Dennis the Menace is being rebranded for the modern world and will appear as plain old ‘Dennis’ in the future, his publishers have said.
DC Thomson, which has published The Beano since 1938, said the tearaway schoolboy would lose his famous “Menace” title in future editions of the comic.
“He has moved away from his ‘menacing’ ways” Mike Stirling, head of Beano Studios The character’s creators said Dennis – who famously made life a misery for his bespectacled “softy” enemy Walter – had evolved to become more “reflective of the world we all live in today”.
The move coincides with the launch of a new CBBC television series called Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed, featuring the tousle-haired schoolboy and his equally well known dog.
In the programme, Dennis still wields a pea-shooter but has traded his traditional schoolboy gang for a more diverse friendship group featuring two girls, one of whom uses a wheelchair.
Mike Stirling, head of Beano Studios Scotland, told the Times newspaper that today’s Dennis “is a flawed hero, a ten-year-old boy who fears nothing and sometimes gets into trouble as a result”.
He added: “He makes mistakes just like any other person, but his mistakes only make him more determined to succeed.
“He has moved away from his ‘menacing’ ways, but still dances to the beat of his own drum as a mischief-maker and is very much a leader amongst his pals.”
The official Beano website has already dropped the “Menace” from the schoolboy’s name, but the comic strip was still branded “Dennis the Menace and Gnasher” in the 2017 Beano annual.
Perhaps for fear of being accused of endorsing bullying, the creators of Dennis have also rebranded his rival Walter, who was once regularly ridiculed for being “soft”.
In the new series, he is portrayed as a clever schemer “who thinks the adventures of childhood are highly overrated” and uses his powerful father’s business connections to ruin everyone’s fun.
The rebranding of Dennis, who has appeared regularly in The Beano since 1951, immediately caused some to lament another victory for political correctness.
“Is nothing sacred? Dennis is no longer a Menace. Next, Billy Bunter is a slim boy who only eats quinoa and kale,” Welsh writer Gaynor Madoc Leonard wrote on Twitter.
The author James Bloodworth added that the new-look Dennis and his inclusive bunch of friends sounded “absolutely terrible”.