Friday, May 11, 2007

Dennis, Anyone?

Fantagraphics has been publishing beautiful hardcover compilations of Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace dailies, starting with the year the strip began. If you like comics, cartooning or just enjoy beautiful drawing and handsome book design, you should buy these.

The cartoons are charming, and often very funny. The design of the characters is magnificent, the draftsmanship, linework and composition of these panels cannot be improved upon. I love Mr. Ketcham's brilliant work, and I'm hardly alone. Even Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame cites Ketcham as a major influence (see the way each man used solid blacks to shape his compositions). Animation designer Shane Glines has adopted many Ketchum tricks and techniques in his own work, and John Kricfalusi (of Ren & Stimpy fame) has mentioned the sheer perfection of Hank's compositions more than once on his blog.

I can't stress enough the simple beauty of this work. Never a line out of place, never a sour note.

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