Alongside Calvin & Hobbes, this is one of the first comics I eve really read regularly I think. I spent my formative years as a kid living overseas and my parents would get the International Herald Tribune, which ran American newspaper strips. I didn’t even really get a lot of the jokes at the time, it’s a very politically-aware comic and at 10 or 11, I obviously wasn’t all that in-tune with the Bush legacy or the Clinton administration or the US in Eastern Europe, so I really don’t know why I thought it was funny. I think I was mostly just a Zonker and Uncle Duke fan.
I found this collection, which combines choice selections from 1970 to 1974, including some super-early strips introducing BD and Michael Doonesbury for the first time among others, at my house. One of the things that I’ve loved about Doonesbury ever since I was aware enough to actually get the jokes was that while it’s not necessarily rolling-on-the-floor comedy, it’s managed to maintain being smart and funny and subtle without going overboard on what’s an unashamed but not irrational liberal bias on Trudeau’s part.
I just really consistantly love this series because of that, I think, an honestness about beliefs and humor. It, in a way, reminds me of the non-political political-ness of Brian Wood’s DMZ, where in the end it’s all about people in the end. And I like that, I like that a lot. It still runs in papers and through online subscription, I get it every day via email myself. I know it seems strange sometimes to think of newspaper comic strips as being similar if not totally the same to regular comic books. But the medium is the same I think, it’s a form of storytelling, it just happens to be a little scaled down from what people normally think of as regular comics.
More people should care about comic strips.