1. Desert Son says

    Outstanding comic strip!

    Still, my heart will always belong to Bloom County.

    No kings,


  2. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Funny, there is a religious debate going on at GoComics. Whoda thunk that?

  3. schism says

    As you all know, Calvin & Hobbes was the best comic strip ever.

    Heresy! The Far Side is the best ever. C&H is a respectable #2.

  4. Alverant says

    I do find it ironic that Calvin is talking to a figment of his imagination about another made-up person. And said figment is responding back.

  5. says

    C&H was the best. I wish Watterson would have stuck around longer. The last eight years would have been interesting. Instead, I have to look at crap like Blondie, Dennis the Menace and The Family Circus. There should be term limits for comics.

  6. Don't Panic says

    Calvin & Hobbes, Bloom County, Far Side were the triumvirate. Best (printed) comics ever. Committed is also a quality comic that has the positive property of still being written. Alas, my local paper replaced it with the severely unfunny Dinette Set, and they still run Kit & Carlyle.

    I should go look in my annotated Calvin & Hobbes (I forget which book it was) to see if he had anything to say about the feedback he got on this one. It’s a little amazing that it got run at all in any papers.

  7. DGKnipfer says

    Sorry PZ,

    But as a one time resident of Bloom County I have to show some loyalty. Hell, I can’t place C&H higher than #5.

    #1: Bloom County
    #2: The Far Side
    #3: Jesus and Mo
    #4: Non Sequitur
    #5: Calvin & Hobbes

  8. KI says

    I grew up with Pogo Possum (I learned to read from my dad’s collection of Pogo books) so I’m somewhat prejudiced, but I don’t think anyone was as funny as Walt Kelly. Two or three jokes in every panel, not just one punch line. His use of language and spelling was without compare. Only R. Crumb could draw better. The political satire was sharper than “Doonesbury” and funnier (“Free press? those papers cost a nickel each!”, “We have met the enemy, and he is us”) and he was an accomplished poet, on the level of Cuttlefish. I still sing “Deck us all with Boston Charlie” during the holidays. He took on McCarthy in the fifties, and Spiro Agnew during the Nixon years. He also offered what I consider the ultimate assessment of Stalinism in the extended piece “Suffern on the Steppes, or 1984 and all that”:
    Albert Alligatior: “All is equal! All is…”
    Pogo: “Starvin'”
    Albert: “But equal starvin'”

  9. Holbach says

    Nice to see a consensus on Calvin & Hobbes.

    And to Desert Son @ 2: Good to see a fellow lover of Opus and his friends! Opus, Outland, Bloom County; have been with them from the start. Some of the episodes are a riot and so many more very topical.

  10. Dianne says

    Get a grip, people. XKCD is the best comic ever! (Best print comic, I favor the Far Side. Though I also like an obscure comic called Eyebeam. Calvin and Hobbs is clarly top 10 though.

  11. Aquaria says

    Have to agree about Pogo, although I was too young to understand it when it was actually running in papers. That would come much later. It was me granddad’s favorite, without a doubt. He’d grab up the newspaper every afternoon when he’d come home from work, and go right to Pogo. And then he’d snort and chuckle about it for the rest of the evening. I always wondered what he found so funny, and then I finally found out when I stumbled across Pogo myself.

  12. Matt Heath says

    I agree for Calvin @#1. I’d like to give a shout out to Steve Bell’s “If…” you kind of need to follow British politics to get it all but it is wonderfully silly. It has an anarchist penguin called Prince Philip of Greece Penguin (his parents were Falklander loyalists)

  13. Watchman says

    Big Bloom County and C&H fan here. One might say, however, that Breathed and Watterson stood on the shoulders of the giants who preceded them: Kelly and (yes) Trudeau.

    As for Crumb, he’s in a class by himself – though it might be more accurate to say he’s alone at the head of the class he created. Walk into Newbury Comics someday and have a look at many of the offerings – not on the comic racks in the back, but on the mag racks near the front door. Crumb’s progeny are everywhere. Pretty cool.

    The Far Side? Larson was witty, inspired, and influential, but… meh. He was brilliant within the half-dozen themes he worked. Top five all-time? Nah.


  14. Watchman says

    Ok, sure, XKCD and DTWOF deserve a nod. Hey, so does Tomorrowland, but until we find that we’re still talking about any of these strips 20 years from now, we can’t really measure their greatness or cultural impact just yet.

    (Geez, did I really just write those words about comic strips? Heh.)

  15. says

    Don’t Panic:

    I don’t think there was anything in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book about this particular strip. My memory has been known to be faulty, however.

  16. Dianne says

    it’s Dykes to Watch Out For

    Normally I’d agree with you but I refuse to give Allison Bechdel anything (money, credit, web hits) until she either restarts the strip or admits that it’s dead. This “hah, hah, I might restart…then again I might not…you’ll have to pay attention to me until I tell you” crap is just obnoxious.

  17. says

    You know, my older sister once got my dad a thick Calvin and Hobbs anthology, but I was the one who read it (and practically memorized it).
    Perhaps it planted a of the seeds of freethought in me?

  18. faintpraise says

    Thank you Dianne, was reading through the comments and couldn’t believe no-one had mentioned xkcd yet!

    Agree with you about Far Side as well. But I do like C&H too. Eyebeam eh? I might have to look that up…

  19. bob says

    Holy crap, I definitely wasn’t expecting the love for Bloom County! I loved all the books I got of that strip, even though I was far too young to understand the political references. I gotta tip my cap to C&H at the “best ever,” though.

  20. Faintpraise says

    Dykes to Watch Out For is also good, I enjoy reading Alison Bechdel’s blog too. I loved Fun Home and I believe she is doing another graphic novel at the moment.

  21. aiabx says

    Don’t underestimate the excellence that was Peanuts, back when noted skeptic Charles Schulz was in his prime. My favourite is still The Far Side (no one has named an ear-chewing mite after Bill Watterson, now, have they?), but C&H is a solid #3. I think.
    Bottom of the heap is B.C., mostly because I liked it so much when I was a kid, and then it crashed and burned.

  22. Quiet Desperation says

    I have the big hardback collection of all the C&H strips. :-) Received it for Christmas 2007.

    These days I like “Lio”. Not as nearly as deep, but it’s sort of like C&H if Bill Watterson went over to the dark side of the Force. When Lio sees a four foot wide spider in his room, the giant spider is really there. And he feeds it puppies.

    If we’re counting web comics, the Girl Genius is the best comic ever.

  23. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Dianne, do try to be fair to Allison. Dykes run for a couple of decades. I think she has every right to take time off and figure out if she wants to continue on with it or if she wants to do work more along the lines of Fun House. I would rather that Dykes kept running but not if it no longer means that much to her.

  24. davidstvz says

    Calvin and Hobbes is definitely the best comic I’ve ever known. The humor and philosophy combined with fantastic art make it a clear winner. Most of the other comics mentioned are quite good, but they don’t have the emotional pull of Calvin and Hobbes.

  25. Watchman says

    aiabx: I’m with you. I loved Peanuts and BC as a kid, but… I haven’t been a kid for quite some time. BC was funny as hell once upon a time, but it’s been decades.

  26. garge says

    All of you have mentioned great strips including Calvin and Hobbes and some have let on to their age by remembering Pogo, but the strip that inspired just about every ‘toonist in the last 50 years including Peanuts, Calvin, Bloom Co. and many others and is considered the greatest ever is George Herrimann’s “Krazy Kat”. which ran from 1919-1945- it is beyond description and essentially invokes a unique personal reaction in each reader- I encourage everyone to spend the time-

  27. James F says

    E.V. #12,

    Scott Adams actually posted over at Bad Astronomy:

    False memories, believing strangers with no credibility, unsupported assumptions, misinterpreting data …it’s all here.

    I consider Evolution to be a scientific fact. If you believe something else about me you might want to ask yourself how you became so gullible.

  28. SteveM says

    I do find it ironic that Calvin is talking to a figment of his imagination about another made-up person. And said figment is responding back.

    Blasphemer! Hobbes was real, it was just the adults who imagined him to be a stuffed toy animal.

    I miss C&H so much.

  29. says

    @#9: “Instead, I have to look at crap like Blondie, Dennis the Menace and The Family Circus.”

    I have zero sympathy for self-inflicted injury. You don’t like the comics? Don’t read them. Thanks, BHO, for the tremendous boost to my business!

  30. Abner Cadaver says

    Nothing pissed me off more (well, the blinding stupidity was a little bit more irritating maybe) than seeing Dembski use a Calvin and Hobbes strip in one of his atrocious books.

    They’ve already got B.C. and Family Circus, must they put their misshapen hands upon good comic strips too?

  31. Michael Patterson says

    Pogo and C&H are indeed giants, but all you young’ns need to look up George Harriman’s immortal Krazy Kat to see where the whole genre came from. It’s still, truly, the best comic strip ever. And no, I’m not actually old enough to have seen it when it originally ran; it ended in 1944.

  32. backpacker says

    the the strip is posted at GoComics and it starts a “debate” on religion it is posted here with geeks and nerds and sparks a debate on what was the best comic stip ever in the paper. Not that I am saying it is a bad thing but but none of us are normal.

  33. CG says

    to Alverant@8

    His figment is more real to him than the other figments he’s speaking about. Plus he’s 8 or something so he gets a free pass. Besides, if you need to have adventures and the girl in the neighborhood is always nay saying your cool ideas you practically have to make up an imaginary friend.

  34. Nurse Ingrid says

    Dianne, I saw Alison Bechdel read in San Francisco a couple of months ago, and she stated quite clearly that she was pretty sure that the DTWOF strip was over and done with. Sad, but fair enough for her to take some time to decide for sure.

    It was sad when Waterson ended C&H, too, but I was glad in a way that we didn’t have to see the strip die a slow and painful death after such a brilliant heyday, which is pretty much what I think happened with Bloom County. Part of being a talented artist is knowing when to edit, and when something is finished.

    And while we’re mentioning other favorites, do “This Modern World” and “The K Chronicles” count as comic strips? And don’t forget Russell’s Teapot!

  35. Steve_C says

    Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite too… I got the compiled books in college and would cry from laughing so hard. And no I wasn’t stoned.

  36. Faintpraise says

    I’d recommend the Comics Curmudgeon for anyone who doesn’t already follow him. (Disclaimer- I’m only a reader, got no other interest in plugging him!). I may be one of the few people in the UK who is up to date with the foibles of Mary Worth and the girls of Apartment 3G thanks to my loving of his snark.

  37. kermit says

    “Instead, I have to look at crap like Blondie, Dennis the Menace and The Family Circus.”

    Yes, and when I was a kid I read Nancy, even tho I knew it was crap because there were only one or two pages of comics in a newspaper. But the internet has more decent comics than one could reasonably have time for. I read the comics typically for half and hour during lunch, and cut the limit there. All good stuff.

    Of course Calvin and Hobbes was the best, or at least in the same class with Pogo and Krazy Kat.

    May I recommend:
    Sci-Fi: Skin Horse
    Family: Stone Soup
    Steam Punk: Girl Genius
    Wackiness: Sluggo Freelance
    Hot Witchy Anthropologists: Wapsi Square
    Art & Wordplay: 9 Chickweed Lane

  38. Eric Johnson says

    Ahh! KI@14 I thought I was the only kid to learn to read from his father’s stash of old, brittle Pogo comic books and collections! I second the nomination of Walt Kelly as Greatest Cartoonist in the Universe. I’m not sure what he would’ve made of the first decade of this century – my personal view is that we’re beyond satire, but then again, Walt Kelley made it through Mcarthyism with his senses of humor and satire in tact…

    Pogo made a huge and lasting impact on how I view the whirled – we always sent homemade Christmas cards with scenes from Pogo comics that my mother painstakingly painted by hand, our windows were painted with the ‘Boston Charlie’ scene, again painted by my mother, and we drove around in a 1969 Dodge van with – you guessed it – Pogo characters painted on the side.

    Now who do we have to talk to to get them all reprinted? Amazon says that volume 1 is going to be published later this year – I guess that’s a start.

  39. Helfrick says

    Heresy! The Far Side is the best ever. C&H is a respectable #2.


    xkcd rounds out the top three.

  40. Knockgoats says

    I’d like to give a shout out to Steve Bell’s “If…” – Matt Heath

    Agreed. You can see some of his characters, and a few sample strips, at

    My favourite character is Lord God Almighty – a thoroughly nasty piece of work – but he does a good Bush and a fine Blair. Haven’t seen his Obama yet.

  41. Matt Heath says

    “Is Calvin is an atheist or is he a wishy washy agnostic?”

    He’s a six-year-old.

  42. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Faintpraise, Margo’s finger quotes rocks! Also, why doesn’t someone finally shot that tyrannical demon dog?

  43. Brian D says

    Not only is there a religious debate going on at GoComics, but someone has his denialist circuits crossed:

    DesultoryPhillipic says:

    Are you saying that Jesus never existed? If that’s so, then you probably believe the holocaust was a myth also!

  44. Brownian says

    Wrong; all of you are completely wrong! The best comic ever was and continues to be the single panel Love is…. I still find myself cutting them out of the paper and pasting them on my fridge, or linking to them in the email signatures I use when forwarding heart-warming stories about a parent’s love, cautionary tales about the laziness and lack of appreciation by kids today, and ire-inducing examples of political-correctness gone awry.

    It’s a good thing one doesn’t have to worry about keeping a straight face on the internet.

    I loved C&H in a way I never truly understood until I had my first pre-pubescent romantic kiss and realised that I was finally ‘over’ my childish infatuation with both Joanna from Grade 4 and Archie. (Archie and I had a weird relationship–I grew up on the Riverdale gang’s antics, and can directly trace approximately 64.8% of my vocabulary to those digests–a statistic a friend of mine once scorned until he realised just how inadequate the vocabulary his upbringing as a philosopher’s son brought him was in relation. On those forced marches my mother called shopping for school clothes I would amuse myself by recalling, panel by panel, my favourite Archie stories. And then I learned–shudder–that Archie had a dark side.) While Larson never quite made me laugh out loud like C&H did, he was one of the first to realise that humour lay in the absurdism of reality and that no reality is more absurd than the one revealed through science. But I think no comic stripper alive or dead (save maybe Kelly, though I profess only second-hand knowledge of the genius of Pogo) could match Berke in terms of the layer upon layer of socio-political commentary that underscored Bloom County. (The simplest example I can think of this was his constant use of trademarked brands rather than generic product names–is our society not itself the product of mass marketing?) Plus, his rare interviews offer a glimpse into the mind of that most elusive beast nowadays: the nutso-genius who wields words as a master conductor wields an orchestra. Just google “Berkeley Breathed Interview”, start with the recent Salon interview “The penguin is mightier than the sword” and work your way back from there. You’ll see what I mean.

    So then, if I were to give my top three, they’d have to be:

    1. Calvin & Hobbes
    2. Bloom County
    3. The Far Side

    Oops, that should be top four, and the order should be:

    1. Love is…
    2. Calvin & Hobbes
    3. Bloom County
    4. The Fa

    Nope, couldn’t do it. Couldn’t keep the straight face.

  45. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    My favorite Love Is… is; Love is a teen suicide pact.

    Archie? Are you familiar with the AJGU-3000?

  46. JackC says

    I once manned a checkpoint at an (automotive) rallye where all the driving instructions were Pogo comics. Oh my.

    Pogo: “Now y’all has to know, everything Wally says is wrong…”

    Wally: “Now turn left at the Stop….. or was that right???”


    Unbelievable fun. Pogo, like Rocky and Bullwinkle, held depths of meaning.

    There is no best. There is a continuity of best and these are all in it.


  47. Matt Heath says

    Brian Dee@58: I think people who are convinced of a strong version of the Jesus-Myth hypothesis do get denialist-y. That there was a Rabbi Yeshwa who pissed off the Romans etc seems to be accepted by all but a very few historians working on the era and region. Obviously the consensus might be wrong, but it is disrespecting those who’ve actually looked closely and understood the evidence to just say “no, don’t believe”.

  48. co says

    I highly recommend The Perry Bible Fellowship:

    Despite the unfortunate name, it’s just as good or better than XKCD, in my humble opinion. Must agree with the assessments of Pogo, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and some of the others mentioned herein.

  49. xebecs says

    Hmm… It’s not *quite* like crashing a poll, but it’s close enough.

    Consider this one more vote for Calvin&Hobbes.

    Far Side had its good moments — the cows listening to the phone ringing, and saying “And here we sit, without opposable thumbs.” And the man standing on stage with a single cymbal, thinking “Don’t screw up. Don’t screw up.” and the caption “Milton screws up.” (Maybe not Milton.)

  50. paradoctor says

    As for this particular strip…

    Santa is rare amongst religious figments; he is a god that one is _supposed_ to outgrow. The child is _expected_ to have that free-thought moment of disillusionment and enlightenment. It’s a kind of initiation ritual; a prank set by adults to teach the hapless youth the awful truth. There ain’t no Santy Claus, kid!

    Yet when he vanishes, Santa leaves behind a residue of incredulity; one which perhaps serves the child well in later life. How generous of Santa! I therefore consider Santa to be a kind of paradoxical saint of skepticism. He failed to exist, so that we may doubt.

    The Tooth Fairy serves the same function, for those of us who do not celebrate Santamas. Both require an outlay of cash to hook the kid’s greed, but the Tooth Fairy is a lot cheaper. My daughter claims that she believed in the tooth fairy ‘a little bit, for a while’. Ha! I had her fooled for years! But alas, one day she saw through my prestidigitation.

    Part of the difference between Santa and the various gods (Yahweh, Christ, Allah, and so on) is that we are _not_ expected to outgrow those others, despite the example of Santa. I therefore conclude that Santa is a more grown-up figment than the gods.

    The gods are morally inferior to Santa in the same sense that religion is morally inferior to fiction. When a fairy tale begins, “once upon a time…” that is fair warning that what follows is make-believe. What scripture ever shows the reader that much respect?

  51. tim Rowledge says

    I’m horrified to note no mentions of Sluggy and Questionable Content. Not to mention SinFest. At least someone shouted for the girl genius….

    Slightly off to the side is Alex, the banksta strip in the otherwise pretty odious Daily Telegraph. I’ve been sniggering over that one since it started in the Indescribably Boring around 1985 or so.

  52. Kevin Schreck says

    Almost every child does ponder those things, until they’re told to shut up or not ask such silly questions.

  53. Interrobang says

    Don’t underestimate the excellence that was Peanuts, back when noted skeptic Charles Schulz was in his prime.

    I have officially lost my ability to detect irony on the internet. Or at least there is no force on earth that could ever make me believe that the fundamentalist Christian Schultz, who drew almost as badly as James Thurber (and didn’t have the excuse that he was nearly blind) and had a room-temperature IQ at best, was ever anything approaching “excellent,” or even mildly funny at that.

    I also can’t exactly get behind the apotheosis of Crumb. Everything he ever did is, to me, completely tainted with his unavoidable misogyny, and I find it really off-putting.

    That there was a Rabbi Yeshwa who pissed off the Romans etc seems to be accepted by all but a very few historians working on the era and region.

    Yes, but the denialism is on the other side, embraced because most of those historians want to believe it is so. The ones who actually have set their predetermined conclusions aside and looked at the actual evidence (no contemporary sources, no surviving copy of the Gospels dating to anything close to the time when the person allegedly lived, no corroborating evidence of any kind, no records from the Romans, ferpetessake) tend to take a different view. There’s a really brilliant video of Hector Avalos where he lays this all out. I’d track it down, but I can’t be sure of getting the right video since I’m at work and my computer here has no sound. If you search YouTube for “Hector Avalos,” you should find it, though.

  54. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Posted by: Walton | February 2, 2009

    Calvin and Hobbes was not the “best comic strip ever”. That title belongs to Garfield.

    Thus proving his point that he lacks a sense of humor. Or is he being snarky.

  55. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Interrobang, when Schulz was a young man, he was a fundamentalist. But by the late sixties, he was pretty much an agnostic and became more of a non believer as he got older.

  56. says

    Calvin and Hobbes was not the “best comic strip ever”. That title belongs to Garfield.

    I too am at a loss with that one.

    If you’re joking Walton, that’s not bad. Actually kind of funny in a snarky way.

    If you aren’t… um…

    not sure what to say.

  57. Jeeves says


    I don’t know about Garfield, but have you ever read Garfield Minus Garfield? That can be pretty funny, as one note as it is.

  58. Uncephalized says

    “Calvin and Hobbes was not the “best comic strip ever”. That title belongs to Garfield.”

    …You are joking, right?

  59. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Chimpy, we just posted almost identical posts. Is this good or bad? Or is it really really creepy?

  60. Sven DIMilo says

    In college we had a bathroom papered completely with daily Nancy strips.
    My faves: Doonesbury, Pogo, C&H, the Breathed strips, and Prince Valiant!

  61. says

    No, I am entirely serious. I love Garfield, and have since I was a little kid. It’s pure escapism. I don’t read comic strips for their intellectual content.

    As to Garfield Minus Garfield, I find it incredibly depressing; the portrayal of Jon as a lonely dork who talks to himself and can’t get a date hits uncomfortably close to home for me. :-(

    (Why is it that even when I don’t talk religion or politics I still manage to be controversial?)

  62. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Jeeves, I am highly amused by Garfield Minus Garfield. Sadly, I can relate to Jon’s random freak outs.

  63. Brownian says

    Janine, QoA, I never, ever, read the daily Archie strip, considering it a bastardisation before I even knew the meaning of the work.

    Oh, and CO, I’m also a fan of PBF (I even bought the “Unicorn Power” T-shirt, because there just aren’t enough swarthy, hirsute men wearing pink T-shirts with unicorns on them these days, dammit!) bud sadly Gurewitch has put the strip on indefinite hiatus.

  64. Faintpraise says

    Janine- Cool, another ‘mudge fan! I knew there must be at least a couple around here!

    Co- I totally forgot about pbf, which is amazingly good and deserves inclusion in the “best of..” list! Thanks for reminding me. I’m going to go to the site now…

  65. Janine, Queen of Assholes says

    Brownian, I am sorry. I made a joke and you have no idea what I meant. On the Comics Curmudgeon’s website, the Curmudgeon claims that the Archie dailies is written by the AJGU-3000, the Archie Joke Generating Unit 3000. The idea being that the jokes are so cockeyed that a human could not be making them.

  66. E.V. says

    Isn’t it amazing when someone discloses their taste in something as innocuous as comic strips, it becomes so revealing that your perception of that entirety of that person becomes crystal clear?

  67. Lana says

    Brownian (@50), my first mother-in-law would clip those “Love Is” comics and mail them to me since our paper didn’t carry them. I hated them. I thought they were so sappy and silly. But she was a well meaning woman and I think I actually liked her better than my second mother-in-law.

    Regarding Calvin & Hobbes, my eight year old grandson loves them. We took care of him one night in our home and he brought over three C & H books, one for him, one for Grandma and one for Grandpa. We all read them at the same time, giggling.

  68. says

    What did I say? Why is everyone so shocked that I like Garfield?

    I just don’t understand the denizens of this blog. Maybe I should stick to talking about politics.

  69. Epikt says


    Calvin and Hobbes was not the “best comic strip ever”. That title belongs to Garfield.

    I especially loved the “Garfield contracts Ebola” series. A laugh riot.

  70. Brownian says

    Eh, Walton, I’ll be in your corner on this one. My parents bought a second house in the poor inner-city neighbourhood where I grew up which they rented out for supplimental income. Two of their better tenants were a young couple with a dart-board, a working of Pong console, and Garfield at Large: His First Book through Garfield Loses His Feet: His Ninth Book, all of which they didn’t mind letting me use whenever my mother dragged me along to visit them (the guy, whose name I don’t remember–probably because I had a crush on his girlfriend Jan as she looked like Bailey Quarters from WKRP in Cincinnati–also gave me a fleur-de-lis Quebec Nordiques jersey, probably just to piss off my conservative Quebec-hatin’ Albertan father. Awesome!). Thus I’ve read every Garfield written between ’78 and ’84 and a few since. They’re by no means ground-breaking (and Davis never intended them to be), but who can’t identify with a Monday-hating, sunbeam-loving lasagnaphile with a generally irreverant disdain for his primary source of food and shelter that occasionally borders on open hostility? I mean, Davis has cats down cold.

  71. says

    Wow, this is spooky. I just got done writing a blog post about Calvin and Hobbes (its not posted yet), took the dog for a walk, came back and saw this.

    Lolkoran ran a poll on the best replacement for the koran: C&H beat out Lord of the Rings,Star Trek, Duck Tales, Star Wars and the Bible.

  72. Sven DiMilo says

    The only good thing I can think of to say about Garfield is that it’s not Heathcliff.

  73. Holbach says

    Just a panel from Bloom County (still known as Opus then);

    Opus was thrown in a dog pen for some silly infraction; he was sharing a cell with a tough mangy dog with a tattoo on his shoulder that read “puppies from hell.” The cur says to Opus; “Hey tux boy, you breathing my air?” Still funny.

  74. Matt Heath says

    Re Schultz: Room temperature IQ? Did you see the one about the horror of being totally aware of your tongue. It was Satre’s concept of nausea in 4 panels.

    Re historical Jesus: I have no strong position on the facts of the matter, but pointing to one of the few dissenters and claiming the scholars making up the consensus are blinded by ideology is more-or-less what a denialist would do. Also the most I can find Avalos saying is that there is insufficient evidence to say that Jesus existed; that’s a big jump from “definitely and entirely a myth” (which I’ve seen claimed not frequently online)

    @Walton: Garfield, LOL

  75. frog says

    #8 Posted by: Alverant I do find it ironic that Calvin is talking to a figment of his imagination about another made-up person. And said figment is responding back.

    Ain’t nothing wrong with having an imaginary friend. It’s when you start demanding that others pretend that he’s real that there’s a real problem. As far as I know, Alverant is imaginary…

  76. Matt Heath says

    Actually, I just remembered the Halloween Garfield series where he woke up and everyone had vanished and he was left to starve (really). That was weirdly good. So, for one week Garfield was not the suckiest thing ever

  77. Ross_S says

    All good stuff named but I can’t believe that no-one has mentioned Order of the Stick!

    I thought there were a few D&D (and Ex-D&D)ers around here

    If you’ve never read it – start with the early strips, that’s where all the geek jokes are – later stuff is still funny but there’s a long story arc involved.

  78. teammarty says

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned Doonesbury til # 81. Most of the ones mentioned owe a debt of gratitude to it

    DTBWF is a personal fave (especially since, as a straight white male, I wasn’t “allowed ” to read the mag it was in so it was forbidden fruit). Calvin, Non-Sequitor, Far Side and most of the others are all worthy classics but the best tht didn’t get mentioned

    Ted Rall

  79. Tulse says

    What did I say? Why is everyone so shocked that I like Garfield?

    Walton, Walton, Walton — you’re very earnest and very sweet, and I’m sure you’re a great guy in person, but Garfield is, like, square, dude. All the cool kids will laugh at you when you say Garfield.

    And yeah, Garfield Minus Garfield is rather depressing and sad, although as the creator points out, in the original strips Garfield never actually speaks out loud, so Jon has always been talking to himself — the modified strips just make that obvious. I think there’s an interesting parallel there to religion…

  80. Brownian says

    Oh, don’t apologise, Janine, QoA @#87. I never read anything on the ‘net without google at the ready, and though it took me some time, I finally tracked down the original reference naming the “Archie Joke Generating Laugh Unit 3000”, and amazingly, this response from the AJGLU 3003 to the Comics Curmudgeon.

    Although I couldn’t agree more with the Comic Curmudgeon regarding the source of the newspaper strip, I’m loath to say more about my, er, loathing of the strip since the link in the preceding paragraph makes it clear that the AJGLU 3000 has developed some semblance of emotion and the ability to feel hurt.

    Thanks for clueing me in to the amazing research regarding this little-understood example of potentially artificial intelligence. I’m now going to read the Comic Curmudgeon more often, and I’m sending you the bill for the AJGLU 3000 T-shirt I’m about to buy.

    I still think no intelligence, artificial or not, is behind the treacle known as Love is…, suggesting an evolutionary process driven by some kind of selection pressure, but evolution as we know it requires reproduction and how in the world do those two poppin’ stale Pillsbury Doughkids manage to exchange genetic material without genitalia of any sort?

  81. Nurse Ingrid says

    Matt Heath, I agree with you about Peanuts. I loved the “aware of your tongue” strip and related to it completely as a kid. (in fact, I think I’m aware of my tongue right now. Ewww…)

    Do you remember the one where Charlie Brown is walking alone at night, and he sees Linus, who is carrying a lit candle and reciting, “I have always believed that it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”

    Charlie Brown keeps walking, and then he sees Lucy, standing alone in the pitch black, yelling, “You stupid darkness!”

  82. Rey Fox says

    I was starting to believe that Walton has, all this time, been one big elaborate culture-jamming prank on Pharyngula.

    I can’t bust on Garfield though, partly because I was huge into that strip as a kid (And who here wasn’t? Be honest…) and it got me into drawing, and I think it has an undeserved reputation for being the nadir of lowest-common-denominator entertainment. Sure, it’s not great art, but it actually has an edge that few other comics on the funny page have, and my brother has enough Garfield books (most inherited from me) to know that it’s genuinely funny some of the time, and hilarious on rare occasions (the “toaster crumbs and a knock-knock joke comic rings particularly true with my love life). And the Saturday morning cartoon was quite good, as Saturday morning cartoons go.

    I haven’t read it in the paper for years. I know that they got Jon and Liz together, and whether that made it too sappy, I don’t know. Like I said, it’s not great, but it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be.

    I also think that XCKDPDQ is perhaps the most overrated comic strip of all time. So my bridges here are burnt.

  83. frog says

    Heath: Also the most I can find Avalos saying is that there is insufficient evidence to say that Jesus existed; that’s a big jump from “definitely and entirely a myth” (which I’ve seen claimed not frequently online)

    You do know what the default position is, don’t you?

    I have no strong position on the facts of the matter, but pointing to one of the few dissenters and claiming the scholars making up the consensus are blinded by ideology is more-or-less what a denialist would do.

    You do understand the difference from making that claim about an empirical science, and an ideological field, such as history? To claim that an empirical science is a form of Lysenkoism, you must actually show that you have strong enough support to overturn the concensus, or explicit evidence of fraud; but in the humanities, evidence so underdetermines theory, that to cry “group-think”, all you simply have to show is that an equally vague theory fits because we can assume that ideology primarily determines the results.

    In other words, claiming that it’s all delusional in an empirical field demands that you connect all your dots — since there exists sufficient data to actually determine truth. But the humanities are in essence delusional — they’re delusions about other people’s delusions, with a rare spark of insight into the nature of these delusions. Kinda shifts the balance of evidence, don’t it?

    If I read a “biography” of the inner ear, I can be fairly assured that most of it is driven by knowledge of the inner ear. But if I read a biography of Alexander the Great, I can assume that most of it is actually about the author, with some interesting tid-bits that might actually trace back to the historical incidents that supposedly determine the biography.

  84. says

    Gotta agree with the importance of Pogo and Walt Kelly (in whose rarefied league Bill Watterson’s chops, both visual and verbal, place him), and Krazy Kat’s kreator, George Herriman. I just encountered some unexpected work by Herriman, illustrating the collected newspaper columns of Don Marquis, creator of Archy and Mehitabel.

    The only Newspaper strip artist so far unmentioned who defined the form and left it unattainable by most others, was Winsor McCay, of Little Nemo in Slumberland fame. I have a coffee table book of his collected strips that is only missing legs for it to be a coffee table. McCay also had an entire Sunday Page for his canvas, and defined the medium of animation as among its most renowned pioneers while being a slave to the editorial page whims of William Randolph Hearst. The story has it that when a bunch of early Fleischer animators gave him a testimonial dinner in the late twenties, he took the dais and informed his cohorts, “Gentlemen, I have given you an art form, and you have turned it into a business.” The audience, aghast, resolved at that minute to make a short animated film along the lines of an 8-pager, or Tijuana Bible, but that’s another story.

  85. Frederik Rosenkjær says

    Am I the only one who sees a striking resemblance between Anderson Cooper and Calvin?

  86. Matt Heath says

    frog, Yes I know what a default position is, Mr. Snarkypants. On the question of whether there is a real person at the heart of a legend I’d say the default was probably setting the priors at 50-50, whether for Jesus or Robin Hood, but I guess that’s a moot point.

    And yes the humanities are more given to letting in bias than hard sciences. So it is more likely that a consensus amongst humanists is wrong higher than a consensus amongst scientists. It’s still the case that, unless you have seriously looked at the evidence, and understood the reasons why the experts say it points one way, then saying you know they are wrong is the same type of anti-intellectual arrogance as a science denier uses. All other things being equal historians will be better at history than non-historians.

    If you could show me that amongst non-Christian (and non-Muslim) scholars of first century Judea the balance of opinion was on the other side, I’d be happy to say the “Yeshua existed” hypothesis was largely down bias.

  87. Brian D says

    I didn’t list my favorites earlier. Most have been listed already, and there’s a dearth of print comics here. In no particular order, Calvin & Hobbes, Doonesbury, The Far Side, Non Sequitor, 9 Chickweed Lane, Girl Genius, Questionable Content, xkcd, Wondermark, Perry Bible Fellowship, Dinosaur Comics, Least I Could Do, Piled Higher & Deeper, and Basic Instructions. I’ve read small amounts of Pogo and Krazy Kat, but haven’t gone through them enough to list them here. The only notable title that others mentioned here but I never was able to get into was Bloom County.

    Regarding Garfield, and a host of other Unfunny strips, I’d like to let David Malki! (the exclamation point is required; he’s the man behind Wondermark) speak for me as The Comic Strip Doctor. I guarantee you’ll never look at Marmaduke the same way again.

  88. Steve_C says

    I have a funny story from college. A friend of mine from art school had a roommate freshman year who was this freaky genius who was majoring in both engineering and violin.
    My friend had joy division and bauhaus band posters and barbed wire on his half of the room… the room mate had Garfield posters.

    It has to be one of the most surreal and hysterical things I saw for my 4 years of art school.

  89. Watchman says

    …the fundamentalist Christian Schultz…

    Say what? Schultz was a self-described “secular humanist” once he abandoned the church back in the ’80s. I’m not sure he could ever have been accurately described as a “fundamentalist”, although I admit that is open to debate, given his sometime involvement with the Anderson Church of God.

  90. Ubi Dubium says

    Brian D @ #114
    Thank you for finally mentioning Basic Instructions!
    I have just discovered “Order of the Stick” as well, and I’ll also recommend “Medium Large”

    As for print comics – “Get Fuzzy” is my current winner.

  91. says

    Y’all have some good taste in comics. I grew up on Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes, but I love Pogo – my mom has a couple of anthologies that belonged to my grandfather. She has some Archy and Mehitabel, too, which I’ve read and which we quote to each other constantly – “Kittens? What kittens?”

    I also really like Big Nate, for reasons I can’t explain…but these days I mostly read webcomics on a daily basis. Questionable Content, xkcd, Girls with Slingshots, Overcompensating, and especially A Softer World are all way up there on my list of awesome things.

  92. Brian D says

    Ubi Dubium: Basic Instructions is one of those criminally under-read strips, especially since Scott Adams had to take the link to it off of his site for syndicate reasons. I’ll grant Get Fuzzy can occasionally be awesome — especially if Darcy’s working with Pastis of Pearls Before Swine, another undernoticed gem on the comics page — but I can’t really get into either one.

    I DID, however, forget to list Dr. McNinja on my list earlier (the very incarnation of the Rule of Awesome). I also used to read Queen of Wands, but stopped before it finished. However, I would like to link this gem from there, which Pharyngulites may enjoy.

  93. frog says

    Matt Heath: And yes the humanities are more given to letting in bias than hard sciences.

    You miss the point with that limp defense of the humanities. They aren’t “more given”, as if it was simply a quantitative difference. The humanities are essentially creations of the political and aesthetic passions of the day, while the empirical sciences at the end of the day leave you with a collection of data and equations relating them (plus the dross of verbal explanations that are primarily BS).

    They’re not the same kinds of fields at all! This very statement shows it: If you could show me that amongst non-Christian (and non-Muslim) scholars of first century Judea the balance of opinion was on the other side, I’d be happy to say the “Yeshua existed” hypothesis was largely down bias. In what field would you need such a test? Who would say that in evolutionary theory, “ID” is down because Christian biologists don’t believe it? That would clearly be nonsense.

    But in history, you do have to ask those kinds of questions — is it history written by an American or Chinese? Is it written by a Marxist, a “centrist” or a monarchist… And on and on and on.

    History is bunk, as Henry Ford said. The more history I read, the less clear history is. The data under-determines any real causative theory — so it can’t be any more, or any less, than an ideological construct.

    We have to recognize our ignorance, instead of faking it with delusional knowledge. You can probably get a good idea about the population density in 1st century Judea, and their major trade goods. You could get a weak idea of what the leadership in 1st century Judea would have been. But to determine important social elements that weren’t crowned heads of states? You’ve gotta be bullshitting me (whether or not you’ve got a PH.D in Levantine history).

    Who was the most culturally influential cobbler in 11th century Egypt? Would you believe someone who claimed to know, for a fact? You’d have to show me direct, indisputable evidence, not a reference to a scholar who might have made a comment once that his grandfather told him that his cousin knew that Ali Ibn Ali was The Great Cobbler.

  94. PGPWNIT says

    No one has mentioned the saddest C&H series ever? The baby raccoon incident? Shame.

    *wipes away tear.

  95. says

    My current regular reading list:
    * Doonesbury
    * This Modern World
    * User Friendly
    * xkcd
    * Questionable Content
    * Two Lumps

    I also loved Bloom County, C&H, Far Side.

    Also I enjoyed the Dykes, and Uncle Ghastly (NSFW!!1!eleventy! Tentacoo wape!)

    I am now going to seek out some others mentioned here. Some of them I browse occasionally. I think I was too young for Pogo, and need to revisit. Garfield? Meh. No love but no hate either.

  96. CJO says

    I think people who are convinced of a strong version of the Jesus-Myth hypothesis do get denialist-y. That there was a Rabbi Yeshwa who pissed off the Romans etc seems to be accepted by all but a very few historians working on the era and region. Obviously the consensus might be wrong, but it is disrespecting those who’ve actually looked closely and understood the evidence to just say “no, don’t believe”.

    First of all “rabbi” is anachronistic. Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity are the twin offspring of Second Temple Judaism and they aren’t clearly delineated traditions until the early second century; the rabbinical tradition, also, is a continuation of Pharisaism, a movement not likely to have included a radical figure such as is portrayed in the gospels. That there may have been a messianic claimant or anti-Roman political revolutionary by the name of Jeshua ben Joseph in the first third of the 1st century is pretty well impossible to deny categorically, given the commonness of the name, and given that such figures were a dime a dozen at that time. But the gospels are so clearly theological fictions, Paul (our earliest Christian writer) is so clearly interested in an a-historical cosmic myth, and the two traditions are so divergent so early, it’s hard for me to understand the consensus as anything other than a willful failure of imagination based on the weight of tradition and the religious commitments of the great majority of the experts who have written on the matter.

    I can assure you, I’ve researched the subject to the level of my own competence to do so, and I do not believe that a historical figure of the early 1st century in Galilee and Judea had a career answering to any of the important details of any of the gospels. (I don’t know if that’s a “strong version of the Jesus-Myth hypothesis” or not)

  97. Marc Abian says

    I read Calvin and Hobbes when I was tooo young to fully understand, but even then they were brilliant. Far Side is still the best though.

  98. Sadie Morrison says

    Absolutely. I’ve never seen any other comic strip that matches Waterson’s genius (although “Foxtrot” is a somewhat distant second, in my opinion).

  99. David Harmon says

    Dianne @#17: Yay! Someone else remembers Eyebeam! That was way cool.

    faintpraise @#28: IIRC, Eyebeam was a college strip, I saw it in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Alas, I have no printed relics of it.

  100. Wowbagger says

    I’ll lend my support to Walton and Garfield, too. Sure, it’s not in the same league, but it’s not as if the fat cat didn’t have a few great moments. One cutting from a newspaper I’ve got on my cubicle wall has both a C&H and a Garfield, and both are excellent.

    Living in a small country town the local paper was a one-issue-a-week-job and my parents didn’t by the dailies from the ‘big smoke’ so almost all of my comics during childhood were the collections of things like B.C., Wizard of ID, Hagar, Crock and so forth.

    The best one we got in Australia in those days was Footrot Flats, a comic about a New Zealand sheep farmer’s border collie that’s brilliant – I don’t know how much it was ever seen outside Australasia though; a pity, because it’s brilliant.

    The Bloom County is a mystery to me, though – I’d never heard of it before today. I guess it never made it to the papers here.

    Overall, though, I consider it a tie between The Far Side – I’ve literally never laughed harder at anything than I did the first time I saw ‘Boneless Chicken Ranch’ – and Calvin & Hobbes, which just has everything: it’s stunningly well-drawn and has depth, sincerity, humour, insight as well as a little snark; what more could you want?

    Heck, my best friend and I went to a costume party as C&H – him in a tiger costume and me with bleached spiky hair, a stripey t-shirt and shorts. We even got in the social pages of the local newspaper…

  101. says


    I therefore consider Santa to be a kind of paradoxical saint of skepticism. He failed to exist, so that we may doubt.

    That’s brilliant. I’ll have to remember that.

    The raccoon story contains another good freethought quote:

    It’s either mean or it’s arbitrary, and either way I’ve got the heebie-jeebies.

    “Heebie-jeebies” is probably an appropriate response from a 6 year old. :)
    A more mature outlook can deal with the concept more rationally.

    After reading that comic for the first time, the following phrasing occurred to me:
    There is no evidence God exists at all — but even if he did, he must be either cruel, uncaring or impotent; and therefore would be undeserving of worship.

  102. mayhempix says

    I gave my son the complete 3 volume hardback edition for squidmas.
    He loves it as do I.

  103. TeleMan says

    I’m surprised there aren’t more Sinfest fans here. It’s drawn exceptionally well and covers religion, politics and all else of the human condition.

  104. mayhempix says

    Calvin and Hobbes was the greatest.

    Close contenders in no particular order…

    This Modern World
    Get Fuzzy
    Life In Hell (the bunny days)

    Bizarro World
    Far Side
    and can’t believe no one else mentioned this great:

    And I completely agree that the precursors were Pogo, Krazy Kat and Peanuts.

  105. Twin-Skies says

    1. Pugad Baboy (local comic satirizing Philippine politics)
    2. Calvin and Hobbes
    3. Lackadaisy
    4. VGCats
    5. Yotsuba To!
    6. Far Side

  106. Dahan says

    Don’t Panic @ #10,

    Calvin & Hobbes, Bloom County, Far Side were the triumvirate.

    Couldn’t agree more

  107. says

    I carried this strip in my wallet for YEARS:

    Hobbes and Calvin are sitting under a tree, relaxing…

    First Panel: Hobbes, “Do you think there’s a God?

    Second Panel: Calvin looks at viewer for a beat.

    Third Panel: Calvin, “Well somebody’s out to get me!”

    I have that on a bootlegged shirt, as well.

    On list of top rated all-time strips, I would place Pogo fist, C&H second, Peanuts third and Bloom County Fourth.

    Anyone who thinks Peanuts was some simple minded strip needs to read the new reissues. It was just as subversive as C&H ever was. Just read the first strip:

    Shermy and Violet(?) are sitting on a curb.

    First panel: Shermy, “Oh, look, here comes go old Charlie Brown.”

    Second Panel: Shermy, “Good Old Charlie Brown, yes sir!

    Charlie Brown enters from left.

    Third Panel: Shermy, “Good Old Charlie Brown…”

    Charlie Brown exits at right.

    Fourth Panel Shermy, “How I hate him.”

    That’s some good stuff.

  108. Nerd of Redhead says

    I didn’t see this C&H cartoon until I got home from work late. I said to myself PZ would like it. Then I found it posted here.

    I have several comics I read regularly, and my favorite, which changes frequently, is the one that makes me laugh out loud that day. Today, it was C&H. Tomorrow, who knows? And just to throw a long term favorite of mine into the list of deserving comics: For Better or Worse.

  109. melior says

    I’m a Calvin & Hobbes fan from way back. My favorite strips are the ones where Calvin’s Dad gets some well-deserved revenge by messing with Calvin’s head.

    It’s a relative newcomer, but I have to add Jesus & Mo to the collective list of Best Comic Strips Ever.

  110. says

    I used to wear a bootlegged C&H shirt that said “I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.” Best comic ever!

  111. Wowbagger says

    I’ve been having a look into this Bloom County thing – I realise I’ve seen the penguin quite a few times before but never knew what it was from. Now I know.

  112. 'Tis Himself says

    Garfield was funny for the first couple of years, amusing for the next two or three, could raise a chuckle for a few years, and then died around 1990. It limps along, recycling old jokes, never really offending, never really funny, just sort of there, like the day before yesterday’s leftover meatloaf.

  113. Wowbagger says

    All the Garfields I rate highly have Odie in them. He’s just so weird-looking that I enjoy seeing him, no matter what else is going on. I chose not to see the film version because they used a real dog which looked nothing like the cartoon version.

  114. Wayne says

    I can’t believe that of all these Calvin and Hobbes fans, not one has mentioned my current favourite: Frazz ( It’s not C&H, but it’s witty, well drawn, often thought provoking, and always enjoyable.

  115. says

    Calvin and Hobbes was not the “best comic strip ever”. That title belongs to Garfield.

    Just what drugs are you on Walton? Garfield minus Garfield rules, it improves the comic almost infinitely.

  116. Zarquon says

    Read all these:

    Questionable Content
    Narbonic: Directors’ Cut
    Girl Genius
    Diesel Sweeties
    Something Positive
    The Princess Planet
    Gunnerkrigg Court
    Order of the Stick

  117. Don't Panic says

    Bloom County was great in its heyday and while I did put it in my top three I know it doesn’t stand up as well outside of the context of the times. Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World is good for biting satire, but perhaps too political to be a this/last decade’s Bloom County.

    Far Side was funny for all the absurdity. And beside it often referenced scientists as people, often slightly twisted by not menacing or evil, and other times a simply, well, a people (cf. all the scientists rushing out of the lab because they see the ice cream truck out the window). I’ve got the complete two volume set that I really should re-review. Somewhere I have a transparency (you’all remember those) that I made up from the cartoon with the caption “Another case of too many scientists and not enough hunchbacks”. Started one of my thesis work-in-progress reports w/ that and from then on the three of us grad students in our group were forever known as “the hunchbacks”.

    C&H was great because it was all the things people above have listed (insightful, funny, well drawn…) but also because it was (and is) accessible. When my son was starting to read these were great for him. But they also talk to adults.

    All three consistently made me laugh/think. Nowadays, none of the printed comics do so but occasionally. I don’t want a once-in-a-while laugh, I want (almost) daily funny. Or at least thought provoking. Or even mildly amusing. I’ll settle for “not bland” and “not boring”. Okay, I won’t hate on the Garfield, but seriously the last time I saw it for an extended period it was, well, dull. And dull doesn’t cut it for comics.

    XKCD comes close to being great, mostly because I’m a geek — but it’s also different than printed comics in that a chunk of the funny is locked away in the mouse-over, without that (and my own geeky knowledge) I think most would find it “meh”.

  118. says

    Calvin and Hobbes were always one of my favourites growing up. Reading them now I appreciate them on a whole other level than I did than when I was a pre-teen. Some of the content flew ovr my head back then. Yes, it was sad that Watterson called it quits when he did, but looking at the work and how it’s still amazingly relevant today there was really no need for him to continue. His work was done.

  119. Owlmirror says

    I can’t believe that of all these Calvin and Hobbes fans, not one has mentioned my current favourite: Frazz ( ). It’s not C&H, but it’s witty, well drawn, often thought provoking, and always enjoyable.

    I’ve actually seen it suggested that Frazz is sort-of meant to be Calvin grown up.

    Hm. It’s actually mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Better look fast; the section appears to be flagged as problematic for having unsourced assertions.

  120. Emmet, OM says

    The best comic ever was and continues to be the single panel Love is…




    Brownian, Brownian, Brownian!  Why hast thou forsaken me? What eye-bleedingly nauseating, foul and sickly, syrupy shite! My contempt for Love is… is utter.

    Oh, and Walton, I admit to liking Garfield too. I remember it fondly and don’t quite understand how it’s come to deserve such scorn — maybe I missed its demise after its heyday or something. I much prefer C&H, TFS, and xkcd, but Garfield was good too.

  121. Wowbagger, Grumpy Minimalist says

    Actually, I forgot about the other C&H – Cyanide and Happiness. Along the lines of XKCD but less of a geek focus. Here’s a good blasphemous one.

  122. TinaG says

    Calvin & Hobbes is my all-time #1 favorite. It drives me crazy that so many vehicles down here in the south have window stickers of Calvin kneeling in front of a cross and praying. DRIVES. ME. NUTS.

  123. Tulse says

    It drives me crazy that so many vehicles down here in the south have window stickers of Calvin kneeling in front of a cross and praying.

    Don’t forget the stickers with Calvin urinating on some automaker’s logo.

  124. E.V. says

    Listing Garfield as your chief favorite comic strip is like admitting that ABBA is your favorite band. Yeah, everyone who claims to hate them seems to have an uncanny knack of recalling all the lyrics -whatever; we all know the guilty pap that is ABBA, but for the top #1 spot? You might as well reveal you’re a charter member of the Friends fan club and list Forrest Gump as the greatest film of all time. Sugary breakfast cereal equivalencies – it’s the Cap’n Crunchification of pop culture.

  125. Brian says

    Bill Watterson would be the first person to acknowledge the enormous debt he owed to Schultz, Kelly and Herriman. He has written about the brilliance of Krazy Kat (sometimes working homages to it into his strips, as when Calvin’s parents are admiring a Krazy Kat landscape in an art museum).

    That being said, I still think C&H is the best sustained comic series I’ve ever read. As someone else noted, it’s immediately accessible to children, with enough intelligence to keep you interested into adulthood. Moreover, the later Sunday strips, as Watterson’s artistic skills improved, are often astonishingly beautiful. He’s in a league of his own when it comes to comic artists drawing landscapes.

  126. KI says

    I had forgotten Kliban, I loved his cat stuff. I even put a tune to the ditty in the panel “Cats Sing the Blues”
    Love to eat them mousies
    Mousies what I like to eat
    Bite they little heads off
    Nibble on they tiny feet.

    In E, with a slow beat.

  127. longsmith says

    What? No Sylvia? And thank goodness someone finally mentioned Boondocks. Is he coming back anytime soon? I still have the Thanksgiving one where the grandfather says something like “that’s the last time you say grace, boy”. Hilarious.

  128. BZ says

    What do you mean “was” the best?

    I still re-read them and they make me laugh every time. He was (is) a genius! My family thinks I’m warped when I forward really good ones to them.

  129. J. D. Mack says

    #162 – My favorite Kliban cartoon is the one where the minister says “let us pray,” and then everyone assumes the same bizarre posture.

    Someone earlier mentioned The Boondocks. That’s a comic that clearly draws its influence from Bloom County and C & H, but never imitates. I think it’s brilliant.

  130. says

    Damn, you beat me to it. That’s what I get for keeping it in my drafts folder for so long. I guess I’ll just have to save it until people forget about it again… :)

  131. varlo says

    Best ever? Humbug The late (and sorely missed) weekday Wizard of Id trumps C&H easily. It reached its apogee when panel one showed Sir Rodney interviewing an applicant for the “Stable Help Wanted” sign in the background. In the next panel Sir Rodney showed the applicant a thin, round container, and asked “What’s this?” “Shinola” was the response. “You’re hired” Rodney declared in the final panel.

  132. Sili says

    Having grown up in the Franco-Belgian tradition I’ll keep out of the argument of best-evar.

    But I think people here may like David Morgan-Mar’s Irregular Webcomic. It’s filled with intelligent and humorous annotations. And he has an amusing little quip about evolution today.