Come on admit it, the comics page is the first place you go when you’re in possession of a newspaper. Swine Flu? Fires? Floods? George Bush does something stupid? Meh. What I want to know is what’s going on with all my friends on the funny pages.
The Providence Journal has the worst comic strips. When I was a kid my grandparents in Connecticut would save me the Sunday funnies and whenever we visited I had a nice pile to go through. It was only in the Harford Chronicle (or whatever it was called) that I could catch up on the Star Wars strip (yes, there was a fucking Star Wars strip!) and the timeless gang from Archie comics.
Most people make New Year’s resolutions pertaining to something they would like to change about their lives. Many choose to lose weight, as evidenced by all the fatties in my gym, and others opt to give up bad habits. In 2004 I made a very important decision that I have stuck with to this day. I made a resolution that I would follow the adventures of Rex Morgan, M.D. and The Amazing Spider-Man comic strips daily. For most of my life I have glossed over the “serious”, continuing story comic strips, but a part of me always wondered what it would be like to actually follow a story all the way through. Five years later I can tell you the answer to that question; it’s not very satisfying, not at all. Both move at a glacial pace and there is a lot of redundancy throughout the week. The Sunday strips are a complete waste as they are designed for people who might only follow the stories on Sundays so what you’re left with is a basic recap of the week.
My favorite strip of all time is, of course, Peanuts. While it looks like a kid strip, it’s really Schulz’s autobiography and it’s full of worry and despair. The man himself was a miserable human being who disliked children and suffered from chronic anxiety and depression. Here’s the last one Schulz wrote, dictated from his sick bed. It came out on the same day he died,
What’s most striking about the daily comics is how bad most of them are. JSP and I were discussing this issue the other night and we both observed that the longest running strips are the least funny. I mean, how do strips like Cathy, Blondie, Hagar the Horrible, and Family Circus still exist, and who laughs at those? Don’t believe me? Here’s today’s Family Circus,
The comic strip is a rich area to be mined. There are just so many questions! For example, have you ever noticed that Cathy sweats like a pig in nearly ever strip? Why? Does she have hyperhydrosis?
And have you ever noticed that every Garfield strip is exactly the same?
One of the craziest patients I ever worked with was a compulsive hoarder who had 20 years worth of newspapers stored in his house from floor to ceiling. When I asked him why he kept them he said, "I Don't want to throw them away until I read all the Marmaduke's." 'Nuff said.
Man I miss The Far Side,
My new favorite is a strip called "Bliss", it’s incredibly sarcastic. They tried it in the Providence Journal but of course nobody liked it and instead the idiots in Rhode Island chose some unfunny strip about frogs.
So enjoy the topic, folks. I look forward to reading your comic strip musings!