Berke Breathed’s “Bloom County” was the first newspaper comic strip to win me over.
I was probably a little young to get all of the references, but I learned a fair amount about 1980s society, politics and culture from the misadventures of Opus, Bill the Cat and the rest of that strip’s ensemble cast. Pretty sure I owned all the books, including “Billy and the Boingers Bootleg,” which came with a record inside.
I’ve had other favorites over the years, including classic strips like Gary Larson’s single-panel classic “The Far Side” and Bill Watterson’s timeless “Calvin and Hobbes”.
My favorites still in regular production – you can read them in the Daily Chronicle in print and in our online newspaper – are Scott Adams’ “Dilbert”, Darby Conley’s “Get Fuzzy” and Stephan Pastis’ “Pearls Before Swine”. (Pastis is the only cartoonist who routinely works himself into the strip and makes it work.)
Circumstances have necessitated that we make a change to our comics lineup. The award-winning comic stip “Zits”, which already appears in the Daily Chronicle during the week, will now appear in our weekend color comics insert as well.
It will be taking the place of “Soup to Nutz”, whose creator, Rick Stromoski, is ending its run.
Zits is an award-winning strip that has been part of our weekday comics lineup for years, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it with more panels and in full color, as well.
But I’ve also been thinking, if some newspaper editor hadn’t defiantly crushed out his cigarette and decided to drop “Prince Valiant” or “Gasoline Alley” and replace it with “Bloom County”, my favorite childhood comic strip might never have reached me.
We call them the funny pages, and so the measure of a good comic is generally just, “is it funny”? In the case of some of the strips that have been around for decades, maybe the more apt question is, “is it still funny?”
People do develop a strong connection with their favorite strips. There also are a couple of newer strips out there I think could bring some new perspectives and attractive artwork to our pages.
I’d love to hear from comic strip fans – is there room for a new voice or two in our lineup? Of the comics we run now, which would you drop? Which ones should we absolutely keep?
Let me know by emailing us at email@example.com with "comics" in the subject line. Or you can give me a call. My number is at the bottom of this column.
See you in the funny pages.
• Eric Olson is the Daily Chronicle’s general manager. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.