Inspired by this thread, I got to wondering about something.
B.C. Wizard of Id. Peanuts. Garfield. Cathy. Dilbert. Beetle Bailey. Hagar the Horrible. Blondie. Nancy.
What does it take to kill off a classic comic strip that just isn’t funny any more–assuming that it was ever funny in the first place? Okay, maybe it’s not fair to include Peanuts because it’s all reprints today, but let’s face it. A lot of these old warhorses ought to be put out to pasture. There are some exceptions, of course–Popeye, Little Orphan Annie, maybe a couple of others–but almost all of the “classic” strips are moving on sheer inertia now. Zombie-like, they refuse to lie down and be still even though any discernible reason for their existence disappeared a long time ago.
Will all the fans of the old strips have to die before these things can finally be laid to rest? Or is it simply a lack of good new strips that keeps the walking dead on their feet?
Bill Watterson had the class to leave at the top of his game when he stopped doing Calvin and Hobbes. Walt Kelly’s widow was wise enough not to get someone else to do Pogo when Kelly died (though she did consider a comic book). Likewise the Li’l Abner strip was wisely allowed to die with its creator, Al Capp, although many say the strip had long ago grown stale by the time Capp passed on. But isn’t anybody else concerned with bowing out gracefully when it’s time to go? Can anybody still be reading Blondie or Beetle Bailey for any reason other than sheer force of habit?
Please tell me that someday I’ll get to dance on Garfield’s grave.
But in the mean time, tell me: Why won’t these damn things die?