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comic strips

Mar 1 2013

Comic Relief

by Veronica W

Every Sunday  afternoon I get a newspaper and settle down for my usual ritual. I pull out all of the ads and coupons and set them aside for later perusal. I then pull out the sections in which I have no interest, foremost being the Sports section.  After that I neatly stack my favorites, World News, Metro, Living etc.  Then begins the hunt for the comics, which I set aside in a spot of their own.They will be the last thing I read; kind of like dessert.

The comics – or “funnies” – are considered by some to be lowbrow humor, not worthy of serious thought or consideration. However I have found that some of life’s most truthful and relevant realities are pinpointed in the strips. Listen to Lucy van Pelt (my favorite diva) from Peanuts, who asks, “What shape would the world be in today if everyone settled for being average?”  If you want to hear more from Charlie Brown and his gang, check out Peanuts: A Golden Celebration.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert,  speaks to those of us who get up every morning and spend a good bit of time in the marketplace. His take on life in the corporate world is both hilarious and frequently on target.  On your “grin and bear it ” days, pick up Dilbert’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life: Dispatches From Cubicleland, for a good laugh. If you need a quick fix,  here you are.

dilbert best

The great thing about comics is that they speak to every age, interest and situation.  As my marriage aged, so did my understanding of that battling couple, the Lockhorns.  In his exaggeration of marital struggles, John Reiner portrayed what life is like sometimes after you say “I do.”  If  truth is in wine, it’s often in humor as well.

lockhorns

Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine are comic strips for our times. Their edgy, occasionally dark and sometimes tart humor can be reflective of current values, thoughts and realities.  Those of us who grew up with Nancy, Blondie, Mary Worth, Little LuluPogo, and Popeye—just to name a few—are able to see how humor changes as the culture (and your age) changes.  That which elicits a polite, half-hearted grin from a fifteen year old today may make a senior laugh uproariously.   Which of these do you find amusing?  This one…

fuzzy

or this one…

circ 2

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it’s enough that we can laugh.   To paraphrase some wise person, in literature and love (and humor), we are often amazed at what is chosen by others.

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Aug 12 2011

ShareReads: Looking for Calvin

by David T

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

Though it had a comparatively short life on the comics page, ending its original run more than 15 years ago, Calvin and Hobbes still has a tremendous following. As a longtime fan of the strip, I was intrigued by Nevin Martell’s Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip.

C&H creator Bill Watterson is an intensely private man who has succeeded in doing something quite unusual for a famous person in 21st century America – he has largely kept his personal life out of the media. He seldom gives interviews, discourages interest in himself as opposed to his work, and maintains his integrity to a degree for which he has sometimes been criticized. He turned away millions of dollars by refusing to allow his syndicate to license Calvin and Hobbes merchandise, and ended the strip early rather than see it outlive its freshness and originality.

Not surprisingly, Watterson chose not to give his biographer an interview, or otherwise participate in the creation of Martell’s book. That could have been a fatal blow to the book, but it’s not. Martell visited Watterson’s hometown, met people who knew him, including his mother, and interviewed many other cartoonists, most of whom hold Watterson’s work in high esteem. The result is a book that tells those of us who love Calvin and Hobbes a little more about how it came into being, explains why it stands out as something special, and, best of all, encourages us to revisit the strips themselves. In addition to Martell’s book, DCPL has more than a dozen collections of C&H strips; if you haven’t checked them out, you’re in for a treat. Don’t miss the ones in which Calvin shows his own unique uses for libraries and reference librarians!

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