Released on July 1, the Dennis & Gnasher special stamp issue celebrates the 70th anniversary of one of Britain’s best-loved comic-strip characters.

Tagged as the world's naughtiest boy, Dennis made his debut in DC Thompson’s comic The Beano in March 1951, as ‘Dennis the Menace’; since 2009 the strip has been named ‘Dennis & Gnasher’.

With his distinctive red-and-black-striped jersey, knobbly knees, messy hair and devilish grin, Dennis is the archetypal badly behaved schoolboy, who takes pride in breaking rules and causing mayhem.

Over the years he has been drawn by various artists, most notably David Law from 1951-70, David Sutherland from 1970-98, David Parkins from 1998-2006, and Nigel Parkinson from 2002 onwards.

He also starred in an annual publication from 1955-2011, and in animated television adaptations in 1996, 2009 and 2017.

Six counter-sheet stamps, which come in se-tenant strips of three, recall landmarks in the evolution of the character, from early black-and-white strips to modern full-colour strips.

A four-stamp self-adhesive miniature sheet, illustrated by Parkinson, is designed to act as a conclusion to the specially commissioned storyline inside the presentation pack, and wishes Dennis a happy birthday.

Designed by The Chase, the issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers.

Dennis has previously appeared on British stamps in the 1990 Greetings set and the 2012 Comics set.

 

1st class DENNIS’S FIRST COMIC STRIP, 1951

Drawn by David Law, the first ever Dennis the Menace strip had a storyline in which he was told repeatedly by his father to keep off the grass. When he disobeyed, the dog’s lead was put on him instead.

1st class DENNIS ADOPTS GNASHER, 1968

Drawn by David Law, this strip introduced an Abyssinian wire-haired tripehound, originally adopted by Dennis as a means to gain entry to a dog show, who would become his close companion.

1st class DENNIS’S FRONT COVER DEBUT, 1974

Drawn by David Sutherland, this strip coincided with the elevation of Dennis to the status of the regular cover star of The Beano, replacing Biffo the Bear. Dennis retains that position to this day.

£1.70 DENNIS ADOPTS RASHER THE PIG, 1979

Drawn by David Sutherland, this strip gave Dennis a second pet, one who would go on to have his own comic strip from 1984 onwards.

£1.70 DENNIS MEETS HIS BABY SISTER BEA, 1998

Drawn by David Parkins, this strip gave Dennis a new-born sister. Initially he feared she would ruin his reputation as the toughest menace in Beanotown, but she turned out to be a troublemaker too. Within a few months, she gained her own spin-off strip.

£1.70 DENNIS REVEALS DAD WAS DENNIS, 2015

Drawn by Nigel Parkinson, some years after a relaunch of the characters which included giving Dennis’s father a more youthful look, this strip reveals that his dad is in fact a grown-up version of the 1980s Dennis.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class DENNIS

The current incarnation of Dennis, the mischievous schoolboy.

1st class GNASHER

The current incarnation of Gnasher, the Abyssinian wire-haired tripehound.

£1.70 MINNIE THE MINX

The current incarnation of Minnie the Minx, Dennis’s female equivalent, occasional accomplice and long-time rival.

£1.70 FAMILY PORTRAIT

Family portrait showing the current incarnations of Dennis, Bea and their parents.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack traces the key events in the Dennis story, and contains an exclusive comic strip on the subject of his birthday celebrations.

A press sheet of 18 uncut miniature sheets in available, in a limited edition of 500, as are stamp cards and first day covers.

 

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps   £7.65

Miniature sheet   £5.10

Press sheet   £100.95

Presentation pack   £13.65

Stamp cards   £4.95

First day cover (stamps)   £9.85

First day cover (mini-sheet)   £6.80

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   2/5

Dennis is a well-loved character, but this feels more like a merchandising exercise than a commemorative issue

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

Reproducing old comic strips offers a blast of nostalgia, although the miniature sheet stamps are little more than sticky labels

WOW FACTOR   2/5

This set is for connoisseurs of the comic book genre, and may leave others cold