Today marks the end of one of those tough, long, unforgettable weeks we all have unfortunately experienced in our lifetimes.
Usually I like to read to relieve the stress. This time, it was something light and easy and even funny.
The comic strip!
I remember Peanuts. Snoopy was my favorites and I remember laughing when I was a kid about his antics. Snoopy’s doghouse was like a tree house, someplace to escape into worlds of fantasy. He fought the Red Baron with his Sopwith Camel, could fit just about anything into his doghouse, talked to birds (and amazingly, they talked back!), a writer, an astronaut, and most importantly of all, could actually play baseball (when not in his tree-house, er, doghouse).
In the 1980’s Blooms County appeared. The comic was set in the South and generally made fun of the computers (and technology in general), politicians (but Republicans were made the butt of most jokes), pop music, televangelists, both Star Trek and Star Wars, and complacency.
The leading characters are Milo (a myopic pre-adolescent who seems to have more common sense than anyone else of the comic strip – which is not a hard thing to do), Opus (a lovable penguin who somehow gets involved with every other character’s delusions and mishaps), and Bill the Cat who played “tongue” in a hard rock group, and ran for President (yes, of the U.S.) and was responsible for Chernobyl.
Dilbert has Dogbert, who unlike his master, hangs out with royalty and can mastermind anything (and usually does). He is a borderline existentialist who makes amusing, thought-provoking, and slightly depressing observations about mankind and the universe. Meanwhile, Catbert is an evil cat that delights in the misery of others. With these two characters, plus a clueless boss, a co-worker who doesn’t work, and the universe totally out of his control, Dilbert’s life is solemn a dull one. He tries to make sense of all this but ultimately fails, as the universe makes no sense.
Herman (by Unger) was unique in that all of lettering, illustration, and humor was contained in one cell. Most of them were set in contemporary times, meaning they were also useful as verbal jokes in contemporary times. Here are two of them.
Finally, Paul Conrad was a political cartoonist for the LA Times. His cartoons showcased his sharp, biting wit plus symbolisms that left an aftertaste, bitter or sweet. depending on your political viewpoint. His favorite target was Nixon (see below).