“So long, Pop! I’m off to check my tiger trap!” 6 year-old Calvin tells his father one day. Thus began Calvin and Hobbes, a humorous comic strip about an imaginative boy and his stuffed tiger and their many adventures together. We have compiled ten newspaper comic strips that we believe to be some of the best. Some of the strips have their own websites and we have included links to these. However, some of the comic strips are older and can only be found in book collections at the library or bookstore.
- Garfield—though the simplistic artwork feels limiting at times, Garfield and the many other characters and gags are usually funny. At Garfield’s main website you can keep up with the latest misadventures of the world’s most famous cat.
- Dilbert—Though office humor tends to go over our heads, Dilbert can often be hilarious once we get over the cynical nature of most of the jokes.
- Baby Blues—Parents may get a kick out of this one when they aren’t bemoaning the fact that their kids are exactly like Zoe, Hammie, and Wren—the strip’s main child characters.
- Prince Valiant—The artwork alone justifies this one being on the list. The original author, Harold Foster, claimed to have spent 53 hours a week working on each Sunday page. The attention to detail is undeniable and the stories are always interesting (we are not acquainted with the current Prince Valiant that is being made by Hal Foster’s successor, so we’re recommending the “old” strips here).
- Zits—This comic strip about teenager Jeremy Duncan is sidesplitting because of its character humor. Also, it harkens back to the days of Calvin and Hobbes (see below).
- The Far Side—though sometimes crude and often assuming an evolutionist worldview, Gary Larson’s magnum opus is hilarious. Some of his best one-panel strips poke fun by putting animals in human situations—or vice-versa.
- Blondie—Centering around the exploits of Dagwood Bumstead and his beautiful wife Blondie, this long-running strip has consistently provided good if rather repetitive artwork and many laugh-out-loud moments. Unlike some strips that seem to age ungracefully, being reduced in size and complexity until there are only two panels with about 5 words each, Blondie is one of those strips that has maintained high quality despite increasing print restrictions.
- B.C.—We love the setting, the characters, and the recurring gags of this quintessential caveman comic strip. And even better, B.C. continues to be good, which is surprising since Johnny Hart, the original author, died back in 2007. His successors, Mason Mastroianni and the people who assist him, have continued the tradition of good settings, idiosyncratic characters, and humorous situations.
- Calvin and Hobbes—Bill Watterson’s cartoon, despite at times subtly promoting a non-Christian worldview, made this list because the characters, artwork, stories, and humor will live with us forever.
- Peanuts—Peanuts is great because of its precocious characters, its bittersweet moments, and the subtle humor.
So what are your favorite comic strips, and why? We’d love to hear from you!