I was doing some spring cleaning in the attic the other day and quickly but happily got distracted by my old collection of comic strips/comic books. As I had had so much fun with my last Throwback Thursday post on computer games, I thought I’d take the opportunity to bring out some of my old favorites in the world of comics. So let’s tell Sherman to set the Wayback Machine and see what we find in this land of humor and adventure.
1. Cerebus – Aardvark-Vanaheim
Starting off with one of my all-time favorite titles, Cerebus. Created by Dave Sim, Cerebus is an aardvark, intially stylized as an adventuring barbarian, but who character eventually develops in numerous directions, including prime minister and pope. The humor was satisfyingly pithy and the characters were delicious satires of highly recognizable figures such as Groucho Marx, Woody Allen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and there is even a character that speaks like Foghorn Leghorn.
2. The Far Side – Universal Press Syndicate
Gary Larson was the indisputable king of the single panel cartoon. So many classics!
3. Groo the Wanderer– various publishers
Groo was a parody armed with a pair of katanas, the Maxwell Smart of the barbarian set. His adventures are filled with bumbling hijinks and hilarity born of misinterpretations and outright stupidity. But, at the end of the day, “Groo does what Groo does best,” namely hack-and-slash.
4. Bloom County – Washington Post Writers Group
Berkeley Breathed encapsulated the 80’s culturally and politically in his strip set in a small town with a cast of eccentric characters starring the beloved penguin Opus. I miss them all, even that jerk face Steve Dallas.
5. Uncle Scrooge – various publishers
The original fat cat banker, except he was a duck, who took daily swims in his money vault that was constantly under siege by those notorious thieves, the Beagle Boys. The original stories and artwork by Carl Barks are legendary within the comic book hall of fame.
6. Watchmen– DC Comics
Back in the day, waiting for the next issue of this 12-issue miniseries was a bit like waiting for the next Harry Potter novel for comic book fans. A creation of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins, Watchmen is still considered by many to have been the greatest comic series and graphic novel of all time.
7. Doonesbury– Universal Press Syndicate
Gary Trudeau has been writing this strip since 1970, always keeping the politics current and moving his large cast of characters seamlessly through their lives. Yes, the politics in Doonesbury are a bit liberal, but even if that’s not your particular slant, anyone who can make you laugh about something as ugly as the Vietnam War can’t be all bad, eh?
8. Betty and Veronica – Archie Comics
Confession time here – I’ve always had a soft spot for Betty and Veronica and their fickle paramour, Archie Andrews and have more back issues comics and comic digests of their exploits than any other titles combined. I refuse, however, to say which one should have ended up with Archie in the end. Some things are just better left unresolved in the annals of history and this is one of them.
9. MAD – DC comics
Al Jaffe, Don Martin, Mort Drucker, Frank Jacobs, Dave Berg, Sergio Aragonés: MAD magazine was just chock-a-block full of talent, screechingly funny current movie satires, and fantastic regular features. Who could forget the fold-ins and Spy vs. Spy?
10. Calvin and Hobbes – Universal Press Syndicate
And last, but by no means least, Bill Watterson’s personification of childhood wonder, imagination, and how frickin’ annoying the little buggers can be from time to time for us parents. : )