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1 like = 1 stupidly hot take about 1980s newspaper comic strips
Bloom County is far less funny when you're an adult and can actually understand that the punchlines a obscure political points but rather just that "Caspar Weinburger" is a funny name
BC's biggest failure is how little it capitalizes on the prehistoric setting. There's literally ONE dinosaur that shows up about twice a year, but soooo many goddamn anteaters and turtles.
A big part of what made The Far Side so effortlessly subversive was Gary Larson's big "I'm just glad to be here" energy.
The Calvin and Hobbes anniversary book is the most disappointing thing ever, unless you really love hearing all th einside baseball of Watterson fighting with his syndicate over getting a full half page so he could draw calvin's fantasy dinosaurs in scientifically accurate detail
The Far Side 10th Anniversary book fuckin slaps and remains the definitive comic strip career retrospective book
One Big Happy was low key the consistently funniest comic in the paper for the bulk of the decade
In retrospect, the issue with Cathy wasn't that it was a woman's comic but that it was made for a very specific generation cohort - early 30s career women living in late 70s/early 80s - so did not speak to anyone outside of the late boomers.
It's good seeing kids rediscover the 'Garfield dies' horror arc as a lost creepypasta relic, since I remember actually reading it in the paper. For 20 years, I thought I had imagined it.
Garfield is good. It's not high art but it does exactly what a comic strip is meant to do, be extremely predictable, easy to parse, and give you the occasional chuckle.
Irma the waitress was the best Garfield character.
Jon Arbuckle has a niece which indicates that Doc Boy has smashed.
It's really weird how no one noticed Opus' gradual evolution from sympathetic everyman woobie in Bloom County to right wing mens rights weirdo in Outland.
Cathy is Jewish.
The biggest pussy move of all is putting Doonesbury on the opinion page. No respect for any coward newspaper that does that.
The single funniest strip of the decade is the one where Calvin and Susie play doctor and it's drawn like Rex Morgan MD or something
Cathy isn't necessarily the worst comic but its insane horror vacui amount of text and lame predictable punchlines gave it the lowest effort to reward ratio of the comics page.
Dilbert was actually good when it was about wacky Elbonians, hiding dinosaurs and robots. It descended into pap as Adams realized that his real bread and butter were just work place jokes people could hang in their cubicles
Scott Adams is a guy with no drawing talent and an off-kilter sense of humor who lucked into a cash cow and immediately decided he was the world's biggest genius, making him the inverse Gary Larson.
It wasn't intentional at the time, but in retrospect "A Wish for Wings that Work" reads as a weirdly transphobic metaphor (even ignoring the cross-dressing cockroach bit).
Lynn Johnson is the most competent artist on the comics page.
Michael from For Better or Worse is the most detestable character on the comics page, just a smug boring jackass with no real personality beyond tormenting his sister.
Bill the Cat is the best running gag ever created.
Early Bloom County had big underground college indie strip energy but Outland had big "I just wanna grill" boomer dad energy.
Berkeley Breathed started comicking at the beginning of the 80s and he should have stopped when the 80s ended
Berkeley Breathed's childrens books are maudlin pap.
Credit where it's due, the Bloom County where Donald Trump in Bill the Cat's body talks with Ronald Ann about what made America great is some sublime political commentary
I think it's really adorable how much Gary Larson likes drawing cows.
Sherman's Lagoon is probably the platonic ideal of a newspaper comic, mildly funny, completely innoffensive, a memorable and easy to understand premise, jokes that make you chuckle and then immediately just slough right off your brain
There are certain turns of phrase that only exist in Garfield and nowhere else. ex. "whoever invented X should be drug into the street and shot," "wait for his bones to knit,"
Garfield's 9 Lives (both the book & the special) is an incredible artistic tour de force and gives the lie to the wide belief that Jim Davis is soley a commercial hack
Bloom County did Yaz Pistachio dirty.
Irving is absolute dogshit and Cathy could do so much better.
Pluggers is rendered incomprehensible by its need to be relatable to every single person.
Comics that rely on reader joke submissions are cheats.
somebody explain ballard street to me
no one knows what a goddamn plugger is
Doonesbury so unapologetically reflects the life journey of middle class boomer libs that it really ought to occupy a similar space to Catcher in the Rye in that generation's heart.
Marvin was clearly a Garfield rip-off, even down to the art style, but based on the flawed premise that people liked babies as much as they liked cats. It failed to realize that people really only like THEIR OWN babies.
Baby Blues was basically Marvin but done well.
Considering the target demographic of the newspaper comic has always been slightly lame older "i just wanna grill" boomers, Zits is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a teenager's life
Doonesbury got boring when they phased out Mr Butts
Sylvia was pitched to readers as a woman's strip similar to Cathy but I think it's actually better dada surrealism than the try-hard arthouse darling Zippy the Pinhead.
Another classis Doonesbury bit they need to bring back: Boopsie channeling Hunk-Ra.
Rose is Rose is so saccharine but something about I can't figure it out.
Rose is Rose ought to expand on Jimbo's BBW fetish, there's a wealth of story telling possibilities being ignored
9 Chickweed Lane is embarrassingly horny. Like jeez dude get a fuckin room
Binkley's Closet of Anxieties was a pretty good premise, lots of good joke fodder in the concept. Especially when nightmares from Reagan's closet frequently got the wrong address.
The Boondocks was good but critically misjudged how incredibly fragile the average lily white newspaper reader was. Every letter to the editor about the Boondocks was cringey "i'm not racist but" soccer moms & grill dads showing their asses
Ernie was correct to rebrand as the Piranha Club.
US Acres was funnier than Garfield imho
Beetle Bailey succeeded b/c it debuted right after WWII so it was extremely relatable to every single draft-age male in the country and it became gradually less relatable with the passage of every single year since
Imagine if Miss Buxley were drawn by someone who could actuall draw 💦
It's extremely crazy to think the syndicate let them get away with naming the busty secretary Miss Buxley and the flat secretary Miss Blips. I mean c'mon
Blondie is actually surprisingly solid as a comic considering that it's a legacy strip from the 20s. It was fairly good at smoothly and subtly modernizing the comic every few years with light touches like Dagwood carpooling and Blondie opening a catering business.
The funniest Mama strip is the one where she dies and Cathy, Edgar from FBOFW, Jeremy from Zits, and a tiny Sergio Aragones mariachi band visit her enormous tombstone
Every "serious" newspaper comic - Rex Morgan, Apartment 3G, Mary Worth - is written on the premise that no one is actually reading, so plots begin and end at random like the respliced inkblot cartoons on Peewee's Playhouse
Francis from Mama is relatable.
The Duplex was actually kind of clever, which makes me mad because Glen McCoy is an irredeemable piece of shit
The Rueben Award is a fucking joke. There are only like 12 cartoonists so they just cycle through them and there's no bigger indictment of its meaninglessness than that Michael Ramirez won it
Every single panel comic wants to be The Far Side. Bizarro probably comes the closest to achieving that goal.
Wiley's got a cool crosshatchy drawing style that distracted everyone from the fact that Non Sequitor is entirely composed of the hackiest "Lawyers are greedy! Politicians are corrupt! PC culture is wacky!" greeting card jokes
The 80s' reputation as the golden age of newspaper comics rests entirely on The Far Side, Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes. Everything else was pretty much forgettable.
Prickly City actively makes its readers dumber.
It's cool to hate the Family Circus but it's honestly pretty unobjectionable. There's not really enough heft to the strip to provoke genuine disdain. It's fine.
Putting random comics in other newspaper section, like Doonesbury in editorial, Dilbert in business, or Tank McNamara in sports, is so stupid.
They should remake Tank McNamara as a comic for gamers.
What the fuck was up with Shoe
The newspaper in Shoe was apparently staffed entirely by 2 birds. Shoe, the editor, and "The Perfesser" Cosmo Fishhawk, who wrote an advice column. Did Loon work for the paper? Or was he just some rando with a Launchpad McQuack aesethic who hung around the premises?
I read Funky Winkerbean for years as a kid and literally the only thing I remember is that Les was scared to jump off the high diving board. Apparently it got super depressing?
The Wizard of Id's use of the word "fink" is similar to Garfield's talk of "bones knitting", a weird quirk of ideolect that exists ONLY in that strip and no where else in American culture in the last 40 years. (Ratfink and batfink DO NOT COUNT)
Best Bloom County characters
Bill the Cat>Steve Dallas>sensitive new age Steve Dallas>Oliver>Oliver's dad>Opus>Banana 5000>The purple spotted Snorklewacker>Ronald Ann>Milo>Binkley>Limekiller>Cutter John>Rosebud>Portnoy>Hodgepodge
Frank and Ernest is a cute, likeable strip about 2 hoboes(?) who make puns, but I'll always remember it best when the goobers at Shakesville got super mad at it for failing the Bechdel test
Luanne has become weirder over the years as the author gets older and also bolder about exporing the sex life of its teen girl protagonist.
During the 80s-90s, every newspaper would grudgingly run one comic strip targeting the black demographic, so the only question was whether you were a Curtis or a Jump Start town.
My head canon is that Crunchy from Jump Start is actually Crankshaft.
Jump Start deserves a lot more acclaim than it ever got. It's not hysterical, but it's gently funny with some surprisingly good character moments for a comic strip. Some clever running gags with Sunny getting replaced by older versions of herself as she ages.
The Lockhorns is peak cishet humor.
I think it's weird how all the characters in Foxtrot have both eyes on the same side of their heads like flatfish
Foxtrot should bring back Denise Russo.
It always annoyed me how Wizard of Id depicts the Huns wearing stereotypical Viking horned helmets.
Lynn Johnson is a good artist, but I really hate how she draws those triangle mouths on her characters.
The constant letters to the editor in my local paper complaining about the kid with the "angry eyes" in the Boondocks really did show just how absolutely terrified white suburbanites were of any expression of black outrage.
Curtis is easy to dismiss at a glance, but Ray Billingsly is really adept at slipping in commentary on American racism far smoother & more subtly than the Boondocks ever did
Every single conservative POV comic only gets into the paper as affirmative action to appease chud readers who're mad about Doonesbury. When Garry Trudeau retires, Bruce Tinsley & Scott Stantis will be unemployed
I know the intention to diversify the Beetle Bailey cast was good, but I still feel like Corporal Yo was kind of a racist stereotype.
Comics with funny art but seriou sorylines, like Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean, are bullshit. Don't pull that kind of bait and switch on me
Liberty Meadows was trash. A couple animal characters doing Bloom County rip-off shit as a sop to the kids so that Frank Cho could just draw his spank off fantasies. Did the comic even have punchlines? Doubtful.
Rating the horny comics from best to worst
Arlo and Janis>Rose is Rose>Luann>Liberty Meadows>9 Chickweed Lane
Francesco Marciuliano's Sally Forth and Olivia Jaimes' Nancy are the best examples of zombie strips being revived and revitalized.
Bucky in Get Fuzzy is the most accurate depiction of a cat in any media.
The Cathy TV specials are way better than the Cathy comic.
Get Fuzzy is Garfield done better.
Cassandra Cat is p hot
I want all of Slylock Fox's rogues gallery to join forces like the legion of doom
I still get weirded out that Big Nate transitioned from comic strip to YA "wimpy kid"-esque novel series.
Wee Pals' "soul circle" was really awkward at setting up mini-biographies of famous POCs. "What do you think of August?" "AUGUST WILSON THE AWARD WINNING PLAYWRITE??" "no i mean the month" c'mon
Dennis the Menace is barely menacing.
Beetle Bailey named its new tech character Chip Gizmo because that comic is written by 2 octogenarians and that's honestly funnier than anything that has ever happened in the strip
The hillbilly humor of Snuffy Smith is fascinating, it's a flavor that's gone out of fashion about 50 years ago yet it stubbornly clings to a very specific brand of appalachian mockery that's completely out of step with modern hicksploitation
what the fuck is mutts. Is it supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to be heart-warming? It looks like it was drawn specifically to only appear in Fantagraphics box set collections. I hate Mutts.
I refuse to accept that the Heathcliff comic predates the Heathcliff cartoon series.
Garfield is an asshole. His girlfriend is homeless but do you ever see him do anything about it?
Gonna take a break but if you like hot takes about old timey comics why not check out the podcast I do with @GTron about 80s comic strips being adapted into cartoons…
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