Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday Comics: favorites then and now

Looking over the funny papers from Sunday’s paper insert I was reminded again how much they have changed from when I was a kid. In those days my Sunday funnies came from the Pittsburgh Press which also no longer exists. The comics section was four pages, eight sides, with panels big enough to read the lettering without a magnifying glass; and there were no advertisement in the comics section.

Today my funnies come by way of a small midwestern city paper; not the one that publishes my column as it doesn’t have a Sunday edition. But while most Sundays my current comics section does boast four pages, after a full page ad takes the back sheet and another ad gobbles up another half a sheet there are only about six and a half sides left, sometimes less. So the space gets chopped into fairly small sections and parceled out among the comics.

But size of the assigned panels and the number of comics offered are not the only things that have changed over the years. The comics themselves for the most part are just a shadow of their former selves. There was a time when every comic strip that earned space in the paper could be counted on to do one of two things, and occasionally both; either it told a compelling story or it was drop-dead funny. Today it is almost roulette when you open the paper as to what the day’s offering will deliver.

Of course a lot of comics aren’t around anymore for a variety of reasons: cartoonists retire or pass away and don’t make provision for the comic to continue, some are based on material that doesn’t transition well over time, and some that were passed down to younger cartoonists don’t survive the change in voice. There is also another reason which is competition from new cartoonists developing new stories and characters for a different generation.

So I thought I would share my favorite Sunday comics of the past and the ones I currently read. We’ll see how our tastes in comics compare. So leave a comment with your past or present favorites at the end.

Favorites Then:

Peanuts – Charles Schulz

Nancy – Ernie Bushmiller

Dennis the Menace – Hank Ketcham

Family Circus – Bil Keane

Blondie and Dagwood – Chic Young

Favorites Now:

For Better or For Worse – Lynn Johnston

Blondie – Dean Young (son of Chic)

Baby Blues – Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott

Mutts – Patrick McDonnell

Family Circus – Bil Keane & crew

1 comment:

Pieces of Me said...

I loved Dennis the Mennis, Calvin and Hobbes, Blondie was great. They are timeless. Actually the theme of memories as you've written just captures the spirit of what I just posted. I thank you very much for taking me down memory lane.