Cartoonists: I read your stuff as a distraction from reality

Not to see a replay of the low lights of my life.

To be fair, if I wanted “humor” untethered from reality I’d be reading Garfield, I guess.


  1. robro says

    Garfield!? Ugh. Not well drawn. Not funny. Perhaps as anti-humor because laughing with a painful back isn’t a pleasant experience.

  2. PaulBC says

    To be fair, if I wanted “humor” untethered from reality I’d be reading Garfield, I guess.

    True. You see him eating lasagna but never puking it up all over the house.

  3. PaulBC says

    robro@1 Could be worse: Family Circus. Could be much worse: Mallard Fillmore.

  4. wzrd1 says

    The first is an excellent reminder warning for when you go spidering. Given the sheer volume of office workers who blow their backs out retrieving a file from a cabinet, I humbly suggest that PZ deserves hazardous duty pay when collecting spiders.

  5. antigone10 says

    Garfield is a perennially popular with kids at the library. So I’m thinking we need to stop viewing it as a “comic strip” the way don’t see “Bob Books” as literature. It’s Baby’s first joke book- here is what comic strips look like, here is what a set-up is, here is what a punchline in. Getting mad about that is like getting mad at plotless learn to read books.

  6. killyosaur says

    Yeah was gonna say something similar to Antigone. I was a huge fan of Garfield growing up, my first real comic. Sure looking back, it isn’t particularly funny or challenging, but the comics are largely inoffensive and are beloved by children, so I see no issue with them. Also, unless you are referring to the very earliest incarnation of Garfield, he’s well drawn for a cartoon cat, its a style, I don’t understand that level of disdain…

  7. PaulBC says

    @6 @7 Can we all hate Cathy at least? Oh, I see that’s no longer produced.

    It combined Jon’s existential angst with Garfield’s lasagna coveting but all in one character, no cat needed.

    I briefly delivered a daily newspaper by bicycle as a kid. You can guess how long ago that was. And I always looked forward to reading the comics page. Cathy and Garfield were the “new” strips. Some of the classics bordered on surreal. How about Henry, the bald kid who doesn’t talk? There were serial comics too, like Brenda Starr and Mark Trail (I never could figure that one out. Was it a name, were they marking trails? Reading it left me even more confused). I used to enjoy Hagar the Horrible, which I wouldn’t have even thought of except it came up in a search.

    Oh, sometimes I think of B.C. One running gag was that they it was in stone age times so they traveled around on one big wheel. Now I see alleged adults on scooters that look suspiciously similar though not made of stone. I never would have predicted that. Unfortunately, I can’t even point it out because most people I know wouldn’t get the reference.

  8. Susan Montgomery says

    @8. You forgot Bloom County. Given Berkley’s status as wannabe alt-right edgelord in his revival series, it’s understandable.

  9. PaulBC says

    @9 Well I can’t include them all. Anyway, Bloom County was more popular when I was in college, not during my short-lived stint as a paper boy. It struck me as Doonesbury-lite. (And how many comics can I name drop?)

    I didn’t mention Peanuts* either, just because it’s too obvious. Charles Schulz is an American legend whose influence on comics and everything else would be impossible to overstate. Wee Pals ran around the same time, by Morrie Turner, who was a friend of Schulz. That comic probably looks a little corny today, but it was way ahead of its time on racial integration. There was a Saturday kids show “Kid Power” based on it. Anyone else remember that?

    The thing that didn’t make much sense was the Black kid with the Confederate hat and a dog named General Lee. I mean, I just took it as a given, and Turner has explained it in interviews. Still, a bit puzzling.

    *My all-time favorite: “I’ll go put in another crayon.” There’s a deep metaphor here.

  10. Susan Montgomery says

    @9. Bloom County was grades 7 and 8 for me, so I guess I remember it differently. My only real thought on Doonesbury is that they should have done an “Uncle Duke” spin-off.

    As for Peanuts, what more needs to be said?

  11. submoron says

    I’m old and wrong enough to love Carl Giles. He switched to the Daily Express from Reynold’s News because he needed money but never backed off from his hatred of fascism. Is there a cartoonist with his draughtsmanship today?

  12. raven says

    While we are getting all nostalgic (and why not, 2022 is a horrible year with a pandemic and war in Ukraine), the first comic strip I ever read was Alley Oop. I was around 4 in the 1950s. I got interested in it because it had a dinosaur character, the ride of Alley Oop.
    Strangely enough, Alley Oop is from the 1930s and is still popular today.

    Then it was Flash Gordon, Lil Abner, and a few others.

    I don’t read comics much these days, since my newspaper is the internet.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ray of sunshine that I am, I was always partial to Charles Addams.

    Other than that, I keep up with Girl Genius.

  14. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@15 How about Edward Gorey? We had his illustrated books around the house*, some Charles Addams, and my father’s subscription to The New Yorker. I have a poster copy of The Gashlycrumb Tinies but I haven’t displayed it in years. Gorey is brilliant, but it still feels too creepy.

    I liked all those, but in some ways I find newspaper comics more fascinating because there’s a kind of ritual aspect. They don’t have to be funny.

    Henry is a bald kid. He inhabits a world that has oddly stood still in time since about 1890. Sometimes he notices stuff and his eyes make contact. Hilarity… does not ensue because this is Henry. It’s a spiritual thing. Hilarity is for lesser strips.

    I was also a big fan of the ritual aspect of Ultraman on TV. (Also, maybe because New Yorker stuff was my father’s domain and I could be the expert with newspaper comics, Saturday morning TV shows, and Warner Bros. cartoons.)

    *The most disturbing thing we had when I was very little was an English translation of Struwwelpeter. Those illustrations gave me nightmares.

  15. numerobis says

    I threw my back reaching for the shampoo bottle and that day I learned what it is to not be young anymore.