As the Curmudgeonly Professor has written before, the Sunday funnies, known to sophisticates as comics, used to be a big deal. Funnies were outstanding. We eagerly perused the weekly Sunday strips of Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, Prince Valiant, L'il Abner, Snuffy Smith and Barney Google, and others. Now we just shuffle through and pick a few that usually are worth looking at and skip the vast majority of them as inane, amateurish, and far from funny or even thoughtful.
Today I decided to review the Sunday funnies in their entirety and read each and every comic strip in the Sunday Funnies provided by the Salt Lake daily papers. Here is what I found:
Best of the Sunday Funnies Five Stars:
- Baby Blues, brathood at its most perceptive, often hilarious, with many fridge posts. Today, daddy calls mommy from office while he is piddling away the day at his desk, mommy is running three ring circus, and he asks "So are you busy too?'
- Classic Peanuts, infinite reruns are typically better than anything new. Snoopy finds sheep to mow the grass around his dog house.
- For Better or Worse, not always a fan, but often right-on. Today the issue is how do socks get mismated and lost in washer and dryer. An issue I have dealt with forever.
- Hagar the Horrible. Casting off raiding boat without realizing tide is out. My role model.
Usual Favorites, Not so Funny Today Four Stars:
- Dilbert, concerned about his raise, is told only "viable livelihood of the future involves cannibalism." Now less worried about raise.
- Pickles, often hilarious, nails retired and aging issues with deadly aim, just not that funny today as Pickles explains to grandson that stone for skipping in water took eons to make smooth.
- Hi and Lois, cutely drawn, fun to read, Hi glad to be free on 4th of July from "pursuit of Presents."
- Beetle Bailey, not Mort Walker's best today. Beetle hands bungee cord to Sarge dangling from cliff.
- Blondie, so-so today, Dagwood needs to know capital of South Dakota, Herb misleads, Dagwood misses out on radio quiz show.
- Wizard of Id and B.C., just not that good today.
- Zits, teenage boy dead on, so-so today.
Off-again, on again, some times funny, some times not Three Stars
- Garfield. Best part of Garfield is intro panel which gets left off in space saving big dailies.
- Family circus. some times just too-too, some times very clever.
- Sherman's Lagoon. One of my son's favorites, I rarely find any yuks here.
- Doonesbury, not really a comic, belongs on editorial page. Iffy, some Sundays a hoot, others, forgettable.
Can't stand, One Star or less:
- Cathy. Quit reading years ago. Maybe appeals to females, but I don't know why.
The worst, why are these strips still running? No stars, thumbs down:
- Rex Morgan, M.D. I haven't read this for 20 years or more, but started monitoring when letter to the editor warned about degradation of morals from scantily clad females in Rex Morgan so I thought, aha, maybe I should check it out so I could assist as monitor of morals. Saw two scantily-clad maidens in bikinis, disgusting.
- Mary Worth. Started out as Apple Annie in 30s as I recall, gradually evolved into sophisticated rich old lady. Seriously, how many readers does Mary Worth have? Two? Three?
- Prince Valiant, used to be a gem, now not worth looking at.
The rest of them I'll leave to you to evaluate. Some are occasionally cute and have a good line. Many are just plain miserable. What bothers me is this: With hundreds of millions of people don't we have any better creative comics talent in the world than some of the totally mediocre strips that make the funnies each Sunday? Where are they?