Marketing the Menace

How has ‘the world’s wildest boy’ survived the rise of television, increased cultural consumption and the digital age? 

A stack of Beano annuals on a bookshelf. Alamy.

It is 70 years since Dennis the Menace’s first appearance in the Beano. His evolution since 1951 reflects a changing historical landscape, as he has adapted to match the shifts in attitude and preference that have accompanied the comic’s long history. The Beano, an overlooked source of socio-cultural interest, remains Britain’s longest-running and bestselling children’s weekly comic, its success attributable in part to brand marketing techniques, not least the Beano’s history as a powerful retro-marketing tool.  

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