Sunday Lamentations

In time past, there was art in the Sunday paper. No, I’m serious. There really was. It was art of a unique sort: unpretentious, ironic, and witty. It, naturally, appealed largely to children. The Sunday comics used to be an art form. I think they died, but I am not sure: I haven’t been able to find the obituary. I am uncertain if that is because they aren’t dead or just because no one cares enough to write the two-inch article. Perhaps the comics are suffering from a terminal illness and they are on life support.

“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has ever tried to contact us.”  -Bill Watterson, creator of “Calvin & Hobbes”

I am lamenting this ignored injustice: the Sunday Funnies…aren’t. There are impostors in the paper every Sunday brazenly propping up their feet in places that used to be reserved for Calvin & Hobbes or Bloom County.

Today’s comics are not much more than badly rendered, poorly colored, thinly veiled political rants, bad attempts at teenage humor, envelope-pushing and/or cultural relevance, or just flat stupid. Many of them are crass and distasteful, and hardly the stuff children should be enjoying with their Cocoa Puffs on a Sunday morning. The only decent comics are those over thirty years old like the Peanuts reprints, Garfield, Mother Goose & Grimm, and FoxTrot. Today’s comic strip writers have a long way to go before they can be referred to as “artists.” Contrast current comics with the art of Bill Watterson and Charles Schultz, and you might want to sit down and cry. No wonder kids spend all of their time on YouTube: there’s very little creativity in the paper.

“The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present.” -Bill Watterson

This is important because the comics used to be a child’s introduction into the adult world of the newspaper, and the newspaper was considered to be a credible resource to use to find out about the goings on in the world. The eight-year old comic reader often let their eyes wander over to the Crossword, and maybe the Sports section, or the Travel/Life section, and eventually they often made their way to the Front Page, the World News and the Editorials. This took time, but a Sunday Comics reader often became an engaged Front Page reader. The newspaper as a news source has been dying for some time, and I think it’s possible that one of the major causes of this is the self-inflicted mortal wound they suffered when they shot themselves in the foot by squashing the comics into four pages and handed over artistic control to the syndicates.

“The world of a comic strip ought to be a special place with its own logic and life… I don’t want the issue of Hobbes’s reality settled by a doll manufacturer.” -Bill Watterson

Bill Watterson, the brilliant creator of “Calvin & Hobbes”, has written extensively about the constraints of the comic writer’s medium, and how the constraints of space and syndicates make their medium a difficult, if not nearly impossible, canvas to paint on. Artists who love the comic and would use it as a medium have taken their pens and headed for parts unknown.

Few kids read the Sunday Comics anymore, largely because the comics aren’t worth reading (with the notable exception of “Pearls Before Swine.”) I hate that.

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” -Hobbes, who may or may not be real, but who is most certainly true.

This entry was posted in America, Art, Calvin & Hobbes, childhood, Imagination, Nostalgia, pop culture, Sundays and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

209 Responses to Sunday Lamentations

  1. maitchd says:

    I feel the same! There are only a select few comics that I really enjoy ( I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Lio, but for some reason I just find it hilarious. No words needed). Calvin & Hobbes was really my favorite of all times. Maybe kids aren’t impressed with comics these days when they can watch characters actually move around on TV or YouTube…

    • rodalena says:

      I’ve read Lio-that one’s hit-or-miss for me. I think it’s the way it’s drawn; I just can’t get into it. I don’t think there are many tv shows that could compete with a Calvin & Hobbes book and a cup of hot cocoa, no matter how old you are. :) Thanks for reading!

      • maitchd says:

        Well, I can see what you mean by the hit or miss. Sometimes I look at it and I go “it’s not really funny” but maybe someone else will see it differently than me and think it’s absolutely hilarious! I’m not sure. But there is something about it that is simple and complex at the same time. But I agree with the Calvin & Hobbes point. I just don’t think that kids these days will ever see it that way…except for the really special “old souls” kids :P

  2. mikafry says:

    This is a very well written piece. You’ve captured some sentiments I share. I used to love reading the comics in the paper. They seemed like such a treat compared to the rest of the (arguably) boring, adult stuff. I never read the comics any more.

  3. Strange, I always loved the comics when I was younger, especially Get Fuzzy. It was a little crass sometimes, admittedly, but still hilarious! Even when I have no time to read the comics today because of my busy college schedule, I’m pretty sure the comics had a hand in my weird sense of humor.

  4. ezduhsit says:

    I share your lamenting. We collected newspapers at an old job I had, for recycling, and I’d dig through the Sunday papers just for the funnies. All I ever read was the Garfield and Peanuts reprints. I wish I had collectes the strips I read growing up so I could pass them down. :(

    • rodalena says:

      I saved the final “Peanuts” strip. It sits in a box of treasures with the front page from 9-11. I bought every Calvin & Hobbes book published, and several FoxTrot and Far Side offerings. I am so glad I did. Now, I can enjoy them all over again with my kids.

  5. atique007 says:

    Things, ideologies, beliefs and even our tastes are in the process of being molded, or totally supplanted by the changing trends. The things once we were amazed at or to some extent enamored by started, we feel it or not, loosing their appeal. The world moves around with the new and the old is left to the older generation merely to sigh out. Brutal! in one sense but reality is not the thing to ignore….

  6. Clever comics are still around, but not in the newspaper. They’ve moved to the web. Which is just as well. For better or for worse, who actually gets a newspaper anymore?

    • rodalena says:

      Laughing…I think there’s like twenty or thirty of us who still read The Actual Paper. I think they just print so many of copies of them to help out people with birds and new puppies.

  7. David says:

    Go find collected reprints of Pogo! You’ll find the source for almost everything since. I do love Satchel in Get Fuzzy.

  8. jumeirajames says:

    My wife has banned me from reading (and re-re-reading) my Calvin and Hobbes compilations – because it starts with a smile, goes into a giggle and by the third story I’m a mass of helpless choking, gurgling and heaving laughter. She say’s ‘it’s weird’.

  9. cartoonmick says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rodalena for this long overdue posting.

    I’m an Australian freelance cartoonist, and have battled, along with many other cartoonists against the demise of comics in newspapers. If you think it’s bad in America, then you should have a look around a majority of Australian newspapers. Not all, but a very high majority.

    There seems to be some kind of mindset within the newspapers’ “decision making” section, which thinks readers no longer want comics, so the budget and interest is reduced, time and time again over the years.

    We have now reached the stage where the papers are only buying the cheapest syndicates have to offer, which they reduce to an almost unreadable size, and then publish in some remote section of the paper. Then, THEN,,,, having given them such treatment, they turn around and say “readers aren’t really interested in comics”. That’s right,,,, because there’re low quality, shrunk, and hidden.

    There’s a diminishing number of good quality comics being created out there, but because of the “mindset” between the drawing board and the newspaper stand, they’re not reaching the reader. So the good cartoonists are slowly dying off (probably starving to death).

    So, please, don’t blame the cartoonists, but the Editors. Bang on their doors, email them, plague them, and convince Editors to improve the situation. They are the only ones who can do it.

    I should stop at this point, otherwise I’ll burst a blood vessel. But I will mention, I’ve heard of research which states that an increase in quality comics will increase the papers circulation. But I don’t know where to find a ref to that.



    • rodalena says:

      Mick, keep drawing. Good comic strips have the power take a reader to another world, and then inspire them to make this one better. The comics are matter. One wonders if newspaper editors were ever children…

    • dgsouthgate says:

      Checked out your site. I like your style; quite unique and rather charming. All the best in the future! – Dave (fellow freelance illustrator)

      BTW: Your header notice should read “Contents of this site are copyright”. Leave out the “subject to” part, it makes the statement ambiguous.

  10. Thank you! I’m glad someone else thinks this! Especially with “Zits”. That comic pisses me off – that freaking kid needs some lessons in life. Why would the writer think we’d find it funny? It just teaches youngsters that what he’s doing is funny and *ahem* acceptable. It just annoys the adults. Grrr!

    • rodalena says:

      A-freakin’-greed, Daphne. Zits sucks.

    • Aingealsile says:

      Oh man, you sound just like me. My son (who is fifteen) adores that Zits comic. While it can be *mildly* amusing, I mostly think that kid needs a swift kick in the a!@ and to be shown how to stop being such a lazy, disrespectful punk! I have many times had to explain to my Teenage Boy that not only is that not acceptable, it’s part of the problem with “today’s youth” (he hates that term!) because they think that’s perfectly ok! Pick up after yourself! Pay attention! Stop being such a lazy, rude punk and work hard for what you want!

      …Man, I feel like I’m channeling my Grandpa in here, but it’s totally true. You are right on!

  11. ShadowKill says:

    Good write up. I haven’t read the comics in years, I mean years. I remember when I did my favorites were: Wizard of ID, Beetle Bailey, Garfield, Peanuts, the far side, Curtis, mother goose and grimm….. the last one i remember reading (newest) was boondocks. I have no idea what is out there now…

    • rodalena says:

      The sad truth of it is you aren’t missing much.

      • ShadowKill says:

        You know it almost is the same with much entertainment as a whole nowadays. I remember the old shows I use to loved and now majority of tv is made up of reality shows. I don’t know if it because I am getting older and expect certain things to remain the same or I just not keeping up with the changing of times. Maybe a little of both but if comics aren’t the same I just don’t know.

        I tell you this animation shows aren’t same as well. I rather watch late 1990s and early 2000s version of the justice league, spiderman, batman, than the newer shows. I’m just getting old lol. or stubborn. Thanks for taking up the time, and again good write up.

        • rodalena says:

          Thanks, ShadowKill. I know what you mean about tv cartoons. What I wouldn’t give to see just one show for kids that had a decent parental figure. And the voices! “The Fairly Oddparents” is enough to make one pray for hearing loss.

  12. Great post,,, love Calvin and Hobbes

  13. greggorton84 says:

    The truth is, the GOOD comic strip writer’s are going “why should the newspaper get any of MY money” and have webcomics with a much larger group of readers. My preferred include the simply drawn and the brilliant serial both showing great intelligence and insight. I say Hooray! It’s a win for artists…

  14. momopolize says:

    So true! I used to look so forward to reading the “Sunday Funnies.” I even had a certain order I would read them, so as to save the best for last. The “best” changed through the years, but Peanuts was always in the top 3. Such fond memories. And ones my children will never have.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  15. Mei says:

    “Comics used to be a child’s introduction into the adult world of the newspaper” This is EXACTLY what I was thinking during your first few paragraphs and so glad that you mentioned it! That’s how I used to feel as a kid. I’d read about 90% of the comics and skip the weird political ones that were shoved down at the bottom. It made me feel grown up because there was a section of the paper made just for me. I always really liked Garfield. :)

  16. IM Sirius says:

    I remember when the local paper wouldn’t run a “For Better Or For Worse” storyline because it *gasp* had to do with homosexuality! Oh, the horror.

  17. Pondok Print says:

    owh nice post….
    calvin & Hobbes like it

  18. Matt_S_Law says:

    I’m not sure that the decline in comics actually led to a decline in newspaper circulation… But I sure agree that the comics today just do not compare to the likes of your faves. Although, every once in a while Dilbert has a genius moment.

    • rodalena says:

      I wonder if any studies have been done. It would be interesting to see if there is any actual correlation.

      You’re right about Dilbert-occasionally it’s pretty good. Thanks for the comment!

  19. True! I read the comics every Sunday (or sometimes I would save them until Monday morning to make myself feel better about…you know…Monday) up until we moved from the US when I was 16. I was more than confused when we visited this past December and the comics were lame. I think I read four of the strips. At least there are sites like Go Comics, but there’s something beautiful about reading them on a Sunday morning with the scent of newspaper. Ah, well. Thanks for the post :)

  20. brokenfloral says:

    i share your views,that was a piece nicely written,i used to be crazy about comics.i don’t think i would see in today’s generations.

  21. I don’t read the comics anymore, probably because I can’t find them in my paper! As others mention above, I used to read everything from Mother Goose & Grimm to Peanuts to Doonesbury. They were all wonderful, in their own way.
    Going back to D’bury, it can be read on so many levels: as a teen, they’re simply funny. As an adult, they’re current and funny. Looking back at his earlier comics, they can be historical, funny and thought-provoking. Trudeau is an amazing cartoonist and social commentator.
    Bring back the comics! (and when I say that, I really mean, “bring back the ones I like”)

    • rodalena says:

      Looking at history through the eyes of social commentators like Trudeau, Breathed, and more subtle ones like Larson and Watterson is rather eye-opening. I used to love D’bury, but now it just seems cranky. Maybe he misses his friends…

  22. rmk says:

    I remember reading the Sunday comics, but I haven’t done it for at least five years. Most comics worth reading are now online. Kids have turned to web comics where there is a lot less control for syndicates and fewer limitations. There is some really good stuff out there. Maybe that goes hand in hand with my generation turning to the Internet for our news instead of newspapers.

  23. I get the majority of my news online, so I don’t subscribe to a paper, but when I go to my sister’s home, one of things I do is dig into their newspaper pile for the Sunday comics. They aren’t the same when I was a kid, but then again, few things are…

  24. Jean says:

    I guess I haven’t been reading comics in the last few …um…decades. Sure, I pay attention to political satiric comics in the mainstream press.

    Animation on paper is a real art by blending both storytelling with a punch and artistry. It isn’t just doodling. I did know of someone who formally trained in art of animation for 2-3 years at one of Canada’s lead animation art programs at one of the colleges. Visiting the art students workspace is amazing…such work.

  25. I find myself not bothering to read the comics at all and skip – rather depressingly considering the stereotype I used to give to crosswords about how they’re for old people – directly to the puzzles.

  26. Couldn’t agree more. And if you think it’s bad in the Sunday papers, you should try thumbing through the free Metro paper (found littering all good London transport).

  27. Calvin & Hobbes is great – Calvin is *just* crazy enough to be believable. But alas you’re right, I haven’t seen many reader-worthy comics around lately. Maybe Doonesbury, another classic, but it has its own political agenda and not really children-friendly.

  28. orbitalpath says:

    Well said! Bloom County was the first comic that really caught my attention and that I looked forward to reading even though I didn’t get the political jokes because I was too young. I remember reading it and not understanding the punch-line about Casper Weinberger, but still snickering at Opus or Steve Dallas.

    I started reading the “funny pages” in the 80s, and there were a lot of cartoons that were clever or funny back then. I really enjoyed the plots of Alley Oop (really well drawn) and Prince Valiant (great artistry), the devilsh-ness of Andy Capp (the look on his wife’s face always made me grin), and the general silliness and Hagar the Horrible (good old barbaric humor). But the last time that I read the paper’s comics the only thing that was actually funny was Family Circle. :(

    Thanks for this. It makes me want to dig out some old Calvin & Hobbes books. :)

  29. hemadamani says:

    It seems we are lucky here in India. We still have Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes(my favorite), Garfield, Beetle Baily, Hagar the horrible, etc in our Sunday newspapers. But yes, the new ones that appear in some newspapers aren’t as good. I think I should enjoy my favorites while I can. :)

  30. Check out what people in Estonia have to put up with in the “humour” pages of their weekly paper: At least we haven’t sunk that low.

  31. Yep, more people are checking out the news online, and kids have all kinds of electronic games to play with so comic supplements aren´t read so much these days. In Scotland, the famous and once very successful Dandy comic has been withdrawn due to a decline in readership. Tis a pity.

  32. scribblechic says:

    My son buys books of these childhood favorites, toting them everywhere faithfully and lovingly throughout his days. I could create a soundtrack to his laughter as he settles into their company.

  33. KLooDoo says:

    I agree, and sadly I have stopped reading the comics, in part, because I receive my newspaper online. My earlier obsession with the comics, however, has resulted in my own website dedicated to that so it lives on, but sadly, may not for future generations.

  34. Dounia says:

    This is so well-written and so true. I remember being so excited to read the comics in the paper! My sister and I would go to my dad to get the comics section from the newspaper as he read it and we’d read them together. Calvin and Hobbes has always been a favorite!

    Great post – I really loved it, and congrats on being freshly pressed! :)

  35. S.C. says:

    I haven’t opened the comics page since I was a kid, and even then (really, only 15 or so years ago) it pretty much sucked, aside from the few big exceptions. Now the only comics I read are online, and I don’t even bother with the paper anymore, not even for my news.

    Also, I never got why they printed stuff like The Lockhorns in the paper. I guess they were for adults, since the whole message of the comic was “Marriage will make you miserable; am I right, married people?” But the same joke every day has to get boring after a while.

  36. Jess Smart Smiley says:

    Great post! My friends would all cut out and collect the running stories, like “Spider-Man” and “Steve” something, and keep them in a folder. Grandpa would usually cut out a Family Circus or a Calvin and Hobbes strip that described my family, and would come over to our house and stick it on our fridge to have a good laugh.

    For whatever it’s worth: I was on a hunt for footage of Bill Watterson drawing yesterday, but couldn’t find any. I did, however, find some footage of Jim Davis, Charles Schulz, Mort Walker and Scott Adams.

    If you have any interest in seeing cartoonists in action:

  37. asoulwalker says:

    On December thirty-first, nineteen ninety-seven I read my last Calvin and Hobbes comic in the paper… I still haven’t quite recovered.

  38. svenonia says:

    Ditto to all comments praising Bloom County and Calvin/Hobbes. Even though I lean right politically I still relish the commentary from the Reagan era. My kids never saw first-run Calvin and Hobbes but there is nothing better than sitting on the sofa before bed and watching the tears of laughter well up in their eyes.
    I’m going to throw two other quality comics into the mix, Mallard Fillmore and Shoe.

    • rodalena says:

      Mallard Fillmore! I forgot that one!

      I, too, love sharing the greats with my kids. It’s even better when I find them reading them on their own, knowing they chose Calvin over Halo or (gag) The Disney Channel.

      • svenonia says:

        My oldest is 13 and loves Calvin as do his younger brothers. Even though they are separated by several years they all can relate to Calvin and it is great that they share this common bond.
        I’ve tried Far Side with my oldest but its still over his head which is just fine with me. This is a precious time. I have learned to savor it and not be in in a hurry for him to grow up.

  39. Andy Capp – no self-respecting paper should be without him (says she who hasn’t bought a paper in years).

    It’s true enough that a lot of kids don’t tend to bother newspapers anymore, but that’s because they’re mostly busy little Raid Leaders in WoW these days. (ask me how I know)

  40. umanbn says:

    My favourites as a kid were always peanuts (though I never understood it) Oor Wullie and the Broons….great post and of course congratulations in fresh pressed…

  41. urbannight says:

    Hagar the Horrible and Heathcliff, Family Circle and so many others that seemed to vanish over time.

  42. shaylatansey says:

    I wrote a post on Calvin and Hobbes not long ago. Back when I was younger I wanted to draw comics. Now, as you said, the art has been lost and with that I’ve lost interest in drawing comic strips and don’t get excited about the Sunday paper anymore. It’s too bad, now there’s just more space for depressing, negative articles. I don’t even bother reading the paper anymore, why bother? I just assume that there’s been a bunch of murders, sex crimes, and scandals about politicians and celebrities. I think I’ll just stay in my bubble. Thanks for shining some light on this!

  43. I used to wrestle my brothers to get first dibs on the Sunday Morning “funny papers (as we called it)
    Congrats on being FP!!!

  44. Huffygirl says:

    I don’t agree on what you think are the best comics, but I do agree that the current selection is lacking. My paper has cut back severely and added some really stupid comics. I only read about one-third of them now, and am still missing my favorites. I taught myself to read at age 5 because no one would read me the comics, and have been reading voraciously ever since.
    Congratulations on your blog and being Freshly Pressed.

    • rodalena says:

      What better comment on the importance of the comics than this! I love that they motivated you to learn to read on your own. What this world needs is more voracious readers. Thanks for your comment!

  45. L. Palmer says:

    I think there’s a broad truth to it. A few other notable exceptions for me are Get Fuzzy and Brewster Rocket. The former has it’s weak storylines, but, overall, provides great social commentary and satire. Brewster Rocket tends to be clever and brilliant, while developing a whole world in only a few panels.

  46. klyse3 says:

    Great points! I’m still an addicted comic reader, mostly because my local paper runs the oldies. :) I cannot get enough of Pearls Before Swine!!! Another good one is Cul-de-sac by Richard Thompson. Unfortunately, new comics on that one have been discontinued because of his health.

  47. mirrormon says:

    ahhh thank God I read your post…I kept thinking this whole time that may be my sense of humor hasnt advanced and matured in comparison to the comics these days, because seriously I don’t find them funny and catchy anymore…. I am glad there are others who think that way too..

  48. Calvin & Hobbes is far and away my favorite comic. I remember the last time a new strip ran in our weekend paper, and it felt like the end of an era. I almost felt sorry for the kids ahead of me who wouldn’t grow up with it.

  49. Pingback: Hello New Friends | rodalena

  50. 1walrus says:

    Great post, Rodalena. Couldn’t agree more.
    Have you checked out one of the true classics, Walt Kelly’s immortal Pogo?

  51. Well written and a much overdue thing to be said. I too miss the comics from days past and I am unfortunately a part of a generation where many do not recall the Sunday Funnies. Bravo, ma’am. Bravo.

  52. I miss the funnies too! Your description of the Sunday comics is spot-on. I know that the problem is what Watterson describe— the amount of space that is allowed…I wish that there were another venue where we could find funny comic strips again, don’t you?

  53. pezcita says:

    My thoughts exactly! Comic strips really started to go downhill about as soon as I could read them, and I have been lamenting their demise ever since. Time for those of us with WordPress accounts and ideas for strips to start an underground comic strip revival movement!

    Please, please come visit my blog. I’d be happy for any feedback you have about my own strip, Digs Burton.

  54. I loved reading the Sunday comics when I was growing up… it was always a fight at the breakfast table to who got to read it first! There has been a demise in print comics just as there has been a demise in traditional print journalism. The medium has been shifting and moving to the internet and other forms of publishing.

    The good thing is that there are plenty of intriguing, interesting, notable webcomics to choose from:
    the list goes on…

    What I lament is the loss of the communal, family based innocence that surrounded the traditional Sunday comic section. It is long gone and may never return. Thanks for allowing me to travel down memory lane with you!

  55. I love this post and Calvin and Hobbes. Thank you for reminding me of them :)

  56. I think many could successfully run their lives on the wisdom of Peanuts, B.C. and Calvin and Hobbes.

  57. AEFster says:

    I agree with you here. I haven’t been thoroughly amused while reading the Sundays since the golden age of Bill Watterson. I have to disagree with you on the Garfield being good part, though. Part of the problem with newspapers is that many strips just won’t retire! Either the artist’s children take it up, or they run re-runs. Either way, it blocks space for new, maybe funnier cartoonists, evidently making there less funny funnies, and also less space to print on. Maybe, the time of the comic strip died with Calvin and Hobbes. But, I believe if strips like Garfield or Blondie, or the Lockhorns graciously stepped down to let new cartoonists blossom, the funnies would just be more so. Nice job! I really like your writing and point of view.

    I am an amateur cartoonist and I have some pretty funny stuff. (I hope.)

  58. Agreed. I love Calvin & Hobbes. And when I think of comics, I always think of Garfield and shudder because I remember when it was clever – and funny – and not just pratfall humor. Which is singularly unfunny and unclever. Sigh!

  59. Girl Friday says:

    So true and so unfortunate!

  60. I was too young to love Calvin and Hobbes as a child, and I feel like I’ve missed so much. That comic was pure genius. This post is amaaaaziiiing.

  61. zachbissett says:

    There’s a great quote from Bill Watterson that I can’t seem to find, but it essentially says the Sunday comic died with Charles Schulz, something along those lines. My four C&H treasury collections are a prized possession.

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  63. blexxxston says:

    Absolutely lovely and so, so true! Calvin & Hobbes died long before I could read yet I adore the collections and agree that they’re infinitely better than the conceited tripe you find nowadays. A quick question – how did you get your post-calendar to show in such a way/format?

  64. Hi Rodalena .. guess what .. I only got named a half name for my name too is Roda. I’m not commenting as I live in India and we don’t read the same papers… although growing up I waited for the papers to read the comic strips and solve the little word puzzles. Guess it did have an impact for I am now a writer.

  65. vydnic says:

    I really liked Calvin & Hobbes, I even have books of them.
    Thanks for reminding me of them. Going to re-read them.

  66. Chris Jordan says:

    I agree… Calvin and Hobbes was the best written comic strip EVER. There’s nothing that even comes close in the papers nowadays…

  67. dlaiden says:

    Reblogged this on a flock of crows and commented:
    I don’t normally like to reblog already massively-popular posts, but I can really connect with this one. I grew up on Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes and reading a modern newspaper, seeing the trash inside which passes as a good comic–it’s painful.

  68. Love, love, love Calvin & Hobbes! I teach 2nd grade, and I have the whole collection in my classroom, and they are the most loved, beat-up books in the room. Hobbes may not be real, but my students certainly find something true in there, or they wouldn’t still be reading them.

  69. jend1229 says:

    Have you noticed children’s tv shows have gone the same way as comics? I think so at least.

  70. susielindau says:

    I just had this conversation with a father of a comic trying to break into the trade. I don’t think they are funny either. The Farside was my all-time favorite, but I grew up with Peanuts.
    I have a book of Calvin and Hobbes and still enjoy looking at all the old comics.
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  71. Congrats on being FP – I’ve actually given up reading current comics – just don’t find them funny anymore

  72. SuperDude526 says:

    Perhaps some comic enthusiasts will roll their eyes at this, but the world of webcomics has become my new Sunday Funnies. Granted I prefer comics of the more engaged, Bone type area over the Foxtrot dailies variety, but in general I would say the creativity has moved to the web, by simple merit of having more room to experiment, even if it is harder to obtain and gauge success.

  73. parusbarbara says:

    I like Sunday comic even I have worked more than 3 years. It is not only kids need these comic to know adults’ world, all adults like us need to keep some pure heart as kids. Great post!

  74. siltsaltsand says:

    Oh, but there’s still a cornucopia of good short comics out there (a comicornucopia?) They’re just not appearing in the Sunday papers. I’ll go ahead and shamelessly promote my own strip, “Combhead Follies” (, which is meant to fill the present void in good comics. And if you think the Sunday comics of ten or twenty years ago were good, look up Little Nemo in Slumberland. Yowza!

  75. yip-pde yep-pdee That’s All Folks!!!

  76. Kaberi Chand says:

    WE may have reached to 2012 but for me,Calvin and Hobbes,Garfield,Peanuts and Dennis are still the symbol of awesome comic strips.Thank you for this post!!!:)Delighted to read about the relevance of truly arty comic strips for kids and adults alike!!

  77. my favourite was Garfield.

  78. Very beautifully put.These old comics are so full of good wit and simple joys..we miss those theses days.

  79. My grandfather used to save the comics section for me every Sunday so that I could read it because my parents didn’t subscribe to a newspaper. I used to love sitting down with a stack of them and reading them through every time he came to visit. And, I agree, Calvin and Hobbes is by far the best. When I was seven or eight, I used to sit in the living room and read my favorites aloud to my family from the book collections we owned.

  80. awkwardyeti says:

    Reblogged this on awkwardyeti and commented:
    What is the fate of the comic strip? I agree that the genius of Bill Watterson is long gone, forgotten and never to be repeated. But were some other strips like Garfield just a matter of familiarity? Maybe it’s the death of the medium that is killing the strip, not the quality of the work.

  81. dgsouthgate says:

    Have you ever noticed how people love to recount their favourite episodes of “Calvin & Hobbs”? This is also true of many others that have been mentioned in your delightful blog. I have always reckoned this “sharing” phenomenon as a sign that a comic WORKS. It’s doing it’s job, giving people laughter and something to talk about, other than weather.

    Good article R. Thanks!


  82. Helen says:

    I used to read the paper, but then they removed peanuts. I now go online to read the comics, or get out some of the books full of them.

  83. H.P. Ward says:

    I learned to read with the Sunday comics. Calvin and Hobbes were (are/forever shall be) my favorite. There are still good comics out there (some can be found on the web rather than in the papers) and maybe we’ll live to see another Foxtrot/C&H/or Garfield quality strip. Thanks for the post, it was nostalgic. :)

  84. True, but you have to admit Bloom County could be political at times. On a side note, Opus was always lamenting the ever-shrinking funny pages. That fact is all to evident these days.

  85. ufoninja says:

    I love Calvin and Hobbes. By far the best comic ever created :) So true that comics nowadays can’t even come close…I haven’t even bothered to read the Sunday comics for years.

  86. Stephanie says:

    I’m glad you mentioned Pearls Before Swine, because I do really enjoy that one. But besides that and Dilbert, I agree that everything else out there is just unfunny. Sad, because it’s a great medium for getting ideas out there when it’s used right.

  87. Very true, I don’t even bother with purchasing a Sunday paper. I remember my Dad buying a paper every day of the week and that is one of the few things that I did read. And you are right it was what first led to my interest in reading a newspaper.

    However, also went out and purchased a few Calvin and Hobbes books for myself, and I think I even have a Farside book kicking around. That way I can skip the stuff in the paper and re-read the goodies.

  88. J. Boudreaux says:

    Thanks for saying what has to be said. I do believe that since newspapers are in trouble, in many cases self inflicted trouble I might add, they are like any other business or government agency, when times get tough they take it out on someone else. In this case it’s the guys and gals that make us laugh seven days a week. Long live PBS (no not Public Broadcasting, Pearls Before Swine you melon heads) and Stephan Pastis! J. Boudreaux

  89. HLC World says:

    true…don’t even remember the last time I felt excited abt reading a comic in the newspaper

  90. Ann Kilter says:

    I miiiiiissssssssss Calvin & Hobbs. I do like Pickles, though.

  91. tomsnare1025 says:

    I was one of those 8 year old kids, that wandered into the world of newspaper because of the comics. I enjoyed sundays with my dad at the breakfast table, pretending to be an adult. It faded away, as you said, but mostly because my dad, being a very Conservative Republican, said the paper has become a “Liberal rag” and ended our subscription. Thus the death of the newspaper.

  92. knittinpeace says:

    First: WHOA! Freshly Pressed. I’m not worthy! *bowing before your greatness* ;-) Congratulations, friend.
    Second: I adored Bloom County. My husband and I still quote Bloom County.

  93. So true and so sad. I loved Calvin and Hobbies and still do. They teach a lot of philosophy.

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