Alas poor comic strips, I knew them well.

I teach a class on writing and drawing comics at the TORONTO CARTOONISTS WORKSHOP, and the first class of the new semester started yesterday.  As I always do, I asked what comics the new students currently read, and what they grew up reading…to get a sense of the sort of stuff they’re looking to make.   This is the first class in which no one volunteered a comic strip as something they grew up reading.

Not Calvin and Hobbes, not Peanuts, not nothing, baby.

And last week, when I posted the Seven Best Gay Characters in Comics, it was noted that I included comic strips in that list as though that was odd.  So clearly, it is, nowadays.  I’m a relic.

It’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s a new thing, and so I mark it down.

Now, obviously there are still GREAT comic strips still being made.  I read Doonesbury daily, and I head over to when I need a massive comic strip/political cartoon fix, it’s one of my favorite bookmarks.

But there’s a big difference in the influence and penetration of the “newspaper comics” nowadays if you have to go FIND ’em online, instead of just getting them delivered to your breakfast table while your parents read Sports – or finding a Sunday Comics Section on a table at a pizza place, or in any one of the thousands of places that newspaper comics used to be in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer the internet and cures for diseases and stuff.  Future World all good, hoo baby!

But still…

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your comic strip moment of zen.

a star is born

5 responses to “Alas poor comic strips, I knew them well.

  1. I sort of remember newspapers. I think they had something to do with rotary-dial telephones, New Coke, and K-Cars.

  2. There is the root of the problem, though. With so much less prevalence for printed daily newspapers, the comic strips are losing relevance considerably.

    I think they still should be playing what I consider an important part in our society. Alas, though, with our technological changes, their reach and influence is diminishing quickly.


    Steven G. Willis

  3. Well, now I’m curious. If they didn’t mention comic strips, what did they mention? Regular comic books? which sorts?

    Any of them mention webcomics? I guess we’re not at the stage where people grew up reading webcomics quite yet.

  4. Maybe it’s just me, but I still view comic strips and comic books as separate entities. When someone is talking about comics, I automatically assume they mean comic books, unless they indicate otherwise specifically.

    I’m plenty old enough to have read and enjoyed comics growing up, but my dissociation from them isn’t so much due to the decline of the newspaper, but the decline of the quality of the syndicated strips. There simply isn’t a Calvin and Hobbes or Bloom County out there anymore to get excited over. Well, I’m sure there might be, but you’d probably need to find them on the internet. I just can’t get excited about “9 Chickweed Lane” or “Adam@Home” or – god help me – “Marmaduke”.

    Now, if only I could find my flexi-disc insert of “U Stink But I Love U” by Billy and the Boingers. Ahhhh… good times.

  5. @Norm: In my brain, iffen it’s got words and pictures, it’s comix. Whether it’s the Furry Freak Brothers, Little Nemo, Life in Hell, Archie Christian Comics, Iron Man or Ted Rall’s latest editorial cartoon, it’s all versions of the same craft. Your mileage may vary.
    @John: Mostly it was mainstream comics, with a bit of the more obvious indy books (at least as Indy as Oni or Fantagraphics gets). The next day’s class included students who grew up with Asterix and Tintin, as well as my Calvin and Hobbes shout-out, so all was well with the world again.

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