Friday, June 15, 2012

Comic Strips

Most people enjoy an occasional chuckle, whether its from a stand-up comedian or watching a favorite cartoon. Personally, I've always liked newspaper comic strips.

There is something loveably simple about a strip. You either get the joke/gag or you don't. Some comic strips -- like Frank & Ernest written by Thaves -- are notorious for their "awful" puns. Some strips are centered around family life, showing mom and dad learning to cope with kiddies, even teen-agers.. Other strips feature the antics of kids lost in their own world or the animal world of talking pets. There is a comic strip for nearly every taste and age group.

Many of us recall life before television brought us "Bugs Bunny" and "Rocky and Bullwinkle". Cartoons were frequently shown in theatres along with movies but that wasn't enough for people wanting a laugh more often. Comic books helped some but grew serious with superhero themes and tiresome after repeated reading. (If you shelled out real money -- 15¢ or so -- you read them over and over and over.)

So for fresh humor, nothing beat the newspaper. Small strips appear daily, usually one (single panel) or four panels (aka a strip) with larger, color versions in the Sunday edition. According to Wikipedia, the first newspaper comic strips appeared in North America in the late 19th century. So you have to give them credit for sheer staying power.

Unfortunately, local newspapers are beginning to dwindle in number. Competition from other news sources along with rising production costs have made it difficult for newspapers to remain competitive and survive financially.

But the comic strips remain and are even available online at such sites as  and These sites feature many syndicated comic strips and panels. Take a look and find one you enjoy. If you are too busy during the week to read a comic each day, websites allow you to catch up on panels you might have missed.

A huge number of comic strips is offered to readers, dozens I had never heard of before, and many of which are amazingly clever. It seems as though local newspapers have trouble choosing which strips to display in the space reserved for comics. One of the papers which is delivered where I live occasionally runs a ballot in which it allows readers to pick which strips might be of interest. Sometimes they run a few test panels so that readers can find out if the strip is worth being added.

I hate it when someone shares personal preferences with unsuspecting readers in order to recruit interest in a particular topic. So let me say right off that the following is a list of some of my favorite strips that they make me smile and brighten my day. Use the list if you want or not. It doesn't matter to me. Just treat yourself to exploring the wide world of comic strips. You will enjoy the trip.

Strips worth a look:

The Dinette Set by Julie Larson

Dilbert by Scott Adams

Pickles by Brian Crane

Fox Trot by Bill Amend

Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

Happy reading!

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