A Serious (sort of) Discussion About the Funnies

I suspect what we like about the funnies, the comics in daily newspapers, says something about each of us.

This is a conversation that may be obsolete in short order. The topic at hand is the comics in most daily newspapers. These little funnies are available online as well. But this conversation is about comics in a newspaper. Many people reading this may not be able to recall reading an actual newspaper. Still fewer subscribe to one. That is a sad and problematic thing, but that would also be the topic of another blog post. Today, we are about the laugh.

When we moved to our new home town last year, one of our decisions was whether we would subscribe to the local paper. Like many local papers, ours was dealing with a shrinking readership. Staff cuts have started cutting into muscle and bone. But… this little newspaper offers two – TWO – pages of color comics every day! Sold! Of course, we subscribed. The world I grew up in had color comics only on Sunday. To have the full display every day seemed a luxury.

I have had a ritual since I was a teen. I get the paper early every day. I scan the front page, then go to the editorial page to scan for what will get more attention later. By now, the first cup of coffee is ready, and I sit down to enjoy the funnies. I read almost all funnies printed, every day. They are a delight, and a momentary flight from hard news.

Some come from the current news (Doonesbury comes to mind). Others have some great sarcasm (Non Sequitur is a good one). But most only invite us to laugh at life and ourselves. Zits, Mother Goose & Grimm, Garfield, Bloom County, Sherman’s Lagoon, and others are on that list. Some hang on beyond any reason I can imagine as slow-motion soap operas. Who still reads Mary Worth or Rex Morgan? Some seem to me a mystery about why they exist (Breaking Cat News– really?)

Aficionados mourn the passing of the great ones. Calvin and Hobbes still do a brisk book business in reprint. I belong to an online group that shares old Far Side comics. The membership of this group is in the thousands and word-wide.

No doubt a psychologist could tell us what our choice of comics means. I’m not sure any of us care, although that might be a fun study. We just enjoy them and that is good enough. It is fun to compare notes with friends on what comics we like and why. I have heard that calls to drop or bring in a comic strip come to newspapers almost daily. People get feisty about this.

The weekend is upon us. Enjoy your funnies. And share your favorites with us!

Clontz-117tx225pix  Bill Clontz


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