Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!
TITLE: Stop Thief! And other stories
Dennis the Menace by : Hank Ketcham [Credited, although if I may break character here, it’s well-documented that most of these stories were ghosted by others]
Bungle Island by: Ed Nofziger
Publisher: Fawcett Comics
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: I remember Dennis the Menace! He was in the newspapers when I was a kid! But how are they going to make a whole comic book out of one-panel comics?
IMPRESSIONS: Ah. They didn’t. This book mostly contains short stories about Dennis the Menace, Ruff, the Mitchells, and Good Ol’ Mister Wilson. Stop Thief! starts with Mrs. Wilson waking up her husband when she hears someone downstairs, and immediately concludes that it must be her next-door-neighbor, 6-year-old Dennis Mitchell, who just loves her chocolate cake. On a related note, I wish I had a next-door-neighbor who kept chocolate cake around as a matter of course. Anyway, Mr. Wilson calls up Dennis’s dad, who winds up stumbling into an actual burglar. We also get Fowl Play, in which Dennis constantly misunderstands various bird-related metaphors, and Let’s Go-At-Em, in which Dennis introduces Mr. Wilson to… well… a goat. These stories are actually pretty good. I mean, we’re not talking about War and Peace here, it isn’t great literature, but the stories are cute and funny, and probably very good for kids.
We get a few other Dennis stories, including several pages of one-panel strips reprinted from the newspapers with some funky Pop-Up Video-style comments to accompany them. There’s also one non-Dennis story, Bungle Island, where we see an island of animals with a sort of bumbling lion king. This actually pulls down my score for the whole book, it’s honestly not that funny, and the artwork is funky as well.
The Dennis stuff, though, is really very good. Probably not something I would seek out, but I’d read it if I stumble over a copy.