minnow at minnow at
Wed Nov 12 10:30:59 EST 2003

Charlie wrote:

>On the two Dennis the Menaces (or should that be Dennises the Menace?), I
>heard they were invented independently in the USA and Scotland at around
>the same time, and that the two inventors, instead of suing each other
>into bankruptcy as would no doubt have happened in our own more
>enlightened times, agreed a policy of live and let live, and that each
>would stick to his menacing his own continent.

I'm amazed if the "Scottish" Dennis was the intellectual property of his
creator: that publisher has been generally known in strip-illustration
circles for poor treatment of artist/creators in terms of ownership of
copyright.  So any decision about whether or not to fight it out in a court
of law, whether in the US or the UK, would have rested not with the man who
had the idea but with his publisher, on one side at least, would be my bet.

At the time when I was on the committee of what was then the (UK) Society
for Strip Illustration, I recall discussion of the injustice to an
individual whose creations had been the mainstay of the Beano and I think
also the Dandy in what were regarded by many of us as their Golden Age
(that is, of course, about five years before any of us had actually got our
sticky little mitts on the things: the Golden Age of *anything* happened
just before anyone involved in a discussion got there!). He wasn't being
paid anything for their continuing use, and was not at all well-off, and
everyone was trying to work out what if anything could be done to try to
get him at least some cut of the cake he'd helped bake.  As it were.  I
think in the end he did get possession of the copyright in his created
characters, and so some money out of the deal apart from just the one-off
payments-per-page he'd had in the first place many years before.

Which was good, if I'm remembering the right particular story, because the
man was going blind and could no longer do the work he'd spent his life on.
Something along those lines, anyhow.  Note that I'm not mentioning names,
because I'm not certain enough of details to feel confident....  I think he
invented DtM, but am not one hundred per cent sure.

>Having said which, the film of the US Dennis did come over here a few
>years ago. It sucked.



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