Thoughts on the Funnypages: Newspaper Comic Strips

Who doesn’t read ‘em? There are 34 daily "funnies" - the archaic term I grew up with - comic strips in the Austin American Statesman. Newspapers are struggling and have cut back on news coverage, while losing the number of advertising pages. Of course, these have to be related. Yet the comic strip coverage seems to be more robust and zanier all the time. New strips apparently are designed to catch more eyeballs than this seventy-eight-year-old long-time subscriber: younger eyeballs, more diverse eyeballs. I get it. No problem. Times change. I hope print newspapers will survive. I am old fashioned and prefer to read my newspapers and my books in a favorite chair in a quiet room.

The Sunday paper continues to be the superstar in terms of comic strips. It's in color! The current collection of thirty-five (did I miscount one or the other?) in the Sunday papers are favorites of someone or they would not make the cut. To be honest, I do not read the daily strips … too small … no color … just not appealing to me. On some Sundays I look at all of them. Some only to ponder who might be the target audience; others to wonder what they even mean!

Here are my favorites. Some are long time stalwarts, and others adopted a bit more recently ... one very recently.

Prince Valiant. Ah, my long-time favorite. The current little story line is one of the best ever. Val and Gawain are outsmarting some ruffian soldiers of a rival land baron in the outer realms of the Misty Isles. They actually are assisting a warrior from this group, a man they had captured, by cleverly negotiating that they “claim his orphaned family” as a prize for slaying him after they were attacked. To be a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table must be a fantastic gig. You wear the colors and emblem of the soverign and are a trained killer with a very cool hair style and a lovely wife. There is a little catch here. You have to read it for yourself.

Peanuts. 'Nuff said. The best.

Dilbert. More 'nuff said. Stupid is what stupid does. Good for the nerds!

Wumo. I understand this maybe half of the time. Am becoming a big fan!

Doonesbury. Still more 'nuff said. To be Gary Trudeau must be every kid's dream.

Garfield. Don’cha just love clever cats!

Six out of thirty-something. Not too bad. By the way, I try and understand Phoebe and Her Unicorn. I’m either too old, too literal, or too stupid to get this one.

Stay safe everyone!

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Enjoy life; it's the only one we will get.

J.K. (Jim) George


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5 Responses

  1. Pickles!
  2. Jim, I never miss your commentary, and always find it interesting and insightful. My wife Carole read it and agreed. Then she looked at your bio, nodded approvingly, and said, “Why don’t you write your own bio? Maybe Jim George would have suggestions.” So, Jim, here’s my first attempt, though I’m not one hundred certain this is what she had in mind: It was stormy and dark the night Jim Garland was born. The wind howled out of the west, and tree branches flailed like enraged birds against the windows of the small country hospital. “My God,” his father said, when the nurse carried his infant son out to him for the first time. His voice was tinged with apprehension. In the next room, Jim’s mother sobbed softly, her body convulsed with pain. “Do you suppose that baby’s normal?” In college, Jim was an erratic student, easily bored, who spent his time daydreaming or arguing with his teachers. Nevertheless, he is now quite unsympathetic to his students who act the same way he did, seeing them as undisciplined and lazy. Jim’s few remaining friends believe he is well-organized and compulsive, but in truth Jim leads a chaotic life devoid of self-discipline. He loves parties, but prefers sitting around with buddies, drinking margaritas and watching ‘Airplane’ on Netflix, to grown- up dinner parties with napkin rings and assigned dining table seating. This preference was a source of great concern to his ex-wife.
    • JK James George
      Since I know a little about your (incredible) background, I would add that not many of us have served as a distinguished academic and president of a major national public university. Nor have we written as well, as we in the meantime have retired to a lovely location in the southern Rocky Mountains where we design advanced radio transmitters in our free time! I would doubt that Dr. Garland was an erratic student. However he must have chosen well for his wife since the lovely lady actually seems to enjoy this scribe's witing in his dotage! (smiley face) JKG
  3. JK James George
    From Anon-1: When Trump came to the fore in early 2000’s with his idiotic birther crap, I already knew all about THE DONALD from Doonesbury. Trudeau had his number in the early 80s. If more people had paid attention to Gary Trudeau we might have avoided a big 4 year problem.
  4. JK James George
    From Anon-2: I am responding to your blog about comics. I read them every day in our paper and especially enjoy the Sunday colored. We have many that are devoted to us old folks like ”Pickles”. Mallard Fillmore gives us some politics.

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