Best/Worst comic strips.

What are the best comic strips, in your opinion? The Worst comic strips?

If you can include the classics, the best is Segar’s Thimble Theater. Dunno about the worst- there’s a lot of bad ones to choose from.

Best of all time is Krazy Kat, with Pogo second. There is no argument other than possibly switching the order).

Currently? I’d go with The Argyle Sweater or Pearls Before Swine.

Worst of all time? Mallard Fillmore. This is inarguable, too.

Best of all time, no question whatsoever: Bloom County
Worst of all time, beyond the slightest doubt: Cathy
Current good comics:
Off the Mark
Prince Valiant

Current worst:

Tough question, because “best” covers a lot of ground. Best adventure strips? Best artwork? Most innovative? Funniest?

I’ll agree with Son of a Rich about Thimble Theater being one of the greats – it introduced Popeye, and Segar’s storytelling was great, even if (or because) of his primitive art style.

I’ll agree with RealityChuck about Krazy Kat because of its heavy influence, but I have to admit that I’ve never really been a big fan of either Krazy Kat on its own or (blasphemy!) of Pogo, either. There was an occasional strip I liked.

One of the true greats has to be Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. When these originally ran in the Sunday papers, in full color, with the “strip” taking up the entire page with its exotic fantasies and fin de siècle architecture, this must’ve blown that pre-movie audience away

(also the flip side, the adult nightmares in his black and white adult strip Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend. McCay practically invented the imagery of the Giant Beasts Invading the city, had not Gellett Burgess gotten there first.)
Dick Tracy was another great “story” strip.

For humor, I have to admit to a fondness for the 1960s-70s strips The Wizard of Id and B.C., which could be hilarious and intellectual and still filled with slapstick. This was before Johnny Hart got religion and made his strips tedious.

Of course, I’d include Doonesbury and Bloom County and The Far Side.

For worst, there are plenty of contenders. To tell the truth, many are so awful that I don’t think Mallard Fillmore is even in the running. I may disagree with his politics, but his style is good and his presentation is, too. But there’s no saving grace to strips like Bugs Bunny or any of the incarnations of Betty Boop. There have been some recent strips that I can’t even recall the names of (nor do I want to) that are distinguished by a total lack of artistic capability as well as a lack of humor.

There are so many classics. Calvin and Hobbes will always be a favorite; as another thread made clear, almost everyone loves The Far Side.
Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, about a family consisting of a teenage boy and his parents, who are often confounded by each other.
Most obscure, and hilarious: * Overboard *by Chip Dunham. A pirate ship portrayed as if a modern office: incompetent employees, idiot boss, office politics. I say obscure because I read it in the Baltimore Sun decades ago, but I have never seen it anywhere else.
I confess to bias; my husband created a few strips, but has never found a publisher for them. If anyone has any ideas about how to make them public, let me know.
There are few today that might be good, but the “artwork” is so bad I don’t want to look at them.

I really enjoy The New Adventures of Queen Victoria, altho I don’t always get it, since I don’t always know the historical figures he uses.

On the other hand, there are far too many that I can’t stand, so picking the worst is pretty close to impossible for me.

Lil’ Abner (1934-1977) was the only comic strip able to sustain months-long, suspenseful plots with extremely funny joke-a-day stuff*. It also introduced characters vital to the popular culture (well, pretty much limited to us comics nerds these days): The Shmoos; Fearless Fosdick; Evil-Eye Fleegle, Master of the “Whammy;” etc. Also invented the concept of “Sadie Hawkins Day.”

So that would be my choice. Pogo second.

*(you know who else could do this? Alison Bechdel, with her late, lamented Dykes to Watch Out For. Which doesn’t count because it didn’t run in the squares’ newspapers.)

I used to read Off The Mark online a lot; I should probably go check it out again.

I have always been a comic junkie, so these days I maintain a GoComics account and a long page of comics - yes, I know, the web is full of brilliant, funny, edgy, kewler stuff but I can spare five minutes to read the old-school stuff, too.

I have about a half-dozen political panels on there - Toles, Luckovich, Danziger
I have always liked -

[li]Pearls Before Swine (and all of its reflection parodies in the other strips)[/li][li] Rhymes with Orange[/li][li] Luann (not sure why)[/li][li] Lio[/li][li]Non Sequitur[/li][li]Zippy[/li][/ul]
I like

[li]Frazz[/li][li]Monty[/li][li]Speed Bump[/li][li]Strange Brew[/li][li]Off the Mark[/li][li]Argyle Sweater[/li][li]Dark Side of the Horse[/li][/ul]
And I have some oddball ones in there

[li]Baldo and Baldo en Espanol - I like comparing the humor, especially when there are major cultural differences in the punchline[/li][li]Garfield minus Garfield - the deconstructions are entertaining[/li][li]Brewster Rockit[/li][/ul]
…and a dozen of the old standards. I have to say the tedious old Wizard of Id and BC have been fairly fresh lately. Seriously.
No comment on the classics; I think they’re a different topic.

Since this is seeking opinions about comic strips, I’m moving it to Cafe Society.

Best (in order):

Calvin & Hobbes
Bloom County
Krazy Kat
Pearls Before Swine
Far Side

Zippy the Pinhead


Of current ones, my favorites are are Sally Forth, Foxtrot, Dilbert, Zits and Rhymes with Orange.

The worst is Fusco Brothers. It is clearly a science experiment designed to remove humor from the universe.

I kinda like The Fusco Brothers.

I’ve been vacationing in Down East Maine on and off for the past 35 years, and I occasionally have to read the Boston Globe up there when I can’t get the New York Times, and I’ve only ever seen it in the Globe.

So when I see The Fusco Brothers, it reminds me of being on vacation in Maine. And gives me an inexplicable yearning for steamed clams.

Several years ago, the Chicago Tribune ran a comic strip called Reply All on a trial basis. Then there was a vote on whether to keep that comic strip or another one. Reply All lost the vote 94% to 6%. It was the ugliest, least funny piece of shit I’ve ever seen. I started a thread about it:

Based just on what’s in my daily newspaper:

Brewster Rockitt (I swear, this is the freshest, most clever strip being produced these days)
Pearls Before Swine
Sally Forth (the meta strips are great: just this week a character that only shows up during Hillary’s summer vacation is asked what’s he’s been up to, and his answer is “I don’t know; it’s like I live in a void until July” or something like that)
Big Nate

Hard to say, b/c the ones I gave a chance but don’t like, I don’t read. Having said that, they got rid of Get Fuzzy to make room for** Mike De Jour**, which is like some sort of sick joke. That’s one terrible, terrible strip.

For best, I’d have to go with “Calvin & Hobbes.” The strip was simply brilliant, over and over. It was more consistently good than “The Far Side,” which had some of the funniest jokes ever written by a human, but if you actually paw though all the Far Sides, a surprising number aren’t very funny. C&H was good basically every single day.

Obviously, many, many comic strips are brilliant and innovative. Pogo, Peanuts, Dilbert, Bloom County, XKCD, all wonderful and important.

For worst, I admit I hate “Cathy,” too. I agree that “Reply All” strip is appalling - I randomly fired up 10 strips, nine did not have anything I could identify as a joke, and the one that did wasn’t funny - but I am sure there are even worse ones; to get my vote is has to be a strip popular enough that most people would have seen it if they read the funny pages.

Favorite currently running strip that nobody has mentioned yet: Get Fuzzy. Worst? Family Circus.

I stepped away from Get Fuzzy when it went on reruns, which seems to be a common thing these days.

Some of the strips on GoComics are delayed - reruns from a couple of years back, I guess as relicensed material. I don’t mind as long as I didn’t read the originals, which for things like Doonesbury and Get Fuzzy I had.

I really liked Starslip, but the author seems to have run it first as a webcomic, then rebooted it as a print strip, and then ended it, in-strip, at some point recently. (The final crisis involved a risk of rebooting reality, and they push the button, and… fwoop.)

Family Circus, yeah. I’d put Marmaduke at the same level if I didn’t live with Great Danes and find real comfort in someone else understanding how weird they are.