Henry (Hank) King Ketcham was born in 1920 on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington (how appropriate, then, that Seattle's Fantagraphics Books is now collecting his life's work). He attended the University of Washington in 1938, but he was soon tired of normal studies and started a career in animation. Until 1940, he was employed by Lantz Productions of Universal Studios. From 1941 to 1945, Hank Ketcham was chief photographic specialist with the United States Naval Reserve in Washington, DC, where he created his first comic strip, Half Hitch. After this, he worked with Walt Disney Productions on Pinocchio, Fantasia and some Donald Duck shorts. In 1948, he moved to Carmel, California, where he created one of the most enduringly irresistible imps in the world: Dennis the Menace. Dennis the Menace first began to plague his next-door neighbor, Mr. Wilson, in 1950 on the pages of America's newspapers. Today the comic panel appears in more than 1,000 newspapers in 48 countries and in 19 languages. Ketcham's brainchild has been the subject of a hit network TV series, starring Jay North, which ran from 1959 to 1963, and still appears on stations around the country. Animated Dennis adventures produced for General Mills aired in 1988-89. More than 50 million "Dennis" books have been sold. And the half-pint has become a popular spokescharacter for many worthy causes throughout the years. Ketcham drew Dennis the Menace with an irreverent yet affectionate pen for over forty years, and officially retired in October 1995. After suffering from heart disease and cancer, Hank Ketcham passed away peacefully on 2 June 2001, at the age of 81.