ARRRGH!! | Newspaper Comics

Last updated on April 9th, 2014 at 01:39 pm

Do you still read comic strip comics from the newspaper? Do you read them online?  Or do you even bother anymore?

When I was a kid, I used to read the Saturday newspaper comics religiously.

Okay, I know they are usually called the Sunday comics, but none of the newspapers my parents had a subscription for had any comics on Sunday. I think that is more of a United States thing.

Now, I still get the newspaper everyday and I still read the comics, but I have a feeling I am a minority on this topic.

Who else reads the daily newspapers and follows the exploits of Sherman’s Lagoon? Have you even realized that the artist on Adam has changed? It’s actually funny again. Well…funnier than it was.

I have friends that get their daily, or sometimes not so daily, dose of comic strips via internet sites. There are those sites that have all kinds of daily comics together in one site. Of course there are lots of comic strips that don’t run in some of the syndicated papers like Red Meat often featuring Milkman Dan. (Note: Red meat really isn’t for kids and shouldn’t be next to Hagar The Horrible.)

I guess what I am wondering is whether or not daily comic strips still have a place in today’s society. Do people still read them?

It’s amazing how around 100 years ago, people were buying newspapers because of the comic strips. Richard Felton Outcault’s strip of “Hogan’s Alley” or “Down Hogan’s Alley” had the first comic strip “star”, the Yellow Kid, which appeared in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspaper. Note he wasn’t called that at first: experiments with dye at the time was the reason for his colour.

This cartoon was such a hit that William Randolph Hearst stole away Outcault and his creation for New York Journal American. BUT Pulitzer still had the copyright to Hogan’s Alley. So TWO newspapers were now printing the same comic strip. Syndication in many newspapers wasn’t a possibility then.

The popularity of the comic strip was staggering. This is what was helping sell newspapers. Well, that and the fact that both papers were accused of falsifying news AND both papers carried the Yellow Kid. So the fight became known as the Yellow Wars and because of the extreme desire to fabricate and sell newspaper, we now have the term “Yellow Kid Journalism” or just “Yellow Journalism”. But I digress…

Comic strips at one point had a large role in newspapers but with the advent of the internet and the declining newspaper sales (according to many internet sites), does the comic strip still have a role in today’s market?

I’m not so sure, but I will continue to read them. But will you?

Chris Owen Written by:

Chris Owen co-hosts the Radio Show Comic Culture with CBD's own Walter Durajlija. He's not only a fancy dresser but also one of the foremost experts on Power Girl in the entire Galaxy."

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28 Comments

  1. Laura
    April 21, 2011

    I read the good ones, and sadly those are few and far between. I find myself reading Zits and the occasional reprints of For Better or for Worse. The rest I just find so stupid and dreadful.
    And Family Circus creates a rage in me that cannot be understated. I don’t know what it is about this family that makes me want to kick puppies, but when I see that annoying circle the rage bubbles up!

  2. Ed Campbell
    April 21, 2011

    I used to read Get Fuzzy, 9 Chickweed Lane and Dilbert everyday online (or when someone bought the paper)

    Now, I rarely open the comics page.  When I do, certain strips like For Better For Worse or Peanuts have been rebooted so I am not sure what the storyline is now.

    My favourite of all time is still Bloom County.

  3. Laura
    April 21, 2011

    The best comic strip by far is Calvin and Hobbes. I remember being 10 years old when it finished and being so upset when my parents explained that was the last strip. I own every one of the compilations, save the big hard cover. No strip compares.

  4. I, Warren
    April 21, 2011

    I haven’t read the comics page in a newspaper in ages.
    I do, however, read the “Garfield Minus Garfield” site and it’s far more hilarious than the source material.

  5. Charlie
    April 21, 2011

    I discovered Red Meat when I as living in Asian… printed in Hong Kong’s equivalent of Now magazine. It’s hilarious!

  6. Ed Campbell
    April 21, 2011

    Ahh Billy and the Boingers.  “You stink but I <3 you.”  I used to have that “record” kicking around somewhere too.

    My uncle was a hardcore Bloom County fan, he even had the Bill the Cat and Opus stuffed animals.

  7. I, Warren
    April 21, 2011

    Good ol’ Bloom County!  Somewhere I have the flexi-disc of “Billy & the Boingers” that came with one of the trade paperback collections

  8. Chris
    April 21, 2011

    Calvin and Hobbes really stretched the art form to a new level. Other strips like The Far Side changed the style of comic and type of humour associated with newspaper strips and pushed the levels in a different way.

  9. April 21, 2011

    I think that Bizarro by Dan Piraro is genius. And I wish that Frank Cho would do more Liberty Meadows and less covers for Jungle Girl or whatever the heck he is working on. As a kid I loved Garfield. It was (and is) a great comic strip. The comedy is not single panel clever like The Far Side or esoteric as Calvin and Hobbes, but rather its entertainment value was built on the tried comedic usage of repetition. Oh, it’s a Monday! Uh oh, Garfield hates Mondays. Oh John, why did you leave the lasagna on the counter? Garfield sure is fat. And so on. One of the reasons why Garfield minus Garfield is so funny as meta-humour is the juxtaposition against the source material. It is only funny if one has familiarity with the original.

  10. Charlie
    April 21, 2011

    Calvin and Hobbes was great as a concept but I always felt the drawing of Calvin looked to similar to Charlie Brown.

  11. Charlie
    April 21, 2011

    I’ve seen that… great art but do you not feel Calvin resembles the Peanuts gang?

  12. Laura
    April 21, 2011

    I always found this one pretty hilarious. But there never was a strip I didn’t love. Even the ones that made me cry. It says a lot when a daily strip can cause that kind of emotion.

  13. Laura
    April 21, 2011

    Have you read Calvin and Hobbes? What ‘gang’?

  14. April 21, 2011

    My favorite today is Cornered by Canadian Mike Baldwin, he used to be an editor on my hometown paper the Hamilton Spectator. For me he fills the void the Far Side left. Calvin an Hobbes, the Far Side and Bloom Country are my all time faves. I don’t see Peanuts in Calvin! ? There are some great strips still out there, Pickles, Dilbert, Zits, Bizarro, Gafield and Sherman’s Lagoon are can all winners for me!

  15. April 21, 2011

    I used to read Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes, but I’ve never been one for reading newspaper comics as they are published. I do recall reading the Spider-Man strip for a while in the 70s/80s and there was a great short-lived Batman strip by Marshall Rogers that came out in 1989.  However, since we do live in the “golden age of strip reprints” I’ve been getting the collections of things like Popeye, Secret Agent X-9 and Prince Valiant and loving them. I have been known to read Garfield without Garfield from time to time. I do read webcomics as well, but not frequently. I tend to blitz through months worth of strips when I have some free time or I’m reviewing them for the awards.

  16. I, Warren
    April 21, 2011

    I’ve heard the recent “Bloom County” hardcover had an (unintentional??) mis-print.  In the original strip, there’s a panel about songs Steve Dallas had written for the band.  One was called “Let’s Roll Over Lionel Ritchie With A Tank”.  Though the gag’s used again in later strips, the original gag is mis-printed both within the collection and on the back cover!

  17. I, Warren
    April 21, 2011

    The general consensus here is that “Calvin & Hobbes” was great. Not exactly rocking the boat there. However, it’s dead. Gone. It is no more. It is an ex-strip. Where’s the new “Calvin & Hobbes”, and are we even going to find it in a traditional newspaper’s Comics section??

  18. I, Warren
    April 21, 2011

    note:  I copy & pasted the above from an email I sent Chris.  Sorry for the weird coding at the beginning.  Didn’t know it’s look like that when posted.  Oh, computers.

  19. Laura
    April 21, 2011

    I agree with Pete, there can be no ‘new’ Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s truly something that can be considered one of a kind, and it should stay that way.

  20. April 21, 2011

    I’ll second this. Probably one of the greatest things ever put on paper.

  21. April 21, 2011

    I don’t know if there can ever be ‘another’ Calvin & Hobbes, just like they’ll never be another Far Side or Peanuts.

    I think we’ll be looking to webcomics and beyond for whatever comes next.

  22. Charlie
    April 21, 2011

    Maybe you’re right…

  23. April 21, 2011

    Hey! I love Family Circus, escpecailly those where the kid’s long way home is traced by a line that charted his progress.

  24. I, Warren
    April 22, 2011

    Perhaps I should have said “next”.  In the pantheon of greats – Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts, Doonesbury (yeah, I said it) etc, what’s the newest strip to join?

  25. Ed Campbell
    April 22, 2011

    My favourite C&H comics are the snowman ones. 

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