The Sunday Funnies

I was brainstorming about a book to write about, and decided to write about something from childhood….but what? Well, one thing I looked forward to every week was reading the comics, or “funnies” in the Sunday newspaper. The daily paper’s comics were black and white but the Sunday paper’s comics were in color, so therefore were better. So, here’s a countdown of my top 10 vintage comic strips. I’ve included the Wikipedia link for each one.

10. The Family Circus

Bill Keane created the cartoon in the 1960s and his son Jeff continues to draw them. I loved the little invisible “not me” kids that always seemed to show up when the kids did something wrong. If I remember correctly, the boy in the comic above is Jeffie.

9. Hagar the Horrible

Hagar the Horrible was written by Dik Browne and has been continued by his son Chris. I liked that he always seemed to have a giant turkey leg in his hand unless he was out pillaging.

Fun Fact: Chris Browne wrote a children’s book about South Dakota!

8. Beetle Bailey

Beetle Bailey was created by Mort Walker, and he worked on the strip until he died at age 94! After Mort Walker’s death, his granddaughter Janie Walker-Yates and her husband Mike Yates began illustrating the strip.

7. Marmaduke

Marmaduke is another cartoon strip that has been kept in the family. Brad Anderson created the strip in 1954 and Paul Anderson took over in 2015.

6. Blondie

I always thought Blondie was more about Dagwood, her husband, and his appetite.

The strip was started in 1930 by Chic Young and has since been taken over by his son Dean Young and other collaborative artists.

Fun Fact: the town I live in has a sandwich shop called Dagwood’s and they live up to the name!

5. Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace was created by Hank Ketcham in 1951. I loved how Dennis’ well meaning (sometimes) antics drove Mr. Wilson crazy. The comic has been continued since Ketcham’s death by his former assistants and his son.

4. Peanuts

Peanuts, or to many kids, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, was created by Charles Schulz in 1950. It ran until 2000 and is now in “reruns” I love Sally!!

  • 3. Garfield
  • Garfield gets one of the top three slots because I adored this cat. He was so awful to Jon and Odie and still, I couldn’t get enough of him. I still have a tub of his books in the basement. Jim Davis started the strip the year I was born, 1978, and has been drawing it for 40 years!
  • 2. The Far Side
  • Gary Larson started drawing his amazingly awkward and fabulous cartoon in 1980. He retired in 1995. I was heart broken. I used to buy my Dad a Far Side dailey calendar every year and he’d bring the pages home for me after he tore them off.
  • 1. Calvin and Hobbes
  • Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes is a big piece of my childhood. I adored how audacious Calvin was. I envied his ability to lose himself in his imagination. I so wanted my own tiger! Watterson stopped drawing the comic in 1995, after only 10 years. He never allowed the comic to be used to make cartoons or movies, instead choosing to leaving it as he meant it, one of the greatest comic strips of all time.
  • I’ve learned a few things from this blog entry. I’m surprised that so many of my old favorites are still around. I don’t read the paper anymore, we don’t even get one at our house. I’m excited to see so many of the original artists have been succeeded by family and/or equally talented artists to keep the strips alive. But I wonder, do kids still read the funnies? My own girls aren’t even interested in the Garfield, The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes books that I saved from childhood. I hope somewhere there are kids enjoying the funnies. Any reading is good reading, so I really, really hope those kids are out there.
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    Shelly Duvall’s video series

    I am so excited because I have found the perfect video series to supplement the Fairytales and Tall Tales I read with the kids! You may remember (if you’re old like me), an early cable tv series called Shelly Duvall’s Faerie Tale Classics.

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    This series was a gem! It’s packed with big-name celebrities and covers all of the basic stories we know and love, plus a few extra.  The episodes include:

    The Frog Princess
    Rumpelstiltskin
    Rapunzel
    The Nightengale
    Sleeping Beauty
    Jack & the Beanstalk
    Little Red Riding Hood
    Hansel and Gretel
    Goldilocks & the Three Bears
    The Princess and the Pea
    Pinocchio
    Thumbelina
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Beauty and the Beast
    The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About the Shivers
    The Three Little Pigs
    The Snow Queen
    The Pied Piper of Hamlin
    Cinderella
    Puss In Boots
    The Emperor’s New Clothes
    Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
    The Princess Who Never Laughed
    Rip Van Winkle
    The Little Mermaid
    The Dancing Princesses

    That’s a huge list! I’m not familiar with all of them, but for $28, I’ll buy the set and use it in class.  There were some spin-off series and I picked up the Tall Tales & Legends as well.

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    This series didn’t come all as a set (the picture from Google did though.) I was able to get all but the last episode. Here’s the list:

    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    Annie Oakley
    Pecos Bill

    Casey at Bat
    Darlin’ Clementine
    Johnny Appleseed
    Ponce de Leon
    John Henry
    Davy Crockett

    I couldn’t find the Davy Crockett episode for a reasonable price, but I was happy to grab all of the others! There was one other spin-off series that I didn’t buy for school, but I’d love to own myself. Nightmare Classics featured some of the greatest short horror stories from literature cast with amazing actors.

    The Turn of the Screw
    Carmilla

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    The Eyes of the Panther

    If I can find them on Youtube, I’m going to watch them, I love the first three stories and I’m dying to learn the story of The Eyes of the Panther.