Another first, and this time it's about Dennis the Menace's hair growing legs - Gnasher! Dennis' creator (David (Davey) Law), got the idea for Dennis whilst watching a play and the original ideas were scrawled on the back of a hankerchief. That was in 1951. It was 17 years on when Dennis got the Abyssinian Wire-Haired Tripe Hound, he picked him up off the street and then took him along to the dog show. However, this wasn't the first time Dennis had owned a dog. His dad was walking one in the park way back in the very first episode on 17th March 1951, and earlier in '68 he picked another dog up off the street, in several different issues! So dogs were a big part of Dennis' world.
Ian gray, the scriptwriter for Dennis the Menace at the time, gave Law the following instructions for drawing Gnasher: 'Draw Dennis the Menace's hair, put a leg at each corner and eyes, nose and teeth at the front'. He did a pretty good job of it as well didn't he!
So here is the first ever comic strip published with Gnasher, which appeared on the back cover of Beano #1363, August 31st 1968.
In the last box 'Dad' send Gnasher off to Pup Parade, where he would appear the following week. Gordon Bell, the artist of Pup Parade, illustrated Gnasher perfectly, and with a bit more of a cartoony face! This story though, as far as I can find, has never been posted up online. So here it is! Enjoy!
Gnasher did not appear alongside Dennis that week. In fact, he didn't appear again until #1370, then vanished until #1377, then #1380, had two consecutive weeks in January 1969, then came back in #1387 and then started appearing every week from #1392, dated March 22nd 1969.
Then, in 1986, Gnasher went missing! After many anxious weeks and campaigns, he returns, the father of six pups. Only one of them is kept - Gnipper. The two later went on to star in their very own comic strip called 'Gnasher and Gnipper'. In a more recent issue Gnasher sets off to find the other pups who are at all four corners of the world, which was illustrated by Tom Paterson. When the Dennis the Menace fan club started, Gnasher had his own section entitled 'Gnashers Fang Club' and even had his very own hairy badge with moving eyes and would quickly become the most popular part of the club. All of the most popular Beano free gifts were based upon Gnasher. Dennis the Menace changed it's title to Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, and remains like that today. From 1977 to 1986 he had his own story called 'Gnashers Tale and more recently one called Gnasher's Bite, which appears on the back page of The Beano every week.