by Honolulu Mother
I recently came across an article on Charles Schultz’s long run with Peanuts, and the way the strip changed over the years. I grew up with those paperback Peanuts compilations that everyone had, so the 60s and earlier strips were familiar to me, and then of course I was reading the 70s strips in the paper every day as they ran. I agree with the article that the later strips all about Snoopy and his extended family were . . . not good. It was somewhere in the midst of an extended story arc about Spike talking to a cactus that I finally stopped reading the strip. Although Woodstock I always liked as a kid. Then again, I liked Garfield and Marmaduke too at that age, so I wasn’t really a discerning comic connoisseur.
Calvin and Hobbes wasn’t around yet when I was a kid; I’m sure I would have loved it if it had been. My own kids certainly do. The same goes for Foxtrot, for that matter. The kids have pretty well loved my Foxtrot and Calvin and Hobbes paperback collections to death. I have a particular fondness for Foxtrot’s Camp Bohrmore story arc.
Bloom County was big during my teen years, along with The Far Side. My husband has a precious, irreplaceable Far Side mug that he sweats over whenever a kid uses it. Calvin and Hobbes appeared on the scene when I was in college, and that was also when I discovered Life in Hell — this was in Matt Groening’s pre-Simpsons years.
Of currently running comic strips, there are several I enjoy, like Pearls Before Swine, but none that really stands out as The Best. I have mixed feelings about some of the family-based strips. Take Zits — it never was a favorite, and still isn’t, but lately I keep getting the unsettling feeling that I may actually be the mom from the strip. Regardless, the Sunday funnies is far and away the most thoroughly read piece of the paper every week, especially by the kids.
Some old-style comics have online, unofficial “improved” versions with strategic editing. Garfield Minus Garfield, for instance, or Dysfunctional Family Circus.
And then, of course, there’s the wide world of webcomics, which is a whole field by itself. Skin Horse, XKCD, and Hark! A Vagrant are some of my favorites.
Does your household still get a newspaper in which to read the funnies? Or do you read them online, or in book form (even checked out of the library)? Which strips are your favorites? And are some of them associated with different parts of your life?