Before we started subscribing to the Sunday paper several years ago, my wife asked my if I’d read the paper if we got it.

“Sure,” I replied.

Within a few weeks, she noticed that I was only reading the sports section and the comics and asked why I wasn’t reading the paper.

“But I AM reading the paper,” I insisted.  Well, the only parts that are worth reading …

I am a person who has a pretty broad sense of humor and loves a good joke.  On occasion, I have been known to laugh so hard that I eventually started crying.  Other times, I’ll crack up just thinking about a story or joke I heard hours earlier.  Truly, laughter is the second-best medicine (baseball being the best).

We’ve covered sports aplenty in The Soap Boxers.  So, today we shift the focus to comics.  I’ll break down my 5 all time favorite comics.

5.  Wow.  This is a tough call. I could go a lot of directions here – Blondie, Family Circus, The Far Side, Dennis the Menace, Retail, a few others.  But I’ll settle on Beetle Bailey.  The military theme differentiates the strip from its competitors, and Beetle and Sarge have a good dynamic going.  The secondary characters also have quite a bit of definition to them (gotta love Zero).

4.  Dilbert – A few years ago, Dilbert would have been top 2.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  It’s possible that the strip has simply gotten less funny over the years – or it may simply be that a dozen years living in a cubicle have taken some of the humor out of cubicle life.  I do remain a devoted member of Dogbert’s New Ruling Class (DNRC), so I’ll be on board when we run roughshod over the InDUHdividuals.

3.  Get Fuzzy.  Huh, what’s this?  Haven’t heard of it?  By my estimation, this is the most underrated comic strip on the market today.  It’s a bit of a Bizarro Garfield (whoa, double points for back-to-back comic references) with a man, a cat, and a dog.  The dog (Satchel) never seems to get a fair shake (like Odie) but that’s where the similarity end.  Rob has a bit more control over the Get Fuzzy household than Jim does (although we’re talking in relative terms), and the cat (Bucky) is bent on world domination (or, barring that, weasel domination).  There’s also quite a lot of sports content (Rob’s a Sox fan; Bucky is a Yankees fan), which is always good for extra credit in my book.

2.  Peanuts – Perhaps the most beloved comic strip of all time.  The strip has a lot of baseball content, which gives it a huge boost.  It also has a dog who thinks his doghouse is a Sopwith Camel, which is slightly odd (in a good way).  The hockey battles between Snoopy and Woodstock on the frozen bird bath, Linus and his blanket, Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, Schroeder eluding the romantic overtures from Lucy – and, of course, the completely unintelligible adult voices (yeah, that’s exactly how we sound to our kids – blah, blah, blah).  I have Peanuts books, I love the TV specials, but my favorite comic strip of all time is …

1.  Calvin and Hobbes.  Has there ever been a greater tribute to the sheer power of imagination?  Not only does Calvin possess it in spades (the transmogrifier, Calvinball with its crazy and never-the-same-twice rules, and of course the fact that Calvin thinks his stuffed tiger is actually alive), but his dad chips in with some wonderful answers to Calvin’s questions.  The strip was short lived (just 10 years) and Bill Watterson resisted the temptation to license it (if you see Calvin and Hobbes merchandise, it’s certainly bootleg – Calving urinating on a Ford logo is not a licensed use of the character) to preserve the integrity of the comic strip.  And who can forget that final strip, with Calvin and Hobbes sailing off in their wagon to go exploring?


That’s my top 5 – what are yours?