|An expanded Dennis The Menace cartoon.|
In his landmark 1993 book Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud stated that single-panel newspaper features like Bil Keane's The Family Circus do not qualify as comics because they lack sequential juxtaposition, i.e. the very feature that defines comics as a unique medium. I wonder what Mr. McCloud might make of Hank Ketcham's Dennis The Menace. From Monday to Saturday, Dennis is (usually) a single-panel feature with a very limited cast in a very defined setting. On Sundays, it expands to a multi-panel layout. And, every once in a while, the thankless artists who do the strip today (Ketcham died in 2001) will divide one of the daily panels into halves. So Dennis The Menace is occasionally a comic and occasionally not a comic. It is the Schrodinger's cat of the cartoon world. I think it should be a multi-panel feature every day. Sometimes, when there's just one panel to work with, the joke is not really complete. Today's Dennis is a perfect example. You see it up there at the top left. It needed a couple more panels to be whole. So I added them.