imagine Dennis without Gnasher, yet he didn't meet his dog until seventeen years into his run in The Beano. Heck, in his earliest appearances he had a pet chihuahua.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Walter is a rare male example in the 2013 series.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Walter in the new animated series.
    • Sometimes slipped into it in the old ones too, but it wasn't as noticeable.
  • Elvis Impersonator: Butch Butcher. Made more blatant in the 2013 series where he even does the voice.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Dennis and Gnasher didn't like Walter's dog Foo-Foo, but they were still disgusted at Walter callously firing and replacing his pet. They spend some time trying to find Foo-Foo a new job until he settles for sheep herding.
  • Exact Words: One very old strip had Dennis challenge some other kids to a tug-of-war and states that he'll beat them with only Walter as his teammate. They think it's Walter the Softy. At the challenge, Dennis shows up with a circus elephant named Walter.
  • Eyepiece Prank: In "You and Whose Army", Curly hands Dennis a telescope. Dennis asks Curly if he has put boot polish round the eyepiece. Curly says no and raises the telescope to his own eye to demonstrate, only to find that Dennis has put boot polish on the eyepiece.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mum after her redesign.
    • In the comics, the redesign of Dennis' parents intially implied and eventually confirmed that Dennis' Dad is actually the original Dennis, all grown up (and now become the stuffy rule-making father figure he always hated when he was a young Menace). Therefore, the redesigned Dennis (who has had the red and black hoops of his jersey switched, for very observant readers) is actually Dennis Jr, and some fans have come to believe that the fiery redhead who is Dennis Jr's mum might have been (in her younger days), the original Minnie the Minx.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: In Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, this applies to Dennis and his pals(the four main characters).
    • Sanguine: Dennis
    • Choleric: J.J.
    • Melancholic: Rubi von Screwtop
    • Phlegmatic: Pieface
  • Frame-Up: Various episodes of the animated shows feature Dennis having to clear his name.
    • A 2013 episode has Gnasher get accused of biting a chunk out of a prize-winning giant sausage. It was Walter and his cat.
  • Gasshole: Bea, the human stink-bomb.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The main ensemble of Dennis and his pals count as of the modern Beano comics and Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed if you don't count Gnasher or Pieface's pet potato Paul, due to being consisted of two boys (Dennis and Pieface) and two girls (J.J. and Rubi)
  • Generation Xerox:
    • One episode (maybe in one of the 1970s Annuals) revealed that Dennis's Dad was exactly the same as Dennis when he was younger. Which is confirmed in issue 4077(the issue celebrating Dennis' 70th birthday) of The Beano.
    • Following the redesign of Dennis' parents, it was later retconned that the current Dennis is actually the son of the original.
    • The 2009 and 2013 series show the fathers of Curly, Pie Face and Walter to look like adult versions of their sons.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: The 1990s series episode "Couldn't Catch a Cold" has Dennis try this, but fail. He wants to catch a cold so he can stay home from school, first trying to catch it from his father, then (after remembering his grandma claim that colds can be caught from being cold or wet) by walking in the rain in summer clothes, swimming, and sleeping with fans on. None of these attempts work, and when he does catch a cold (likely from his father), the school had planned a beach trip.
  • Girls Have Cooties: In the final segment of The Beano Videostars, Dennis was kissed by a girl, so he stopped the film and jumped out of it so he could go to the projector and cut that part out so it never happened.
    • A 2013 episode about a school play has this as a central conflict: Dennis is playing the lead so he doesn't have to go to class, but the plot requires him to kiss Angel Face. Walter tries to force him into it on the grounds that it would ruin his reputation.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Sugar wears Cool Shades that she never puts over her eyes.
  • A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching: In the 1990s series, Granny jokes that before TV was invented, they all sat around waiting for TV to be invented. Her actual youth activities however (reading, hunting dodos and listening to the wireless) are little better, as far as the main character is concerned.
  • 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.
  • Handy Feet: From time to time, he has used his bare feet the way hands are normally used, as his hands have been otherwise occupied. An example is in his 2001 book, when, after having put all of the Beano staff into hospital, he has to do all their jobs until they get better, and one of his hands is stirring the tea, while the other is playing golf. One of his bare feet is drawing the pictures of the comics, while the other is writing the words- talented kid, Dennis!
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Dennis, in the rare cases he isn't being the bad guy, usually in the animated series. His opponents, conversely, are often...
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Dennis' best friend and partner-in-menacing is Gnasher.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Dennis has often been hinted to fancy Minnie, though he won't admit it.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: During the lead-up to Bea's arrival, Dennis got so fed up with the mystery he announced that he wouldn't be appearing in the next issue. Cue several other characters trying to take over his strip.
  • Hypnosis-Proof Dogs: A mad scientist who was using hypnotizing music to trick the town into buying his useless inventions like toothless combs for bald people. He found out it didn't work on dogs and got around it by having a 'no dogs allowed' policy in the store.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Dennis did not appear until almost thirteen years into the run of the Beano comic. And then it took seventeen years for Gnasher to appear.
  • Impostor Forgot One Detail: A 2013 episode has Gnasher get framed for biting a chunk out of a giant prize-winning sausage. Dennis and Curly both point out that if it had been Gnasher, the entire sausage would be demolished.
  • Jaded Washout: The current version of Dennis' dad is pretty much Al Bundy if he existed in a children's comic. And given the reveal that he is the original Dennis this makes sense.
  • Jerkass: Considering the kid's name is legally "Menace", he'd be hard pressed to NOT be one. He HAS had several Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments, though.
    • Walter as well.
  • 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.
    • Walter can be this at points in the 2013 series.
  • Late for School: Being late for school, either by accident or design, is a habitual problem for Dennis. In one episode of the animated series, Mrs Creecher tells him off for being late and he argues that it was the first time this week. She then points out it's Monday. It then turns out he's been late every day that term. In the 1990's series this was the basis of an episode where he was challenged to get to school on time for once.
  • 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. This could be a reflection of the fact the modern Dennis is raised by the strips original Dennis, with whom Dennis Jr. has a better relationship, than Dennis Sr. had with his dad.
  • Limited Social Circle: Dennis usually hangs out with Curly and Pie-Face, and less often Minnie and Roger.
  • Long-Lost Relative: According to a story in issue 3244, Dennis and Walter are distant cousins. Dennis is horrified by this revelation.
  • Loophole Abuse: In one episode of the 1996 series, Dennis wins a Blue Peter art competition and is invited onto the set. When "his" winning drawing is revealed on air, however, it turns out to be a bunch of splodges that Gnasher made, with the judge apparently oblivious to Dennis' actual drawing on the other side of the page. Once this has been explained, the presenters decide there ain't no rule saying a dog can't win - since Gnasher's under the age limit, he's still eligible.
    • A 2013 episode has Team Menace take this trope and run with it: they don't want Walter as the class prefect, nobody will vote for Dennis, but there's nothing saying a pet potato can't run for prefect.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: In the 1996 episode "Journey to the Centre of the Bed", Dennis tries to grab hold of the goblin who has stolen his tooth, but only succeeds in pulling off one of his stockings. Also, in his book in 2001, in a story, his boot soles are torn off by grit, and surprisingly, he appears to have been wearing wellingtons without socks in the snow as his bare feet appear.
  • Lovable 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.
  • Mailman vs. Dog: Gnasher enjoys attacking postmen (for instance, biting their bottoms) whenever they come to deliver letters.
  • The Makeover:
    • Happened to Dennis's parents thanks to Gok Wan, and Roger the Dodger's parents off panel (due to an artist change) in August 2012. Both Dads lost their outdated moustaches. Roger's later changed back, while Dennis's was retconned as Generation Xerox.
    • Pie-Face, because of Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed. His hair grew longer and he started wearing glasses.
  • Mama Bear: In this strip, Dennis' mum goes up against a crocodile who's taken Bea.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Gnipper has five sisters - Gnatasha, Gnaomi, Gnanette, Gnorah and Gnancy.
  • Mayor Pain: Mayor Scrimp in the 2013 series. Mayor Wilbur Brown in the current comics.
  • Meaningful Name: His surname is actually Menace. Mum and Dad are referred to both as Mr. & Mrs. Menace and Dennis and Sandra Menace by the official Beano website.
  • Menace Decay: Some fans believe the 2009 series turned Dennis from a menace into just a generic kid. Inversely, Walter changed into more of a Jerkass over the years, making him less sympathetic and more of a deserving victim. This change was implemented to avoid accusations that the comic was endorsing homophobic bullying by making Walter much more of a match for Dennis due to his sneakiness and intelligence and less of an effeminate softie who likes ballet and playing with teddy bears.
  • Morality Pet: Gnasher to Dennis, and one of the few times Dennis is truly upset is when Gnasher goes missing.
  • More Dakka: In one episode of The '90s cartoon, Dennis and Gnasher got a pair of Humongous Mecha which happened to look like them; Gnasher's had an enormous gun pop out of its "nose". Then more guns. Then some more. Then some more. Then it fell over.
  • Mythology Gag: Greytowers Prep from "Triathlon Trouble" is from the strip "Winker Watson" in The Beano's sister comic The Dandy.
  • 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.
  • Nepotism: In "The Show Mustn't Go On" Angel Face gets the role of the female lead in the play despite her acting being awful because her dad is the One Judge to Rule Them All.
  • Nerdy Bully: Walter is a nerd who dedicates all of his intellect to ruining Dennis' life. Granted that Dennis is no saint and half the time brings the blame on himself, but even so Walter is a lot more hostile and mischievous than the standard nerd.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Used in addition to the Totem Pole Trench below to trick Athena into thinking they're her dad Ratbucket. She sees through it when she begs them for money and they don't give it to her.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Sugar isn't just Athena's assistant. She's also her best friend.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: Unsurprising considering the age audience, but in the TV series episode "Bathnight Club", he is put into the bath with swimming trunks on.
  • Not Me This Time: Considering Dennis' reputation, it's not surprising that he gets this a lot.
    • A good example is one episode of the 90s series in which an eccentric millionaire challenges Beanotown to go a week without TV, with the promise of £1 million if they succeed. Dennis spends the whole week trying to power his family's TV back up in spite of the challenge, only to be thwarted time and again. On the final day, the TV in Dennis' house is suddenly switched on, and the townspeople angrily chase after Dennis in the belief that he's just cost them the reward. It's only when they reach his house that they realise he can't be responsible because he's not in the house.note 
  • 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.
  • Official Couple: A flash-forward in the 2006 Dennis the Menace Annual shows Dennis and Minnie as adults getting married and having a kid.
  • One of the Kids: Gran. Dad was redesigned into this in 2012.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Curly and Pie-Face. Well... they're probably nicknames.
    • Averted Trope: One episode of the 90s series revealed Pie-Face's real name is Kevin.
    • Also, Curly's name was revealed in one old strip to be Crispin, which means "Curly haired" in Latin. Curly seemed rather embarrassed when he revealed it.
    • Angel Face may or may not be a nickname.
    • J.J.'s real name is Jemima Jones, as according to Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed.
  • Opening The Floodgates: A variation of this happens in Volume 2 of The Diary Of Dennis The Menace: Dennis, instead of trying to photocopy 10 pages of detention writing in the Secretary's office, somehow manages to accidentally photocopy 10,000 pages. When the Secretary herself opens the door, she is buried by an avalanche of pages (with Dennis surfing on the tide, described as looking very proud of himself). Mrs. Creecher says that it took all afternoon to dig her out.
  • Papa Wolf: Want to stay on Gnasher's good side? Leave Gnipper alone.
  • Parenting the Husband: After Mum and Dad's redesign.
  • The Pigpen: Getting dirty is one of Dennis's secondary traits. In one episode of the 2013 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.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: One episode of the cartoon has a group of actors turn out to be real pirates.
  • Pokémon Speak: Gnasher says his own name in place of barking in the 2009 and 2013 television series, though his other dog noises are normal.
  • 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.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Sugar to Athena.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: Athena Kane
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Dennis's mean looking dog helps him cause trouble.
  • Road Sign Reversal: In the 2013 animated series, Dennis does this to temporarily confuse the Greytowers Prep triathlete (who is already cheating). It delays him long enough for Gnasher to disable his bike.
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Angel Face is the headmaster's daughter, so she can get away with things the other students can't.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Dennis' other neighbour The Colonel.
  • Ship Tease: In one 60s strip, Dennis was Minnie's date to a Valentine's Day dance. In the '90s series, there was a flashback where Dennis' next door neighbour The Colonel was in a brief relationship with Dennis' granny before he joined the army, and when he encountered her again it seemed to reignite his feelings for her.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skyscraper Messages: The cover of one album has Dennis and Gnasher being chased out of a building after doing this.
  • The Smart Guy: Curly as of 2013.
  • Smelly Feet: Quite a recurring theme. There are a couple of stories where Dennis uses a pair of his socks to emphasise how their smell is "menacing". Also, on the back of the 2007 Beano Book, he pulls one of his socks off to cause everyone else to scatter. The 2001 example listed under Losing A Shoe in the Struggle has Dennis telling his dad to look what he's done, with his dad replying "Look? I can smell- Pooh!" There is also the "Bathnight Club" episode of the series.
    • J.J. in Dennis and Gnasher: Unleashed is also shown to have a case of those. Probably justified on how athletic she is.
  • Special Guest: The nineties series featured guest appearances from the likes of Hugh Laurie, Billy Connolly, Leslie Phillips, Willie Rushton and his I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue co-star Tim-Brooke Taylor, Bernard Cribbins, Greg Proops, Ken Dodd and BRIAN BLESSED.
  • Spoiled Brat: Various rivals to Dennis are this:
    • Walter to varying degrees: his parents seem to be rich enough to buy him whatever he wants whenever he wants it in the 2009 and 2013 series, but it's taken Up to Eleven in Unleashed where his dad is the mayor of Beanotown and he's able to boss any adult around.
    • Angel Face in the 2013 series, due to being the daughter of the headmaster. Being told "no" is a Berserk Button for her.
  • Superdickery: Frequently inverted. If the cover shows him being kind, polite or 'soft' in any way, expect things to be back to normal by the last page.
  • Surprise Litter of Puppies: In a very rare long-term arc during the early 1980s, Gnasher went missing for several weeks, with readers being encouraged to join in the search in Real Life. It finally turned out that he'd fallen in love with a beagle and had a litter of puppies with her. The only one who looked like him, Gnipper, subsequently joined the cast.
  • Sweet Tooth: Angel Face, sometimes to Big Eater levels.
    • In "Last Day of Summer" she stuffs her face with a bunch of cupcakes she made for the Colonel.
    • In "Just Desserts" she attempted to steal all the cream pies for herself.
    • In "Car Wash Caper" she can be seen buying a triple scoop ice cream cone.
    • Dennis himself once "died" after being denied ice cream.
  • Theme Naming: In addition to Gnasher the dog, he also had a pig named Rasher, a spider named Dasher, and a fish named Splasher.
    • Gnasher's children are named Gnipper, Gnora, Gnancy, Gnatasha, Gnaomi and Gniamh.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Subverted in "Prom Mean". A custard pie meant for Angel Face almost hits Walter, but manages to hit its intended target. When Walter laughs and gloats that he wasn't the victim for once, Angel Face hits him with the custard pie, but in the end Walter gets her back.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Walter. In the early days of the comic, he was a genuinely nice boy who simply preferred girly interests. Due to the fear that Dennis bullying him would seem like homophobia, Walter has become more malicious, vindictive and determined to get Dennis into trouble, making any comeuppance Dennis gives him justified.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In contrast, Dennis became more mischievous and attention-seeking than outright cruel in his pranks. Most of his nastier moments have some sort of provocation.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: While there are no pitchforks, “Bathnight Club” parodies this, with an angry mob forming with the intent of getting Dennis to take a bath. A man actually forms a stand for the mob to grab torches from. The fact that the torches were made on short-notice for the sole purpose of supplying the mob is also subtly lampshaded.
    Man: Torches! Get your fresh, hot torches!
  • Totally Radical: An extremely conspicuous example, in that the characters talked in 1950s slang, "chortling" away at "corking" things and saying "What a swizz!" well into the 2000s!
    • Dennis using "blam" as a catchphrase and replacement for words like "cool" and "great" in Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed.
  • Totem Pole Trench: In "Dennis V.I.P." Dennis and his friends use this to get into a Ratbucket concert with one ticket.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pie-Face and, well, pies.
  • Transplant: Originally a short-lived character in The Dandy, Angel Face has been modernised and given a Race Lift.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Mrs. Creecher in the 2013 series.
  • Tunnel King: Gnasher's ability to bite through anything extends to him being able to bite his way through solid earth, tunneling like a mole.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Dennis the Menace and his female cousin Denise the Menace. Dennis also naturally shares a striking resemblance with his father, Dennis Sr.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: In Gnasher's first appearance, in which Dennis noticed a number of other pets who looked like their owners, he was basically Dennis's hairstyle with legs.
  • Unnamed Parents: Dennis' parents are known as Dennis' Mum and Dennis' Dad, they call each other Mum and Dad. One comic even reveals that those are their actual names. Subverted in recent years as the current Dennis is now the original's son. The Beano website has revealed that his mother's name is Sandra.
  • 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.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Dennis, especially early on. Sometimes he slips into Lovable Rogue territory however.
  • Vague Age: During The '80s, many readers wrote to Dennis' fan club page asking how old he was. Each time one of these letters was published, Dennis would always find a way to dodge answering the question. Eventually, a strip was published which involved a hardcore fan successfully stealing Dennis' birth certificate only to lose it to a sudden gust of wind.
    • Averted in the 2013 animated series, with multiple episodes having Dennis state he's ten years old.
  • Wild Card: Angel Face is only looking out for herself and will only work with Dennis if there's something in it for her.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • In issue 3649, Dennis' parents got a makeover that made them about 20 years younger and more like Dennis. This was revealed to be a subversion: the new design of Dennis' dad in particular is actually completely a different character to the original because he's now the adult version of the original Dennis, meaning that viewers were now reading about the antics of Dennis the Menace, Jr.!
    • Pie-Face as of September 2017, as his design was completely changed to match the new Dennis And Gnasher Unleashed series. Curly got it even worse - he's been Put on a Bus.
    • The Unleashed version of Walter looks more like a generic schoolkid than his traditional design. Most characters in Unleashed appear to follow this.
    • The 2009 series completely redesigns the Colonel.
  • Youthful Freckles: Dennis is shown to have those in Unleashed.


Video Example(s):


Dennis Fakes Sick

Dennis pretends to have caught the "Beanotown Cold", but his mother isn't fooled.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlayingSick

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