Once considered a schoolyard terror, the classic comic book bully is being rebooted for today’s snowflakes as a softer, gentler character.
The newest incarnation of Dennis the Menace is set to be the character’s most politically correct incarnation to date. He’s replaced his old slingshot with an iPad, because toys intended to harm people and smash windows aren’t what its new creators have in mind for the character. Sadly, Dennis doesn’t use his iPad to make fun of people on social media.
Far from the malicious character he used to be, the new Dennis is all about “inclusivity,” according to his producers on the Children’s BBC cartoon.
“We want to be as inclusive as possible,” says Mike Stirling, editorial director of Beano Studios. “In the history of the comic, inclusiveness was not 100 percent there, but I think it’s certainly something we’ve been conscious of in terms of producing new characters. We’re really representing what we see in schools in Britain.”
Of the new characters, one of them is Rubi, a disabled tech geek who rolls around in a wheelchair. The other new character is JJ, a “feisty” black girl.
The new animation sees Dennis forming a garage band with his old friend Pie-Face, Rubi, and JJ. Dennis’s regular target, Walter the Softy, has also been given a makeover. The Daily Mail observed that he bore a striking resemblance to Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, and is described as “grown-up before his time.”
He’s just Walter now, without the “Softy” moniker, which its creators say they were “uncomfortable” with. When Dennis first showed up in 1951, he would pick on the effeminate Walter. The comic would later face accusations of homophobia.
In the CBBC’s previous reboot of the character in 2009, its makers took an effort to remove parts of his violent personality without defanging him too much. It would be surprising if the new Dennis is even capable of banter these days.
Feature Image via Comicshop