I wanted to draw attention to some of my favorite comic strips. While I am a comic book guy, I really have an affection towards some great comic strips. I love getting the newspaper and reading the comics. They are the first thing I search for in the paper, before the news. I don't get a paper at home, but when I'm at work, I hunt for the comics page. Most comics are okay, a few are stinkers, but there are a few that I really love. These are the reasons I look for the paper:
Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman
I've been reading it on and off since maybe 1999. I love the family dynamic, I really relate to the main character Jeremy. Yeah, I'm 30, but I still feel young enough to have these exchanges with my parents about our generation gap. Jeremy is a high school student who is lazily making his way through life. He's not dumb, but he is by no means an over-achiever. His parents are goofy and older, and "just don't understand." even though they are incredibly loving and try hard for their son. I really like the dynamic of the characters.
Baldo by Hector D. Cantu and Carlos CastellanosI've heard many people call Baldo the "Hispanic version of Zits," but that's like saying all family tv sitcoms surrounding a family are exactly the same. There's a teenage son set on his quest for cool in high school, and a father, and a best friend, but beyond that, that's where the similarities end. Baldo's mother passed away, making the family an interesting dynamic. There's also Graciela (Gracie) who is the genius elementary school aged younger sister who is always showing up her brother. Then we have Tia Carmen, who is the great aunt who moved in after the mother's death to help the family. I like that family is such an important feature to this story, and I like how it shows Latino culture in a positive light. I also like that their heritage is highlighted, but it also still is very broad and relatable to a wide audience. I really relate to this comic, and it annoys me to no end that my local paper, The Spokesman Review, doesn't print it during the week. Next time they do a vote for a change in their comics page, I'm going to pipe up again. I hate not seeing it during the week.
Fox Trot by Bill Amend
Fox Trot is really awesome. Almost everything has been amazing, and I can't get enough of it. I was really heartbroken when Bill Amend switched to a Sunday only in December of 2006. I really loved the week or month long story arcs, they always made me laugh. Again, this is a comic strip revolving around a family of five. Goofy parents, a sporty brother, a daughter, and a super nerdy youngest brother. This story speaks to the inner geek in me, I love it.
Of all these three, I only have a collected book for Baldo. I really should nab collections for Zits and Fox Trot. They are great stories, and of course great art. I love the brush work of Zits and Baldo, and Fox Trot has such a unique look using a stagnant pen line. I've not researched the tools these artists use, but this is my assumption from the look of the work.
I want to add an honorable mention with Adam@Home. For the most part, I've enjoy the comic, but it took me a while to get used to the artist change in February of 2009. From inception, Brian Basset wrote and drew the strip, but then eventually picked up Rob Harrell so Brian Basset could also work on his second comic, Red and Rover (I've never seen it). Rob Harrell isn't at the level of Brian Basset's work, and the transition is a big change anyway, but Harrell has been getting better.