Tag Archives: Garfield

The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 19

Because we’ve shamefully, woefully neglected our look at what’s funny in the funny pages for too long. So here goes!

“Classic Peanuts” finds Lucy railing at Charlie Brown and telling him to put up his dukes and fight. Chuck raises one hand and hits Lucy in the nose. He feels so guilty he goes to his psychiatrist – Lucy, of course – and when she punches him, he happily announces, “I don’t feel guilty any more. Psychiatry has cured me!” There are so many levels to this comic – criticism of psychiatry, the male/female dynamic, etc – but I think my favorite element is the simple little “BOP!” when Charlie Brown’s fist comes into contact with Lucy’s nose. That and the little stars that shoot out.

“Baby Blues” made me laugh. One of the kids reports to mom that Wren, the baby, is crying. The mom asks if she seems hungry or needs a diaper change or other issues. When those are discounted, mom asks the kid to go to the baby and “give her some encouraging words.” Those words? “Man up, Wren.”

“Garfield” offers proof the strip isn’t reprinting old strips like “Classic Peanuts.” Garfield and Odie are sitting at a table, taking turns buzzing and vibrating. “Stop texting each other,” Jon orders.

Finally, in “The Family Circus,” the kids are watching TV and mom is putting food on the table. “Yeah, okay, Mommy. We’ll be there as soon as we finish watching this commercial.” And the joke is?





The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 17

Here’s our regular look at what’s funny in today’s newspaper comics pages. Because nobody wants to hear Charlie Brown scream “AAUGH!” again.

“Classic Peanuts” has one for anyone old enough to remember the kind of skates you strapped onto the bottom of your street shoes. Sally Brown straps them on and then watches as Linus, Snoopy and others whiz by on skateboards. “I feel old-fashioned!” Sally says. I think mild chagrin music would be appropriate here.

Wait, it’s Father’s Day! “Zits” starts things off with the teen son emphasizing that he bought a present for his dad with his own money. “It’s not the gift, it’s the context that counts,” he says.

Ants Go Marching One By One in “Garfield,” and they’re all carrying birthday candles. Garfield thinks he’s hallucinating. Good stuff.

From the “tell me about it” department: In “The Wizard of Id,” a serf kid tells his teacher that his dad helped with his homework. The kid goes home and tells Dad that the teacher said he should be in a remedial class.

Funny “Curtis.” Curtis brings his dad a pizza for Father’s Day and slowly works his way up to asking, “Dad, is mom the only woman you’ve ever loved?” “Think I’ll finish my slice in my bedroom,” Dad says from outside the final panel. It’s the slow build that makes this work.

In “Blondie,” the family gives Dagwood a black velvet painting of Giada DeLaurentiis, Emeril Lagasse and other chefs playing poker. Brought to you by Food Network.

“Beetle Bailey’s” life flashes before his eyes, and this time it’s not because Sarge is beating him to a bloody pulp. I always appreciate the “Beetle” strips that show Beetle in that cool cat college hat he used to wear.

Okay, “Dennis the Menace” made me laugh. Dad tells Dennis that the best Father’s Day present he can give is for Dennis to obey his mother, keep his room clean, mind his manners and stay out of Mr. Wilson’s hair. “Sorry Dad, you’re too late,” Dennis says. “I already got you a tie.”

You just know we couldn’t wrap up Father’s Day without a visit to “The Family Circus.” The kids and pets give Dad ties and other traditional gifts and ask which he liked best. Dad pictures hugging all the kids. But what about the pets, Barfy and Sam and Kittycat? WHAT ABOUT THEM?


The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 10

In which we look at today’s comics page offerings. Because we can depend on “Batman” for all our laughs anymore.

“Classic Peanuts” shows Charlie Brown’s frustrations when his all-girl outfield leaves during a game to attend a tea party. Snoopy comes to the rescue with a bunch of blue birds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Snoopy with any birds besides Woodstock before. I’m a little concerned about their relationship.

“Baby Blues” shows the harried mom picking up toys. Ooops, she put the baby in the toy box. The expression on her face in the last panel perfectly captures parental guilt and the feeling of “Did anybody notice that?”

“Garfield.” Two words. Projectile spitting.

“Blondie:” Dagwood uses Earth Day as an excuse not to mow the lawn. What’s the final panel? If you guessed Dagwood on the couch … you’re read “Blondie” before.

“Curtis” has an idea for a different kind of zombie movie. Instead of attacking people and eating brains, the zombie is an annoying houseguest: He leaves the refrigerator open, accidentally deletes his host’s iTunes playlist and … leaves a toe in the breakfast cereal? I can’t count the number of times that’s happened.

Another Earth Day message from “The Family Circus.” The family stands on top of a hill, looking out over a landscape. “God does a lot of coloring in the spring, doesn’t he?” Dolly says. Awww!



The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 7

It’s time for our weekly look at what’s funny — or not — in the Sunday funnies. Because surely there’s a modern-day successor to “Pogo?”

“Classic Peanuts” offers a take on Charlie Brown’s love/hate relationship with baseball. Charlie Brown’s on the pitcher’s mound and it’s raining. Lucy asks if he’s going to call the game. He tells her to get back out into centerfield. A pop fly ball is hit and … bounces off Lucy’s umbrella. That Lucy!

“Garfield” looks at a common problem for bloggers. Jon worries that no one is reading his blog. He theorizes that cute pictures of Garfield would generate clicks. But Garfield won’t cooperate. The last panel shows an extreme close-up of a mouth. Jon’s I think. With the entry, “Today I ate a smartphone.” Am I missing something?

“Wizard of Id” gives us our first April Fool’s joke of the day. The king is delighted to hear the soldier in the turret announce, “The king’s popularity is higher than ever.” But everyone else is laughing — until the king has them put in chains for playing an April Fool’s joke on him.

“Marmaduke” barks in response to the tweeting birds … and they all fly away. Are we sure that the creator of “Marmaduke” has ever seen a dog?

“Dilbert” features Catbert offering the pointy-haired boss advice on leadership. After Catbert tells him he’s being too panicky in his warnings, the boss says, “We’re doomed, and yet, I am not the least bit worried.” Catbert frowns. “That one had a creepy vibe.” And that’s not even the punchline. Pretty funny.

In “Beetle Bailey,” the men of Camp Swampy are complaining about Cookie’s meatballs. Sarge advices him to make something they would like to tear apart with their teeth. Cookie makes … cookies that look like Sarge and the men are eating them up. I’m confused. Is “Don’t ask, don’t tell” over or not?

“Foxtrot” offers “Game of Thrones” as it might be filtered through a “My Little Pony” sensibility for an April Fools Day joke. And, you know, it works.

In “Hi and Lois,” Lois cleans up the house all day and then wonders aloud if mother birds ever look forward to an empty nest. I sense a very tragic Lifetime movie in the offing.

An April Fool’s joke backfires for “Dennis the Menace.” He’s trying to be funny, but he convinces Margaret that she’s gorgeous and that he wants to hear her practice piano. I sense a very tragic Lifetime movie in the offing here too.

Okay, now we’re getting into the spirit of this special day as well as the spirit of horribly embittered and disappointed mothers. In “Family Circus,” all the kids thank their mom for vegetables, come home with perfect report cards and thank mom for taking them clothes shopping. “April Fool!” those devilish Keanes announce. Tragic. Lifetime. Offing.

And finally in “Non Sequitur,” an alien and a little boy tell a little girl they’re calculating when an asteroid will strike earth. She realizes it’s April Fools Day. Whew. After she leaves, they go back to calculating the date of impact. Wow, thanks, Wiley, for spoiling the spirit of April Fools Day! (And thanks for the plot of a SyFy Channel movie.)

If you’re scoring at home, that’s five April Fools Day jokes and three potentially tragic tales of parenthood gone off the rails.

The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 5

It’s Sunday and that means (at least lately it does) a look at what’s in the comics pages. ‘Cause there’s still something good even though “Calvin and Hobbes” and “The Far Side” are long gone. Right?

“Classic Peanuts” jumps into March Madness with the kids playing basketball. Unfortunately, the hoop is on Snoopy’s dog house and baskets wake him up. Not one of Charlie Schulz’ best.

“Garfield” sits by with a cup of coffee while Jon cleans out his wallet, then advises his person, “Time for a man purse, pack rat.” Is this thing on?

“Wizard of Id” has the wizard walking past various ogres and giant spiders and rats, unperturbed, only to squeek when he seeks his wife with her hair in rollers and green stuff on her face. Hello? Hello? (Cricket noise.)

“Speed Bump” is a play on old “Frankenstein” movies with the mad doctor and Igor choosing a brain for the monster. The jars are labeled “Normal Brain,” “Abnormal Brain” and “Brain With Song Stuck In It.” “No, Igor! That would just be cruel,” the doctor says. Pretty good.

“Blondie” tries out a new hairstyle and Dagwood reacts with shock. Frankly, so did I. Doesn’t this look like Donald Trump’s hairdo?


“Dennis the Menace” discovers, about 15 years late, that truism about how kids are better with computers than adults. Next they’re going to show Dennis signing up for an AOL account.

Finally, “Ziggy” just confuses me. Ziggy’s bird is hanging upside down on his perch with comic strip “confusion” circles around his head. Ziggy asks his dog and cat, “Did you put butter on his perch again?”

Is butter why the bird is hanging upside down? Wouldn’t he just fall off, completely unable to hang on at all, if the perch were slippery? Why does he look like he’s taken a blow to the head?

Maybe Dennis the Menace could explain it to me.

The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 4

Here’s our latest look at what’s funny in the funny pages. There’s something fun in the post-“Calvin and Hobbes” era, right?

This week: The return of Ida Know and Not Me!

“Classic Peanuts.” Okay, spring is definitely here. The estate of the late, great Charles M. Schulz gives us the first (?) Charlie Brown vs. kite strip of the year.

But oy vey, this is a lame one. Good ol’ Charlie Brown talks to the tree that’s eaten his kite for, let’s see, six panels, ultimately giving up and acknowledging, “You can’t argue with a kite-eating tree.”

Moving on …

“Zits.” Okay, good stuff here. “Ridiculous stuff moms say” includes “Wear a coat” and “Does anybody want some kale?” As Homer Simpson would say, “It’s funny because it’s true.”

“Garfield.” Jon talks to Liz on the phone, fretting about what movie they’ll watch because he doesn’t want a weepy chick flick. He’s happy she’s picked a monster movie! But she’s chosen “When Godzilla Met Sally.” Ladies and gentlemen, my nominee for funniest newspaper strip of 1989.

“Dilbert.” The pointy-haired boss spouts techno-gibberish like “Do we have enough room in the cloud to Skype?” and Dilbert explains that he “slips in and out of understanding basic technology.”

Dilbert reassures him, “We have plenty of space because we upgraded to a cumulonimbus cloud.” Good stuff.

“Foxtrot.” One of the kids gets ideas for “John Carter” sequels once they run out of Mars stories, including “John Carter of Tattooine.” Extra geeky!

“Blondie.” Dagwood and Blondie continue their master class on household budgeting and economics. Dagwood buys Blondie an expensive necklace at the jewelry store.

“Did you see anything new at the golf shop today?” Blondie asks. “You won’t believe the amazing golf bags they just got in,” Dagwood replies. ‘Cause it’s okay to spend as much money as you can when everybody shares the loot.

“Curtis.” Curtis gets good grades so his dad takes him to buy a reward, “something called an iPad,” Dad says. They return later, sans iPad, at odds over spending money. Counting this and the “Blondie” strip, I think this week’s theme is household spending.

Finally — and I am so excited about this, “Family Circus.” Mom has the kids — have they always had four? — lined up for interrogation.

There’s a broken dish in her hand and a disappointed look on her face.

“I think I know the answer but I’ll ask you anyway,” Mom says. “Which of you broke my good plate?”

Wait, the Keenes have only one good plate? Times must be tough in the newspaper comic strip industry. But I digress.

Joining the line-up of kids being grilled: The see-thru forms of Ida Know, Not Me and Nobody.

Nobody in particular is unfamiliar to me and has me a little worried. He’s got a moustache, for Pete’s sake. How old is this imaginary blame-taker? What’s he doing hanging around with a bunch of school-agers?



The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 3

I’m way overdue for a look at the funny pages in this, an irregularly recurring look at newspaper comics.

The premise: The glory days of the newspaper comic ended with “Calvin and Hobbes” and “The Far Side,” but there’s still some good stuff out there. And if not good stuff, at least familiar. And you know the old saying: Familiarity breeds content. That was the old saying, wasn’t it?

In today’s Sunday strips:

“Garfield” talks about the weather. Seriously, this strip sums up my feelings about the transition from winter to spring. Standing outside, Garfield experiences sun, snow, rain, hail and wind. “I’m done with March,” he tells Jon.

Weather is the theme of the day. In “Classic Peanuts,” Linus grumbles about having to walk to school in the rain, worrying that he’ll catch  a cold. When he finally sneezes, he takes it as a sign to head for home. One more weather strip in my Sunday paper and I’ll take it as a sign the cartoonists collaborated like they do for those fabulous annual Arbor Day tributes.

“Pickles” actually has a pretty good joke that cat owners can relate to. Two people dispute the possibility that cats really care about people, noting that a neighbor with gourmet cat food could lure the cat away. “Muffin would never do that to me,” the lady says. “Would you Muffy?” The cat thinks — because cats don’t talk — “I’m doing it now. I actually belong to the lady down the street.” No weather.

In “The Wizard of Id,” campaign leaflets are tossed from a balloon and rain down on people below. Does that count as weather?

“Dilbert” features a robot with attitude that calls for a robot apocalypse. Does the end of the world count as weather? I’m sure the Weather Channel would claim it.

In “Hi and Lois,” one of the kids is sick and hopes he misses school. Hmmm. Counting “Peanuts,” maybe the real trend for today is childhood illness.

Meanwhile, Dagwood considers taking a nap at work.

In “Dennis the Menace,” Dennis and Joey try to hit Margaret with a snowball. I think that counts as weather.

In “The Family Circus,” Dad takes a nap and one of the kids gives him a teddy bear. Awwww …. and dammit. Now I think naps are the trend of the day.

“Non Sequitur” has the little goth kid complaining that it’s snowing when it should be spring. I think that settles the matter:

Weather: 6 (right? right?)

Kids too sick to go to school: 2

Grown men taking naps: 2.