American comic artist Henry King Ketcham was born in Seattle, Washington in 1920. Henry, known as "Hank", attended the University of Washington in 1938, but soon tired of normal studies and started a career in animation.
Half Hitch, art by Dick Hodgins Jr.
Until 1940 Ketcham was employed by Lantz Productions (home of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons) at 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 his most famous creation, 'Dennis the Menace', was born.
Hank Ketcham drew 'Dennis the Menace' with an irreverent yet affectionate pen for over forty years, and officially retired in October 1995. His assistants Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand continue the feature until today. Between 1970 and 1975 he also relaunched 'Half Hitch' for King Features, but hired the artist Dick Hodgins Jr. and the writers Herb Gochros and Bob Saylor to produce it. After suffering from heart disease and cancer, Hank Ketcham passed away peacefully on 2 June 2001, at the age of 81.