« porn, my parents and linda lovelace | Main | Tales from the courthouse: Little interns have big ears »

diets, lasagna and social disorders: why has garfield been around this long?

[Update: I found the perfect companion piece to this post: Modern Romance at Steve Hogan's Acid Keg]

Garfield turns 25 this week. That's 25 years of comic strips that I, for one, found rather stultifying and hardly ever funny. Like Hagar and Beetle Bailey, Garfield is just old, tired jokes in a new setting. Whether you're on a Viking ship, at an army camp or hanging out with your idiot owner by the telephone, that joke about being fat is not going to get any funnier just because the scenery has changed.

dondi.jpgI don't even read the comic section of the paper anymore. Not like when I was little and practically waited at the front door for the newspaper kid in the morning so I could be the first to see what new adventures awaited Dondi. You don't remember Dondi, do you? He was a big-headed orphan kid who got into all kinds of adventures. I was a kid when I read Dondi, so I related to his stories. Of course, being a kid didn't stop me from reading Apartment 3G, most of which I didn't understand but followed like a soap opera anyhow. I half-heartedly followed the Peanuts gang, but my image of that whole crowd was ruined forever by an hysterical parody of the strip in Mad Magazine sometime in the 70's, with the gang as hippies. I used to read Broom Hilda and Gasoline Alley and, yes, I followed the trials and tribulations of Brenda Starr right up until the moment Brooke Shields ruined the glamour for me.

I read my comic strips online now. I don't even get a paper edition of the news delivered to my house these days. I used to, just for the comics, but I got tired of spending a few dollars a week just for more jokes about Garfield and his lasagna or Cathy's diet or that god-awful Family Circus and its treacly messages. I read Boondocks once upon a time, but that got tired fast. Doonesbury, Ziggy, For Better or Worse; their jokes are on perpetual repeat, an endless loop of the same one-liners over and over, just different characters saying the punchline.

Perhaps it's my sense of humor. I'd rather read repeats of Calvin and Hobbes than new Garfield strips. I prefer Captain Ribman to Dick Tracy. I'd much rather read Achewood than any humorless, gimmicky, product-heavy strip in today's paper.

If you've enjoyed 25 years of Jon's bad social disease and Garfield's eating disorder, more power to you. Have a lasagna in Garfield's honor today. But try something different, too.

Scott Brodeur has a post about this subject as well.

These are some of my favorites. Unfortunately, if I don't hit the road in the next 1 minute, 32 seconds, I'll hit every red light and be stopped by every school bus between here and work. If you have a favorite online comic, drop a link in the comments.

Day by Day
Get Fuzzy
Penny Arcade
Homestar Runner


My first dog was named Dondi. I thought that I was the only person in the world that remebered Dondi. Are we showing our age?

day by day

The Norm has held up surprisingly well, and as an electrical engineer I still find DIlbert amusing on a fairly regular basis.

Red Meat. I hate you, Milkman Michele.

I've always loved Garfield. I guess it's a cat thing. But I also adore Get Fuzzy. That Bucky Cat is one crazy mofo.
I miss Calvin and Hobbes, though!

This is slightly OT, but what seemed to ne a very weird comic, when I was a kid, was "Prince Valiant". They didn't use 'balloons', and there was a lot of narration. I don't know why, but it creeped me out.

I used to like to read The Phantom. I guess that makes me an imperialist pig.

Sluggy Freelance, Schlock Mercenary, It's Walky. Used to read more online comics, but many of them went off the air or lost their edge.

From reading ombudsmans' columns over the years, I've learned that readers are very attached to their comics. If the paper makes one change in the funny pages, a whole lot of people will get their knickers in a twist. "What?! You dropped "Cathy?" How could you?" So that might explain why some strips are still in syndication.

I do wish some syndicate would pick up "Day by Day." Chris Muir deserves a wider audience.

ClanBOB/Life of Riley. I follow it almost religiously...

(Since the others I follow have already been mentioned either by you or the people above me in the comments!) :)

About the only ones I still read are Dilbert and Mallard Filmore. Anyone who's spent much time in the land of the cubicle knows Dilbert and/or his co-workers. And the notion of a conservative reporter working for an NPR affiliate is an absurdity worthy of Monty Python.

Riyadh delenda est!

Haven't followed the funnies since Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County left town.

I do enjoy Mutts, though.

Michele, I think we both read the same Daily News Sunday comic section. Dondi was on the back page, Dick Tracy on the front. I too, miss Calvin and Hobbs.

the only newspaper strip i still like is foxtrot.

the best ones online are something positive and day by day.

I miss Calvin & Hobbes, Bloom County and The Far Side. I still like to read For Better or Worse, Funky Winkerbean, Frazz and Get Fuzzy. I agree Boondocks is good but sometimes wears a little thin. I like Doonesbury too for its slams at politicians. (Esp. since I work for one.)

I'll throw MegaTokyo out there, I guess.

Like many others here and elsewhere, Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes are/were my favorites. The comic I like that's currently in production is Sylvia . It used to run in my local weekly paper, but they cancelled it a while back. This topic prompted me to search it out online, so I guess I'm back in business with it. I do read Doonesbury, but I've never been nearly as fond of it as I am of Bloom County - my all-time fave.

There are quite a few I like. Try these:

Ban the Basics



Get Fuzzy is the absolute best thing to happen to comics since Calvin and Hobbes.

The worst thing to happen to a good comic was Robotman becoming Monty.

Jumped the shark right there, pal.

As many others have said I also miss Calvin and Hobbs (possibly the best comic strip ever). Bloom County was a favorite too. As far as newspaper strips Dilbert is now my favorite but I read it online, havn't bought a paper in years. My favorite online comic is Sluggy Freelance at sluggy.com (wish I knew HTML).

My favorites are Day by Day, Get Fuzzy, and Sluggy Freelance. Bub bun cracks me up.

Michele, you should appreciate one of my favorites, Non Sequitur -- especially today's!

Maybe nobody still remembers any longer, but Garfield was actually clever and had a variety of plotlines in the first few years. There were several different characters and sometimes the story actually moved beyond Jon's apartment. Heck, Jon even had a roommate that Odie actually belonged to. I'm not sure why the artist decided to shut his brain off and start making such a lame strip, but it wasn't always garbage.

What, no mention in the comments of 8-Bit Theater? http://www.nuklearpower.com

Real Life and Shaw Island are great too... and both are 5 days a week. So is Faans... another nice one...

Did anyone mention Angst Technology? With IT Ninjas and a Web Monkey, what's not to like?
Angst Technology

Pardon the bad taste of self-pluggery, but if any like the old adventure style serial strips, check out my "Wandering Ones" web comic.

First strip is at http://www.wanderingones.com/D/20000408.html

There were two kids in my high school (class of '83) named Dondi.

I always wondered where in the hell that name came from, since I've never known anybody named that since.