“I can’t believe it,” scoffed Mr. Zero. “Still watching cartoons at your age.”
I was not in the mood to explain why The Simpsons was brilliant satire, written for adults and just plain funny besides. I was also not up to asking Mr. Zero if he read the newspaper comics, or are they for children, too?
And if he did read the comics in the paper, but yet still mocked all forms of animation as immature, then what was it exactly that he objected to? The movement?
Ah, but I’m been around the old block too many times, and am too weary to argue about such things. Yes, at my age I still read the comics. In fact, on Sundays there are only three sections of the newspaper I read, and I save the comics for last.
The comics are a regular and important part of my life. Here’s proof: On a semi-regular basis I receive requests in the mail, asking me if I’d like to try a trial subscription to The New York Times, which some call one of the finest newspapers in the world. And while I have switched on and off and back on again on many publications over the course of my lengthening lifetime, I have never once subscribed to The New York Times.
Why? No comics.
1. What is the longest running American comic strip?
a. Gasoline Alley
c. The Katzenjammer Kids
d. Little Orphan Annie
2. What kind of stuffed animal was Hobbes?
3. In which comic strip did Popeye first appear?
a. Thimble Theater
b. Popeye the Sailor
c. Sinbad the Sailor
4. What is Doonesbury’s first name?
d. It is never stated.
5. In Nancy, who was Nancy’s guardian?
a. Grandma and Grandpa Yancy
b. Aunt Fritzi
c. Her dog Yip
6. What is Blondie and Dagwood’s last name?
7. Who created Dennis the Menace?
a. Al Capp
b. Hank Ketcham
c. Walt Kelly
d. Carl Barks
8. In what state does Pogo live?
9. In which comic strip will you find Zoe, Hammie and Wren?
a. Get Fuzzy
c. Baby Blues
d. Pearls Before Swine
10. What is Miss Peach’s occupation?
a. Bus driver
1. THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS was created in 1897 by Rudolph Dirks and is still running today. Gasoline Alley (1918) and Blondie (1930) are also both still being published today. Little Orphan Annie ran from 1924 – 2010.
2. In Calvin and Hobbes, Hobbes was Calvin’s stuffed tiger. Except when nobody else was around. Then, of course, he was real!
3. Popeye first appeared in the comic strip Thimble Theater. Combined with Popeye, it is the fourth longest-running American comic strip in history.
4. MICHAEL Doonesbury is the title character in the iconic comic strip Doonesbury. His middle name is James. The strip was created by Garry Trudeau and first appeared in its present form on October 26, 1970.
5. The comic strip Nancy was originally called Fritzi Ritz, whose main character was a ditzy flapper named Fritzi. Eventually her niece Nancy was introduced and gradually took over the strip, as AUNT FRITZI became more respectable. Today she is a music reviewer in her late fifties.
6. In Blondie, Dagwood and Blondie’s last name is BUMSTEAD. Dagwood’s boss is Mr. Dithers. Blondie is the sixth longest-running comic strip in the U.S., and was the inspiration for a series of movies and a radio program. Their dog’s name, if anyone should ask, is Daisy.
7. HANK KETCHAM began writing and drawing Dennis the Menace in 1951 and continued until 1994, when he retired from cartooning and took up painting. It was in October, 1950 when his wife came into his studio to complain that their child Dennis had messed up his room. “Your son is a menace!” she said.
8. Pogo was the creation of Walt Kelly, and ran from 1948 until 1975. Pogo Possum, Albert Alligator and many of the hundreds of other Pogo characters lived in the GEORGIA part of the Okefenokee Swamp.
9. Quickly becoming one of my favorite comic strips, BABY BLUES follows the day-to-day life of Darryl and Wanda MacPherson and their three children. It was launched in 1970 with the birth of the oldest child, Zoe. Hammie (my favorite!) and Wren eventually followed.
10. Miss Peach was created by Mell Lazarus and ran from 1957 until 2002. Miss Peach is a TEACHER who works at The Kelly School. Lazarus chose the name as a tribute to Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly. Lazarus also created the popular strip Momma in 1970, which is still running today.