Saturday, April 19, 2008

For the Love of Comics

by Beth Andrews
My husband doesn't read the comics page of our newspaper. Weird, I know, but I love him anyway.

I've been a comic fan since way back. As a child, I'd read the comics each and every day and anxiously looked forward to Sunday when each comic strip wasn't only just twice as long, but they had more of them. And they were in color! You'd find me on the floor with the comics spread out in front of me as I happily read about Spiderman's adventures or following the maze like footsteps of one of the kids in Family Circus or wondering what the heck all those *&^%$%meant as Sarge pummeled poor Beetle Bailey.

I've loved many a comic strip series in my day; Hi and Lois, BC, Blondie but my absolute favorites were (and still are) Peanuts (Snoopy! Charlie Brown! Linus and Rerun! I adore them all *g*) Calvin and Hobbes (was this one of the greatest strips ever, or what? I adored Calvin, the little boy with the HUGE imagination and his dry-witted stuffed tiger who only came to life for Calvin. And his long-suffering parents were a hoot *ggg*) and Speedbump (so funny!)

But my absolute favorite comic strip of all time was and always will be: Garfield. Which is weird since I:

a. Don't own a cat, have never owned and never will own cat

b. Am terribly allergic to cats (which is the reason for the above 'a')

But I love Garfield. I still have at least a dozen Garfield books that I bought with my babysitting and chore money as a kid, and in highschool I had a stuffed Garfield, his stuffed teddy and various figurines. When I graduated, I received more than my fair share of Garfield cards and even a stuffed Garfield complete with cap and gown :-)

Sadly, I outgrew my need to collect Garfield memorabilia, but I hope I never outgrow my love for that fat, orange cat.

He's sarcastic, confident, has no body issues what-so-ever (no matter what the scale says) loves lasagna, coffee and Jon and Odie (although it's sometimes hard to tell) and hates Mondays.

What's not to love? ;-)

How about you? Do you read the comics or flip right past? Do you have a favorite comic strip?

And, last but not least, I have goodies to give away! I have a signed copy of Tawny's Does She Dare and some yummy chocolate covered sunflower seeds! Be the first to answer the following questions correctly right here on the blog and you'll win! That's it. Sounds easy, doesn't it? *g* Okay, the questions are:

1. What is the name of Garfield's stuffed teddy bear?

2. Garfield had a girlfriend at one point (though I haven't seen her lately). What was/is her name?

3. Jon's best friend used to show up in the strip regularly (again, not lately though) What was/is this best friend's name?

4. What is the cute little kitten's name who used to torment Garfield (where are all these characters??)

That's it! Good luck :-)


flchen1 said...


I DO love comics, at least certain ones (which have changed over the years). I'm meh on Garfield--used to really enjoy it, but maybe it's a bit much now?. But love Calvin and Hobbes. Still enjoy Peanuts. And love Baby Blues and For Better or Worse. I guess the family situations click with me, and I can always use the laughs :)

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Fedora, you've done it again! Congrats!

Beth, great post. I'm a huge Calvin&Hobbes fan. We have the full set of books--such a pity the comic ended. I particularly love the one where they're looking at old photos and Calvin's father tries to convince him the *world* was black and white back in the day, not just the photographs.

One of my nicknames is Derkins (as in Calvin's nemesis, Suzy Derkins) but I'm not going to tell you why:)

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR flchen

Loved the post Beth when I was a kid we always got the Sunday papers and the comics section was a pull out section and I always read them did the puzzles etc.
The ones I remember most are Blondie Ginger Megs and Fred Bassett (a great dog)
But my love of reading books took over and I only read them sometimes.
I can't answer the questions I have never read a Garfield comic although my kids used to watch him on TV and I do appreciate his humour.

Have Fun

Minna said...

1. What is the name of Garfield's stuffed teddy bear? Pooky and Nalle in Finnish

2. Garfield had a girlfriend at one point (though I haven't seen her lately). What was/is her name? Arlene

3. Jon's best friend used to show up in the strip regularly (again, not lately though) What was/is this best friend's name? Lyman

4. What is the cute little kitten's name who used to torment Garfield? Nermal

Minna said...

I used to love Garfield. I still like the comic, but these days I read more Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts. And Marmaduke, Beetle Bailey... I read Disney comics, too. I practically learned to read from Donald Duck comics. But there's this other comic by Jim Davis I like, Orson's Farm. And I also like the Finnish comics Viivi and Wagner, Väinämöinen's return and B. Virtanen.

Gillian Layne said...

flchen, congrats! I start everyday with For Better or Worse. My girls check it too. Those people are like family members to me. :)

I think we have every Calvin and Hobbes book too. Still love to read them. And my husband is a HUGE fan of the Far Side (part of that unique hospital humor mentality...)

I didn't know your answers, but I do love Garfield! :)

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, congrats on nabbing the chook! Oh, and thank you for saying I don't look old enough to have a 22-yr-old. I don't feel old enough, but we all know that is no gauge at all! *g*

Beth, I adore the comics! My husband is a non-comic-reader, too. (Please see yesterday's blog post for more insight as to why THAT might be! *g*) My favorites of all time: Calvin & Hobbes (most intelligent and hilarious comic strip EVER!) and Dilbert.

As an engineer, Dilbert is so painfully close to home at times it almost isn't funny - almost. It's sad that the office humor applies to most every office job, though. That pointy-haired boss is everywhere!

Minna, congrats on nailing the Garfield questions! I loved Nermal. My favorite Garfield episode on TV was a bit where he appeared on a show that was something like "You Heard It On TV, So It Must Be True". He was convincing everyone there was no such place as Wyoming. "Do you know anyone from Wyoming? Have you met anyone from Wyoming? That's because it doesn't exist! And you heard it on TV, so it must be true!" *g*

I think some people took that seriously and it allows them to watch Fox News even today!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning, Beth! What a great post for Sunday?

I used to love Judge Parker and Mark Trail. Lived to read those on Sunday. Family Circle was always great, but I have to agree that Peanuts was by far my favorite when I was a kid. When I was a teen I fell in love with the sarcasm of Calvin!! And OMG the snow men ones are still so great. (snow sharks?)

My dad is a big Marmaduke fan. The man doesn't laugh often, but he'd get so tickled at that big great dane's antics, it was fun to enjoy his enjoyment of that comic.

Terry Odell said...

I have to confess a fondness for Calvin & Hobbes, which might have been influenced by my son's love of the strip. One Halloween, he carved Hobbes' face into his pumpkin. I had no idea what he was doing, since it was obviously NOT a traditional jack-o-lantern, but once the candle was lit, it was clear. And so cool to hear the trick or treaters say, "Look, Mommy! Hobbes."

I read all the comics our paper has (not all that many) and like Sally Forth and For Better or for Worse. Some days ALL I read in the paper is the comics.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I always liked to read Kathy, as you say Caren offices are the same all over the world. Plus her female issues generally hit the mark for me as well.
I had almost all of Garfield's answers except for the girlfriend, I could see (Caren a visual from reading) her in my mind's eye but couldn't pull her name from my memory.

Beth said...

Congrats on the GR, flchen! I agree about Garfield - my feelings for him are definitely a hold over from my teen years *g* I like For Better or Worse too but haven't heard of Baby Blues - sounds right up my alley :-)

Christine, you are a tease not to give us the full story :-) In my opinion, Calvin and Hobbes is the best strip ever (well, Peanuts could give it a run for its money *g*). I was heartbroken when C&H ended.

Helen, I loved reading books too. Actually, I was one of those kids who'd read anything. Books. Comics. Cereal boxes *g* I couldn't just sit there and eat my breakfast - too boring :-)

jo robertson said...

Clever, funny post, Beth! I'm not much of a comics fan (or Garfield -- sorry), but I have followed Doonesbury for quite a while, and it's my all-time fave.

Obviously, I love the snarkiness of it, the flat-out irony bordering on sarcasm, and the timely issues it addresses. I always made overhead transparencies of the comics and used them to introduce many of my literature units when I was teaching.

Wahoo, Fedora, you must have some BIG attraction for the GR since he keeps returning to you again and again. Hmmmm.

Beth said...

Yay, Minna! Congratulations - you won *g* Please email me at: with your snail mail information and I'll get your prize out to you! Thanks for playing :-)

Gillian, I couldn't remember The Far Side (my memory's not what it used to be *g*) What a great strip!

Caren, I too love the humor of Dilbert. Even though I've never worked in an office, I can still empathize with the characters. Actually, it reminds me a bit of one of my favorite TV shows, The Office :-)

jo robertson said...

Oh, forgot to mention -- one of Dr. Big's favorite comic strips was Family Circus. I attended a conference once where the comic writer -- sorry forget his name -- created special comics for a signing and I got an "original" signed comic addressed to Boyd.

I stood in a long line to get that baby, even though I wasn't particularly fond of Family Circus.

Ah, such love for the spouse, eh? It's framed and hiding in some dusty corner now.

Beth said...

Suz, I think I have a Marmaduke book in the basement - will have to dig it out *g* To me, the great thing about classic strips like Peanuts and Blondie is how they managed to grow and change and still be relevant while remaining true to their original vision :-)

Just my own comic strip theory *ggg*

Terry, the pumpkin sounds adorable! How clever of your son *g* Our paper doesn't have many strips either but I read them all -even the ones I'm not crazy about :-)

Kirsten said...

Hi Beth! I can't say I've ever been a comic reader, but my son loves Calvin and Hobbs, and it definitely always puts a smile on my face. And who didn't love the Far Side? It made me laugh out loud.

Congratulations Fedora! Enjoy reading those Sunday funnies with the GR at your feet! :-)

Beth said...

Dianna, we don't get Kathy in our local paper but I'd catch the strip sometimes if I picked up a Sunday edition of a Big City paper *g* She's so easy to relate to!

Jo, I have a few Family Circus books as well. I always enjoyed that strip - even as a kid, though I think it's geared more for adults *g* And I believe the creator is Bil Keane.

You're a wonderful wife to get that framed print for your hubby!

flchen1 said...

Great job with the answers, Minna!

Gillian, thanks for reminding me of The Far Side--another excellent comic :)

And Caren, so true that how we feel is sometimes such a disconnect with our present reality! And Dilbert is quite spot on often! I've been reading Scott Adams's Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!: Cartoonist Ignores Helpful Advice. It's basically a collection of his random thoughts on all kinds of topics, and it's perfect for reading in little snippets ;) It's pretty entertaining, and occasionally pretty thought-provoking.

Beth, Baby Blues is hilarious to me, in no small part because we've got little kids now. Here's their site:

And Christine, do tell, Derkins! ;)

doglady said...

Congrats, Fedora! He really is in love with you! What a great post, Beth. I LOVE Garfield. I have an electric cup warmer in the shape of a donut that came with a matching Garfield mug. My Mom got it for me a few Christmases ago and it is great. No more cold tea as I sit writing. Been out of commission a few days with a stomach virus I would not wish on Osama bin Laden. (Well, maybe him, but nobody else!) I missed you all!

I love Calvin and Hobbes and I think I have all of the books, thanks in the most part to my dear late DH. He bought one for me on every occasion. I bought him The Far Side so I have a complete collection of both. One of my favorite t-shirts has an orchestra of banjo players and the devil is introducing a classical conductor to them saying "Welcome to hell, Maestro."

I also have a lot of Marmaduke memorabilia and books. Much of it was given to me during my late Great Dane's illness and after her passing. It always makes me smile as she was very much like Marmaduke!

My Dad was a huge Andy Capp fan and I have his collection of Andy Capp books - most bought in England.

Terry Odell said...

I found a picture of the Hobbes pumpkin but don't think I can post it here. I put it on my own blog

Stop by and let me know what you think. My son was 12 at the time he carved this.

Tawny said...

Awww, I love comics :-) I was never a big garfield fan, unfortunately, so I have NO clue to those questions. Nice prize, though! LOL

I used to read the paper JUST for the comics. Then we cut back our daily subscription and I lost the habit. We've got most of the Calvin & Hobbes books, both my girls love them. And now I want to know why Christine's nickname is Denkins!!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Okay, I have a question? How many here faithfully read and collected Love is........?????
I loved those little one frame comics.

Minna said...

I have read and collected Love is comics! I just love them! Of course, they are in the Internet now, too...

Minna said...

And I have a question, too. Has any of you read Disney comics? Any fans of Carl Barks and Don Rosa?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great post, Beth!
And Terry, thanx for sharing the pic of the pumpkin, your son did an AWESOME JOB! Is he into other kinds of art besides pumpkin carving?

My son was and still is a HUGE (in every sense -- LOL!) Garfield fan. My baby brother and I always LOVED Peanuts. We had the whole script of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" memorized and used to recite it along with the program every year.

When I was working in State service, we all LOVED Dilbert! I even called myself "the pointy-haired boss" when I became a manager, and my staff used to give me little Dilbert items like pens and note cards. I also loved Cathy, but our local paper stopped carrying it except on Sunday. :-( Sally Forth is another fave of mine. One that also is only carried on Sunday here and is a fave of mine is B.C. Anyone else get a kick out of the cavemen?

who is probably about as OLD as the characters in BC, hence its appeal.

Terry Odell said...

AC - he's primarily into photography now. Being a new dad, he's got a captive subject.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Beth, great post! Comics actually weren't encouraged in my house - real books were (and was my dad sorry about that when I turned into such a book nut, I wanted to be a writer and not something useful!). But I must admit I'm a Far Side lover from way back. Bummer of a birthmark, Hal!

Fedora, congrats on the chook. Pam!!! You poor thing! Hope you feel better soon!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually Hagar the Horrible was always an institution in our house as I grew up, now I think about it. My mum was a Dane so the whole valkyrie in the household thing caused great merriment. ;-)

Beth said...

Kirsten, I think even my husband read The Far Side. Maybe because in our paper it wasn't with the other comics *g* Calvin and Hobbes is perfect for little boys, don't you think?

flchen, thank you so much for the link! What a hilarious comic - and honestly, my kids are older but I still remember all those times. Especially taking them out to eat *g*

doglady, I'm so sorry you've been sick. I hope you're feeling better! I have to admit, Andy Capp is the only comic I don't read. But I do like his cheddar fries *g*

Your T-shirt had me LOL! And I love the Garfield donut cup warmer!

Beth said...

Terry, that is such a cool pumpkin! Thanks for sharing *g*

LOL, Tawny. The prizes are pretty cool, aren't they? *g*

Dianna, I remember the Love Is...comics but didn't collect them. They were so sweet!

AC, I got a kick out of BC too *g*

Hagar's in our daily paper, Anna, so I do read him. Lucky Eddie is so funny :-)

Helen said...

I loved the Love Is cartoons when I was a teenager my Mum had a T shirt done for me with Love is holding hands painted on it and I still have it.

Have Fun

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Helen I bet that t-shirt is really cute, I always loved those little cartoons.
Beth, did you ever have any of the little Love Is... books? I had a couple of those but over the years they were lost.

Anna Sugden said...

I looove comics ... my faves are Cathy, The Far Side, Dilbert, Fred Bassett, Snoopy and the one with the penguin in it.

My lovely hubby is big into graphic novels - particularly the underground stuff like Art Spiegelman's Raw and Maus, Tezuka's historicals like Buddha and Adolf etc and the crime novels like Road to Perdition.

I used to absolutely love Asterix! And don't forget all the teen romance comics.

limecello said...

Hi Beth,
Whoops - I checked this post too late - congratulations, Minna! I used to read comics daily, but haven't for a while. I still like them, though. I really the comics you mentioned too - and for some reason, family circus. And cartoons - the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - eeyore is one of my favorites. Another one I like is Baby Blues.

Beth said...

Dianna, I never had an Love Is...books. I remember the comic being in our local paper and really liking them. Must look for some next time I'm on Amazon (which seems to be all the time *g*)

Anna, I don't believe I've ever read a graphic novel. I think my son got one for Christmas - I'll have to borrow it *g*

limecello, I too loved Family Circus - way before I had a circus...uh...I mean family of my own ;-)

I've always liked cartoons too *g* And my middle daughter adored Winnie the Pooh! We watched it many, MANY times :-)

Keira Soleore said...

Beth, my husband only reads the comics pages, and I never read them, so I understand husband very well. :)

Never read any of Garfield (see above), so I'm going to stay away from the questions.

The only comics that I have religiously followed are the British English version (and some French) of Atérix and Obélix.

Fedora, good catch!

Keira Soleore said...

Oops, forgot about Hagar the Horrible, Flash Gordon, and The Phantom.

Keira Soleore said...

Hey, V.Anna. I knew there'd be another Asterix fan here. w00t!

Anna Sugden said...

Sisters under the skin, Keira love!