One of the most significant changes in British family life took place on 25 August last year. That was the day Dennis the Menace’s dad changed his hairstyle. Now it is nearly as spiky as his son’s. For the previous 50-odd years it had consisted of stubble above a floridly furious face and Hitler moustache as, traditionally, he lost his temper big time on his wayward son’s long-suffering bottom. “Historically all the authority figures in the Beano looked the same,” says Mike Stirling, editor-in-chief of the Beano. “The simple reason is, they were all modelled on the managing editor from the 1950s.” He must have been a riot.Dennis’s dad’s hair had to change, Stirling says, to reflect two facts. First, “We are continually told by readers that children get on really well with their parents rather than being locked into an adversarial relationship.” So dads, even in the Beano, had to turn into something more than distant brutes with anger management issues.Second, the editors realised a game-changing truth. Parents were pranking before you (their children) were born. They wanted to see that reflected in the Beano, with images of grownups not as thugs dispensing rough justice but as grownups with pasts as badass as Gnasher’s parps.