|Americaís favorite mischievous tyke returned to Saturday morning in DICís All-New Dennis the Menace. Debuting only a few months after the summer í93 release of the live-action feature Dennis the Menace, the cartoon seemed poised for greatness.
The character of Dennis the Menace had been around since 1951, when cartoonist Hank Ketcham first brought the cowlicked lad to the comic strip pages. Since then, Dennis and friends had appeared on a live-action sitcom, a long-running cartoon series, and countless Dairy Queen commercials. The boy was a worldwide star, and he and grouchy neighbor Mr. Wilson became comic icons.
All-New Dennis the Menace took its cue from the feature film, casting Dennis more as a well-intentioned jinx than a true menace. Mr. Wilson was as persnickety as ever, despite Mrs. Wilsonís calming influence. The rest of the comic strip regulars were all here as wellóparents Henry and Alice Mitchell, friends Joey and Gina, smarty pants Margaret, and good old dog Ruff.
The new lessons Dennis learned reflected the 90's redefinition of, among other things, gender roles. Dennis learned to curb his macho tendencies by understanding that courage was not just a masculine trait. He also became more sensitive, finding out that "girls are always right and boys are always wrong."
Alas, the new series was not to be. Tow-headed mischief makers had gotten meaner since Dennisí heyday, thanks to ruffians like Bart Simpson and Home Aloneís Kevin McCallister. After one season, the Mitchell family and friends returned to the funny papers, where Dennis could carry out his spunky mayhem without worrying about his Nielsen ratings. But based on his recurring presence in print, television, and film, Dennis the Menaceóblonde hair, skateboard, well-meaning disasters and allówill be lurking around the neighborhood for a long time to come.