Beano’s Dennis builds his own Kelpies to celebrate anniversary of his first appearance

A special comic strip sees Dennis and Gnasher visit The Kelpies. Image © Beano Studios

A special comic strip sees Dennis and Gnasher visit The Kelpies. Image © Beano Studios

Beano Studios has partnered with the iconic Scottish monument The Kelpies to launch a new product range featuring exclusive Dennis and Gnasher comic strip artwork by Beano artist David Sutherland, which will also help mark the anniversary of the character’s appearance in the comic.

The original strip was made as a gift for the structures’ sculptor, Andy Scott, and now an image of the 30-metre (98ft) horse-heads with the characters next to them has been printed on a number of items to coincide with the 67th anniversary of Dennis’ first appearance.

The new comic strip will feature on a range of merchandise including cushions, mugs, water bottles and tote bags, manufactured by Star Editions, based in the UK, and is available to purchase from 17th March 2018.

The launch of the Beano X Kelpies product range coincides with the anniversary of Dennis’ first appearance in print in issue 452 of Beano on 17th March 1951.

The artwork was created by David Sutherland after his own trip to The Kelpies and will see the Beano’s own icons, Dennis and Gnasher adding their own 100 foot effigies to the Falkirk landmark.

Sutherland is of course one of the Beano’s most famous artists, responsible for drawing both “The Bash Street Kids” and “Dennis the Menace” in the past.

The Kelpies. Photo: Hotblack

The Kelpies. Photo: Hotblack

The Kelpies, located at The Helix park just off the M9 motorway between Falkirk and Grangemouth – inspired by legends of shape-shifting water spirits inhabiting the lochs and pools of Scotland that can also take on human form – are the largest public artworks in the UK. Since being inaugurated in 2014, they have gone on to win numerous awards and attract millions of visitors every year.

“I am delighted to see the wonderful engineering adaptation of The Kelpies by those other Scottish icons, Dennis and Gnasher,” enthuses Andy Scott. “On a personal level, I have known their artist David Sutherland for many years and visited The Kelpies with him and his family a couple of years ago.

“Dennis and Gnasher have brought smiles to the faces of generations of youngsters, myself included when I was a boy, and it’s a real pleasure to see their unique sense of mischief so skilfully brought to life with the Kelpies.

“We are delighted to work with David and Beano Studios to bring this range of merchandise to the public and hope they add a new light-hearted dimension to the visitor’s experience when visiting The Kelpies.”

Sutherland added: “I have long been an admirer of Andy’s work and have seen many sculptures fashioned by his hands – then along cam The Kelpies. Seeing these iconic sculptures first-hand was an incredible experience and it felt almost as though they had come to life.

“Each time I draw Dennis and Gnasher they also take on a life of their own. In this instance, Dennis and Gnasher decided to steal a little of Andrew’s fame by helping themselves to a few bus panels and they created their own sculptures.

“I feel they did a good job, not to outdo Andy’s sculptures, but to keep The Kelpies company. Andy is a dear friend of mine and I am thrilled that we are able to work together to release a limited range of merchandise for fans of both Beano and The Kelpies to enjoy.”

Dennis and Gnasher aren’t the first to honour the popularity of the Kelpies in print. The Kelpies imprint which has a number of Kelpie-related books in its catalogue, is published by independent publishing company Floris Books, based in Edinburgh, the largest publisher of children’s books in Scotland. They acquired the original Kelpies list – which included books from classic Scottish authors such as Kathleen Fidler, George Mackay Brown and Mollie Hunter – from fellow Scottish publisher Canongate in 2002.

• To celebrate the launch, there will be a limited edition of 48 prints of the artwork, signed by both artists, available to buy at the Helix Visitor Centre and the Falkirk Wheel Shop

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