Have you ever noticed how comic strip characters never seem to age? These priceless newspaper gems, many of which have been around for most of our lives, serve as a buffer to the daily drone of the news articles. This has been of particular comfort in the last few years where almost every article in the news has been bad news or bleak outlooks. How many of us are guilty of stealing the Sunday comics from the paper before anyone else has a chance to read them? Here is a list of comic strip characters who never grow old, either in age or in our hearts.
Brainchild of Cathy Guisewite, this modern girl has been a modern girl since 1976. Her four main foibles are Food, Love, Mom, and Work, which the strip exploits to no end. Many previous fans of Cathy have soured and the strip has declined in popularity since the characters marriage to comic strip boyfriend on Valentines Day 2005. Cathy's Mom never ages either which is not that unbelievable if you knew my Mother-in law, who will live FOREVER!
The verdict is in. If you are a cat, you have a career in comic strips that is upwardly mobile. Heathcliff is another fat cat that is full of adventurous antics. Created by George Gately in 1973, Heathcliff and the gang made the leap to the small screen (television) with successful kid's shows on more than one occasion. He was the star of Marvel Comics as well. Not only does this seemingly immortal kitty have what it takes, rumor has it that Tom Hanks will be supplying the voice of Heathcliff in an upcoming movie by Magic Lantern Entertainment.
Blondie began its run in 1930. It is an amazing comic strip that chronicles the life of a hapless, everyday joe, named Dagwood, who is married to a dynamic, if not daffy blonde that is notably gorgeous and the image of the American dream wife of its time. When the strip first appeared, Blondie is a dance hall girl and her last name is Boopadoop. In 1933, she marries well to do Dagwood Bumstead who is disowned by his wealthy family for marrying below his station. They have two children and he is forced to make his way in a construction company, usually struggling to stay awake at his desk. The entire family stopped aging in the 1960s. In the 70's, when original creator Murat Bernard "Chick" Young passed away, his son, Dean Young, picked up the mantle and continued to write this hugely popular series.
This slick dick is an American icon in pop culture, created by Chester Gould and debuting on October 4th, 1931, Dick Tracy is still going strong and fighting bad guys. One of the most amazing things about Tracy is his wristwatch communications device. Its seventy-nine years later and we are all about to be wearing one of these cool wristwatch cell phones. Of course, most of us will not be using them to fight crime against such bad guys as Flattop Jones and The Mole but we will probably be able to surf the web and even watch movies. Pretty cool for a guy who is at least 100 years old and still looks 35. Dick Tracy was the first strip to promote popular violence in comics and has numerous books, television shows, and even a movie or two. Rock on Dick, we are pulling for you.
The newspaper reading world bid little Orphan Annie a fond farewell on June 13, 2010, as the last installment ran on that Sunday. The strip, first created in May of 1924, Little Orphan Annie was originally titled Little Orphant Annie in the poem that inspired it. It is the story of an orphaned waif whose luck runs hot and cold. When the last strip ran in June, fewer than twenty newspapers were carrying it. It is a sad ending to a sad story because she remained a hard luck case for about a zillion years.
When Doonesbury first appeared it was followed by two types of people, those who loved the political incorrectness of it, or those who hated the political correctness of it, in either case, we followed it day in and day out like our lives depended on it. Doonesbury blurred the lines between comic strips and editorials like no other strip before or since and although the presidents came and went, the title characters were ageless to a large degree, growing only when the situation called for it. Its author, Gary Trudeau had a lot to say about government and society as a whole. Run date: September 68' to current.
Andy Capp and his wife Flo have been around since August 5th, 1957 and are still going strong. This is proof that 80-proof booze is a preservative, as if I needed a comic strip to figure that one out. (Again, with the Mother-in-law jokes.) Andy, who frequents the local pub at the chagrin of his wife, is rather insightful at times. Reg Smythe started the strip as a single panel but the popularity of the character demanded four panels and a star was pickled…I mean, born.
Charles Schultz took a putz of a bald headed sad case and turned him into America's favorite son that we loved to pity. Rats! I will never understand why the word Rats never appeared on a tee shirt with his picture on it. Schultz could tell a sad story and make you laugh all the way through it, as you wept inside for poor Charlie Brown who could never do anything right. Almost every character he created for the strip had a following from the dirty little boy who carried the dust cloud with him wherever he went to the teacher whose voice was only a incomprehensible horn sound, we loved to tune in to the strip, cartoon, and feature length films to see what the peanuts gang was up to. Snoopy and Woodstock often stole the show with Linus providing comic relief and the psychiatrist Lucy and her five-cent solutions breaking up the monotony. Every bit a gem now as when it originated, Peanuts was created October 2nd 1950 and ran until the day after Charles Schultz died in February of the year 2000.
Jim Davis scored an instant hit in 1976 with this feline with the dry sense of humor and the heart of gold. Do not let on about his heart of gold though. He masks his compassion behind a wall of sarcasm and a big love of lasagna. Together with his owner Jon Arbuckle and his friend, Odie, the brainless dog, Garfield has made the Guinness book or Records as the most syndicated comic of all time. This is one fat cat that may never die, being one of the few to make it to the big and small screen. Comedian Bill Murray took over Garfield's vocal cord responsibilities as his "voice" in several movies.
Okay, Hobbes I get. He is a stuffed animal and stuffed animals, as everyone knows, age a little differently. It is like 100 stuffed tiger years per one human year. This makes him less than a year old but Calvin, on the other hand is old enough to have kids of his own. The popular strip by Bill Watterson ran from 1985 to 1995 without Calvin aging a single day. He remained six for the life of the strip, which is still in rerun. Watterson sold 45 million copies of the 18 Calvin and Hobbes books. (Including the copy I purchased at age 35!) I have owned the book for 15 years and it is still on the hamper in the bathroom. I read it at least once a week. I know, get a life.