If anything can drive the spirits away, it’s Dennis the Menace.

§ September 26th, 2018 § Filed under dennis the menace § 7 Comments

Here’s one of those weird things that showed up in some collection or ‘nother at the shop that I didn’t really pay much attention to ’til it came up during processing:

This is a variant on Dennis the Menace #140 (September 1975). with the date and price removed (you can compare the two versions here). The lead story features Dennis and his long-suffering parents visiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. The price-less variant was apparently used as a promotional item for the attraction. The Grand Comics Database linked above refers to it as a “giveaway,” so I suppose it was handed out on the premises. I wonder how many were printed? How long did they give copies away? San Jose is only a few hours away from the stores I’ve worked at…I’m surprised I haven’t seen more copies. Or, perhaps I have and it just didn’t register with me that “oh hey, this one’s missing the cover price.”

What made me notice this particular copy, and what makes it different from the sample on the GCD, is that huge ol’ sticker affixed to the bottom of the cover:

Clearly not every copy got that sticker slapped on the cover, as per, again, that scan on the GCD. And this is the kind of sticker that ain’t comin’ off, so it’s not like someone got one of these and removed it. My guess is that stickerless copies were given out at the Mystery House itself, while stickered copies were used as advertising elsewhere, with the sticker making it clear that the point of being handed the comic was “oh, yeah, the Winchester House,” not “here’s Dennis the Menace, now available in comic book form…enjoy!” I have no idea…maybe copies were just randomly stickered. Only the Winchester House spirits know for sure.

7 Responses to “If anything can drive the spirits away, it’s Dennis the Menace.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Interesting. I notice from the GCD that Dennis the Menace #159 had a “Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival” variant–but those appear to be the only two issues in the whole run with tie-ins like that. Why the Winchester Mystery House? Did Hank Ketcham simply once visit there and like it? Or did the Mystery House approach him, or Fawcett?

    I also checked the Dennis the Menace Giants (https://www.comics.org/series/11132/) and found no similar tie-ins, although I’m now intrigued about the Dennis the Menace in Mexico issue.

  • Mikester says:

    I also had at the shop a while back a Dennis the Menace issue that was all about their visit to Universal Studios. Maybe an additional source of income subsidizing the Dennis pubishing empire?

  • Argh!Sims says:

    Or possibly they gave out comics and stickers, and one kid happened to put the sticker on his copy?

  • Tom Cherry says:

    Something tells me Mr. Wilson financed the Mitchells’ trip and he was very disappointed when the boy came back alive.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    A Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival story? So…the stage has been set for a Dennis the Menace/Birdemic crossover!

  • Harry says:

    When I was a kid in Boston, virtually everything I knew about Northern California came from this Dennis comic and another in which he visited Santa Cruz’s “Mystery Spot.” I live in the San Francisco area now, but these two Dennis stories–which I used to think appeared in comic, though I apparently misremembered–continue to bump around the back of my brain,

    Hank Ketcham lived in Monterey for years, which presumably helps explain why Dennis visited the Mystery House, the Mystery Spot, and Half Moon Bay (though of course he also went to plenty of real places not located near Ketcham’s home).

    Monterey’s Dennis the Menace Playground, funded by Ketcham, has been there since the 1950s and remains very popular.

  • Harry says:

    I meant to say I thought the two stories appeared in one comic.