A subscription to the local newspaper in our house meant anticipation of the Sunday edition.
My Dad would take the majority of the paper off to his spot on the couch along with a cup of coffee and the rest of us kids would take turns reading the “funny pages.”
The Sunday cartoons were extra special because they were in colour, not just black and white like the rest of the week.
Comic strips were our first introduction to reading the newspaper. My sister and brothers had their favourites. Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield and Hagar the Horrible.
My brother liked The Far Side comics so much that he would cut them out of the paper and save them.
When I asked my Dad which comic was his favourite, he mentioned without hesitation that he used to love Pogo.
Written by American cartoonist Walt Kelly, Pogo launched in 1948 and ran for 27 years.
Set in the Okefenokee swamp, Pogo Possum and his sidekick Albert Alligator got into all kinds of trouble. Walt Kelly also got into some trouble when his cartoons began to take on a more political slant, and he introduced a character that acted a lot like U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Brilliant with the subversive jabs at politicians of the day, Pogo was a champion for the powerless.
He also loved to fish and go picnicking, kind of like my Dad.
If a comic strip was ever meant to champion the downtrodden and bullied, then the most famous of all would be Peanuts, written by Charles M. Shulz.
The iconic character of Charlie Brown is unforgettable, especially this time of year, when reruns of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are still popular.
We all know what it means when someone tells us they bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It’s become part of our vernacular.
The cartoon special was also a reminder that not everyone is happy and cheerful during the holiday season. As Linus says about the tree, “Maybe it just needs a little love.”
Peanuts cartoons appeared in newspapers from 1950 until 2000.
Fifty years of Charlie Brown trying to kick a football and always missing.
If the cartoon taught kids anything, it was to keep trying, no matter how scared or nervous they may be.
Flying down a hill on a sled with a stuffed tiger sitting behind you is the antithesis of scared and nervous.
Six-year-old Calvin and his faithful tiger Hobbes took childhood activities to the next level.
Those trips usually ended in a spectacular crash, all while waxing philosophical on the way down. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson credits both Charles Schulz and Walt Kelly as big inspirations for his popular comic strip, which only ran for 10 years.
Comic books rarely sit for long on our library shelves.
They are some of the best loved books in our collection.
Beginning Jan. 2, the library display case will be full of Garfield, Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts ready for you to read and have a laugh.
Come in and tell us about your favourite newspaper comic strip!
Caroline McKay is the Community Librarian for the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.
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