Dennis 'too nice' to be a menace, says fan (8)
One of Britain's most enduring comic characters is continuing to evolve to match changing times, an editor said yesterday.
'Dennis the Menace' remained armed but was not dangerous, said Alan Digby, editor of 'The Beano' comic.
He said the 2010 version of Dennis, who first appeared in 'The Beano' in 1951 and also features in a television series, was best described as "exuberant".
He was speaking after eight-year-old Jacob Rush, of Ipswich, Suffolk, wrote complaining that Dennis was becoming too "nice".
"We have changed his character as times have changed -- we would see him as being 'exuberant'," said Mr Digby.
"Dennis can still use his catapult -- and his water pistol -- but he would never use it to knock a policeman's hat off any more."
Mr Digby said creators were careful not to encourage children to be bullies or vandals.
He said Dennis's arch-rival 'Walter' was no longer portrayed as "soft" but as a child old before his time.
"Dennis has always evolved as times have changed," said Mr Digby.
"For example, he used to be punished with the cane or the slipper. That hasn't happened for many years.
"The problem is that 'every generation throws a hero up the pop charts', and people tend to remember the Dennis of their childhood.
"Jacob is right in certain respects, Dennis has changed. We've written to him to try and explain why."