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I guess I just like liking things

The Internet has changed comicry forever, but growing up all we had was the newspaper. Whenever the local paper would take a poll to see what was popular and what wasn’t, it was a very stressful time for me. We often lost brilliant strips because the (usually older) votes “didn’t understand it” or “didn’t think it was funny.”  It was at those times when I felt most like people needed to take some sort of test before they could vote.

Weirdly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as strongly about a political vote as I did about those comics votes.

It didn’t matter what comics our paper had, I’d read them all – even Mary Worth.  I don’t really know why I read the “serious” ones, because I never liked any of them, but they were there, so I read them. But the list below is of some of my all-time favorites:


8. Garfield – I haven’t read this regularly in years, but when I was a kid I bought every strip collection I could afford to, and even watched the TV specials. He might be long in the tooth these days, but when he started out, there wasn’t anything quite like Garfield.

7. Calvin & Hobbes – This is the one that is supposed to be #1, I know. And if you’d asked me 20 years ago, it probably would have been in my top three. It hasn’t held up for me, though. I loved it then and have good feelings for it now, but don’t have any interest in re-reading any of them. I know that makes me a horrible person.

6. Dilbert – I still quite enjoy this one, but it’s a different kind of enjoyment these days.  I think now it’s more of an experiential/relatable enjoyment. Maybe “enjoyment” isn’t even the right word anymore. “Recognization”? I do miss Bob the Dinosaur, though.

5. Pearls Before Swine – The newest entry on the list, but so far it’s still great.  The Sunday pun strips are some of my absolute favorite things.

4. Foxtrot – I couldn’t tell you how many times I read and re-read the books at one point.  I’m sad it’s only Sundays now, but I still read it every week. I used Quincy the iguana as my avatar on some sites for a while there, even.

3. Bizarro – Two of my top three are one-panel gag comics. Huh. If you ever get the chance to read through the Bizarro archives, do so. Then read Bizarro Among the Savages, to this day one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. I had the chance to go see/hear the author in Indianapolis several years ago but didn’t end up going (and I don’t know why). I’ve regretted it ever since.

2. Bloom County – I wonder how much I’d like this one again if I tried to re-read it.  It was such a product of its time – in fact, I learned more about current news reading Bloom County than anywhere else for a time. Opus and Bill and Steve Dallas and all the rest… great stuff. I never got into the follow-up comics as much, though.

1. The Far Side – The biggest and the best. A few years back I got the complete anthology from my folks for Christmas, and it’s one of my favorite possessions.  Years before that, a friend of mine used to test me on Far Sides – she’d either give me the caption and I’d have to describe the picture or she’d describe the picture and I’d have to give the caption. I used to be really, really good at that game.  I’ve probably lost most of that by now. Such a loss.

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