I love the Sunday comics. Laura got us a subscription to the Dallas Morning News pretty much just for the comics. So here is my personal rundown of comics that have been an inspiration and of those that are continuing to be:
The Far Side (retired)
Using everything from cavemen to aliens Larson invented the single panel comic. He had a great (if weird) sense of humor, usually calling on the ordinary around us and twisting it in just the right way. His drawings were simple, kind of dorky and always surprising in how much story they could tell in a single image. These were my favorite as a child and have inspired both the good (Bizzaro) and the bad (Close to Home) in the current industry.
Absolutely beautiful from an artistic standpoint. Stories are often a bit too cute for me but often they can be very powerful in their simplicity.
Pearls Before Swine (current)
The opposite of Mutts in a lot of ways. Unashamed with its horrible art, but always laugh out loud funny due to its very cynical outlook on life.
I will admit that I didn’t like peanuts growing up but it has definitely grown on me and I can see now why it is so highly regarded. Great characters with a great outlook on life while set in a very real (harsh) world.
Get Fuzzy (current)
This is what Garfield should be (I am assuming that Darby knows who he has ripped off). Bucky and Scatchal are exactly what you would expect from a cat and dog who could talk; often misunderstanding the human take on the world yet fitting in to the current culture remarkably well. Gritty yet clean art.
Consistently one of the funniest comics in the paper all due to the office environment. Adams is a genius (yet must still work in a cubicle somehow).
Calvin and Hobbes (retired)
Cannot begin to describe how influential Waterson has been in my life. Come over to my apartment and you will undoubtedly be bombarded with this comic strip. Beautiful art, wonderful characters, imagination, great philosophy on current culture, Spaceman Spiff, Transmogrifiers, Calvinball, I could go on. This strip will change your life (or it should in my opinion).