October 16th, 1999

Now to something of vital importance to everyone, the comics. I always have been a religious reader of comic strips.

At the top and still champion, Doonesbury. Garry Trudeau's wide ranging strip has more characters, more possible plot lines, and an ability to cover anything anywhere. He uses the large cast to sterotype many different professions and races.
Need to comment on Athletics - he uses B.D. a college football coach.
Need to comment on Showbusiness - he uses Sid, a Hollywood agent.
Need to comment on Computers or business - he uses Mike, now a president of a startup software company.

Superb placement of people doing interesting things. The continuing liberal edge to everything grates on me a bit, but has been balanced in recent times by Chase, Mike's partner.

Doonesbury also gets the award for best series of cartoon strips this year. It's 2+ week long series on Mark and Chase's Gay Wedding was so funny it brought tears to my eyes. The reactions that poured in - from the father to Reverend Scott, to MacArthur were so well done.

One big negative this year to Doonesbury though for bunding their old CD Collection of strips, Doonesbury Flashbacks into a new collection book without updating it. The CD is missing the last couple of years worth of strips and had been previously released and purchased by myself. However, I must at the same time congratulate Doonesbury for going ahead and releasing a CD collection of everything he had done. Far too much great material is not available in easy collections like this. I wish newspapers would gather and release collections of their columnists and comic strips. I'd dearly love a collection of Mike Royko (a Chicago writer) strips, Red Smith on sports, Ken Burg (? Spelling) on Mankato issues, etc.

Slipping a few notches this year was Dilbert. Formerly a favorite and a must read, it's sense of Office Humor has faded. Perhaps it is a victim of overkill, with multiple books, collections of strips, and a television show all claiming Scott Adams' time.

Cathy also appears to have been slipping. Her formerly amusing single working woman strip has recycled topics too many times. Perhaps one problem is her small cast of characters. Using only one lady for the enemy salesperson is amusing, but tiring. Cathy Gusewite's numerous fashion strips are also tiring out.

A new up and comer this year has been Boondocks. A perhaps unknown strip to some of you, it revolves around 2 young black boys and their grandfather. Cutting edge racial humor abounds. Aaron McGruder's strip is very young, I've only seen it for the last few months and the website only goes back to sometime in May, but the biting humor is excellent. The series on the kids going to J. Edgar Hoover elementary school this fall was very well handled and provides one of the best alternative racial viewpoints I've seen expressed. The combination of racial anger and humor is very well done. Highly recommended.

The best site for reading comics I've been able to find is linked through the Washington Posts site. They maintain comic strips for the previous 2 weeks, so you are able to catch up.

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