March 12, 1951 saw the debut of one of the most beloved young scamps in all of comic strip history:
Dennis the Menace.
The only problem was, two completely different Dennis the Menaces debuted on March 12, 1951: one in America and created by Hank Ketcham, and one in England created by David Law.
To be fair, there are some basic similarities both Dennises share. Both are bratty boys. Both wear striped shirts. Both have dogs. Both have uptight nerdy neighbor children they enjoy tormenting to various degrees.
Was this a case of plagiarism?
Technically, the British Dennis the Menace, appearing in the comic The Beano, beat the American one by a couple of hours—even though it was dated March 17th.
Did Hank Ketcham, via international spies, find out all about this potentially epoch-breaking young cartoon character and decided to come up with one of his own?
No, it is commonly believed that nobody ripped off anybody as regards to Dennis the Menace.
Then what the hell happened here?
As suggested in the Cracked article “The 5 Most Mind-Blowing Coincidences of All Time,” this could be an example of what psychiatrist Carl Jung has termed SYNCHRONICITY…”the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.”
I’d even add another concept in there: the “noosphere.” Introduced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, it’s the idea that there is a big collective “thought cloud” that all of humanity contributes to/pulls from. According to the noosphere concept, there might have been a general “idea” of a Dennis the Menace floating in the ether, which may have been introduced by Ketcham or Law first, or perhaps both simultaneously.
In short: Dennis the Menace may have simply been an idea whose time has come, designed to contribute to the evolution of Humankind in ways as-of-yet unfathomed.
What was the final purpose of “The Dennis Menace Of Two Worlds?” What was it all leading to? We may never know.