Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Monumental Post of Earthshaking Importance

I learned to read at a fairly early age, or so I'm told. The earliest I recall doing it was kindergarten, which just seems like my teacher was doing her job. (Incidentally, my kindergarten teacher, on my last report card that year, wrote "He will take life easy of he is not pushed." I have saved that card for 31 years, as it is so, so true.) At any rate, one of the things that I think got me to read was newspaper comics. Every Sunday we would go to my grandparents house after church. My grandfather would open up the (full color!!) Sunday comics and read them to me. Eventually I started to read along.

To this day I love newspaper comics. My family knows to leave me alone Sunday morning until I've read the comics. I subscribe to a newspaper that doesn't seem to know much about what's going on, but has the best comics section around. I fear, however, that the comics are on a serious downturn. In fact, with very few exceptions, they suck.

I thought of this over the last few days after spending far too much money on the complete Calvin & Hobbes collection. It comes in three volumes. It weighs more than 20 lb. It contains every single Calvin & Hobbes strip ever published, and a few extra things as well. As I think I've already remarked, I consider C & H the best strip ever. I've gotten my 7 year-old son completely addicted to the old strips, even though I fully realize the dangers of encouraging a child to emulate the actions of a hyperactive six-year old with an imagination permanently in overdrive, especially one who is two-dimensional and therefore immune to injuries. But screw it, all kids should get to act like Calvin once in awhile.

Today there is nothing close to Calvin & Hobbes, and I doubt there ever will be. Instead, we have strips like Cathy, Blondie, Beetle Bailey and The Wizard of Id that have been around for years and have about 5 different jokes that they cycle through on a regular basis. Dagwood, for instance, has been late for work twice a week for the last 70 years. Although I totally want to have sex with his daughter Cookie, even if she is about 59 right now. Hagar the Horrible has been drinking in the same tavern and bitching about Helga for two decades. So do I, but you don't see me in a comic strip.

There are a couple of good strips out there, but overall I think that we've lost something when the comics aren't as original as they used to be, and when newspapers reprint the same thing over and over, I think that comics as an art just start to die off. Just like Charles Schulz, whose strip Peanuts still appears in many, many papers, even though Schulz hasn't drawn a breath, let alone a strip, in a couple of years. The man's dead, stop putting the strip in the daily paper. Let someone else have a shot.

As I said in the title, this post is clearly of earthshaking importance. But this has been bugging me since I bought the Calvin & Hobbes collection and realized what we've all been missing since 1995. I would recommend the collection incidentally, but it's not cheap. Although it does get considerably cheaper when you return it and then buy it back three days later using the coupon they gave you when you bought it the first time. Not that I would do that.


Blogger Pud said...

Comic strips have been sucking the last couple of years. Someone needs to get creative so we have something funny to read!

3:05 PM  
Blogger JD's Rose said...

Ohh dear...


4:11 PM  
Blogger eclectic said...

My nine-year old got C&H for Christmas this year. He started reading it and laughing, and after awhile looked up and said, "Mom! Did you know that comics are FUNNY???"

8:20 PM  

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