Dennis the Menace is a daily syndicated newspaper comic strip originally created, written, and illustrated by Hank Ketcham. It debuted on March 12, 1951, in 16 newspapers and was originally distributed by Post-Hall Syndicate. It is now written and drawn by Ketcham's former assistants, Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand, and distributed to at least 1,000 newspapers in 48 countries and in 19 languages by King Features Syndicate. The comic strip usually runs for a single panel on weekdays and a full strip on Sundays.
Dennis Mitchell is an importuning but lovable, freckle-faced five-and-a-half-year-old boy with a famous blond cowlick and a penchant for mischief. His long-suffering parents can only shake their heads and try to explain their son's antics to others. Dennis's wide-eyed curiosity, his well-meaning attempts to help, his innocent, matter-of-fact bluntness, his youthful energy and enthusiastic nature always seem to lead to trouble wherever he goes (most often at Mr. Wilson's expense).
The inspiration for the comic strip came from Dennis Ketcham, the real life son of Hank Ketcham, who was only four years old when he refused to take a nap and somehow messed up his whole room. Hank tried many possible names for the character, and translated them into rough pencil sketches. But when his studio door flew open and his then-wife Alice, in utter exasperation, exclaimed, "Your son is a menace!", the "Dennis the Menace" name stuck.