HE is the eternal young scamp who is actually 70 this year, and now the secret is out about the iconic red and black jumper that made Dennis the Menace a fashionista as well as being the tearaway’s uniform for seven decades.

The longest running comic strip in the Beano, Dennis the Menace first wore a shirt and ties, but after just a month he was given a hooped jumper, and in the 1950s that jumper became black and red – the strongest colours of ink available to printers in the 1950s.

Now, to celebrate the 70th ­anniversary, Dennis finally discloses the secret of his striped jumper in The Epic Yarn of Awesomeness, a new comic strip created for ­Dennis’s ­volume of collected comic strip ­adventures Ultimate Dennis and Gnasher Comic Collection.

READ MORE: Dennis The Menace marks 70th anniversary in special Beano edition

Published today by HarperCollins Publishers imprint Farshore, the ­collection brings together over 50 rib-tickling comics from recent years alongside this never-seen-before story.

In all seriousness the publishers state: “In The Epic Yarn of Awesomeness, Dennis reveals that his jumper belonged to his great, great, one-hundred-more greats grandfather (also called Dennis, naturally) and was knitted by the ancestor’s Gran, who was a friendly witch.

“Using spider wool infused with special red and black magic potions, she knitted the jumper with her wands to create an awesomely powerful – if slightly itchy – jumper. Now we know why Dennis has come through so many scrapes and escapades mostly unscathed – his magic jumper.”

The National:

Eagle-eyed readers might also ­notice that the order of Dennis’s stripes have changed over the years. The original Dennis wore black-red-black-red from the collar down. Today’s Dennis wears red-black-red-black from the collar down. In 1991, as part of his 50th anniversary celebrations, Dennis ditched his stripes for a trendy new shell suit! Readers and media alike were shocked, so much so, that he immediately ditched it for a return to his faithful jumper. Dennis has since only exchanged his stripey jumper once in 2018, when he donned a festive jumper in aid of Save the Children.

Minnie the Minx might take issue with all this celebrating of the jumper – in issue 1894, in November 1978, she claimed that the famous jumper was actually her trademark, and that ­Dennis had no right to call them “Dennis Jerseys”. More ­recently, Drag Race UK contestant Ellie ­Diamond wore a red and black striped top on the second season of the show – it has been acquired by The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum.

To mark 70 years of Dennis’s red and black jumper, knitting sensation Jenna Bates, known as Wooly McWoolface, will be creating a ­bespoke red and black jumper. She has amassed over 500,000 TikTok ­followers with her ambitious knitting projects and is giving Dennis’ jumper added prank-power with built in ­catapults and spiders.

Beano Studios’ Editorial Director Mike Stirling said “The red and black stripy jumper has become a genuine British fashion icon. It returns to catwalks across eras, but it’s remained stylish in Beanotown since 1951. Despite being adopted by superstars it remains synonymous with Dennis.

“Our new fiction range allows us to tell taller, more expansive, tales than ever ­before. They’re inspired by readers of the weekly comic, who told us they wished they could read Beano every day. Readers constantly ask us questions about what our characters truly think and feel and this is the first time in Beano history we’ve been able to answer everyone, with the help of superstar author I.P. Daley.”