July 2, 2007

The Funny Pages

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)
Gary Larson
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.

Mutts (current)
Patrick McDonnell
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)
Stephan Pastis
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.

Peanuts (retired)
Charles Schultz
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)
Darby Conley
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.

Dilbert (current)
Scott Adams
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)
Bill Waterson
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).


Brian said...

I agree (with whatever you want that to apply to). Ok, more specifically, I probably would have said the same thing about every single comic you listed. Weird. It's like we've been friends for...10 years or something. You know that you can actually start speaking as if you have age or history when you've done anything for 10 years.

I guess comic books are to you what novels are to me: that form of literature/art that we're constantly gorging ourselves on. Maybe I should diversify my diet a little and read some more comics.

Brian said...

I knew that after I wrote "comic books" I had made an egregious error, almost unpardonable by a comic (book) connoisseur. Can you ever forgive me?