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Calvin and Hobbes

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    Calvin and Hobbes, created by Bill Watterson, ran from 1985 to 1995. It was wildly popular during that time, and it remains one of my favorite comic strips.

    The last book produced by Watterson was the 10th anniversary edition:

    His comments at the beginning of the book are deeply philosophical, and he reminds us of the importance of both comic strips and newspapers.

    Comics were invented in the late 1800's, when large cities had as many as a half dozen newspapers, each trying to outdo the other to attract the readership of of hug new immigrant populations. The comics were visual, easy to understand, funny boisterous, and lowbrow by design and hence immensely popular. Cartoonists had few pretensions about the artistic or cultural significance of their work. From the beginning, the comics were regarded as a commerical product that existed for the purpose of increasing newspaper readership. Cartonists considered themsleves newspaper men, not artists. Their job, pure and simple, was to help sell newspapers.

    Over time, at least some of the comic strips became more political, and Pogo was one of the first that I am aware of in that category, but Pogo was far from the first.

    Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning have been awarded since 1922. Doonesbury, by Garry Trudeau, was the first COMIC STRIP (as opposed to individual cartoons) to win the Pulitzer Prize, which he did in 1975.

    He has been drawing cartoons about Trump for more than 30 years.

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    Although there are a large number of comic strips today, you'll generally only find a handful in your local newspapers. Comics today are controlled by syndicates, (like GoComics) which is where I go to read Steve Benson, who used to be employed by the Arizona Republic.

    If you are looking for political humor, one of the best strips today is Non Sequitor:

    I usually read 8 newspapers every day, plus TIME and the Atlantic magazines, plus Facebook, plus e-mail, so I am exposed to a lot of words during the course of a day, which is exactly why I love comics, since a picture is literally worth a thousand words.

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    The Washington Post published a few more political cartoons this morning.

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    There are also lots of good homemade photo shopped depictions of Trump in the comments sections of Facebook articles, news organizations and such. The public can be very creative.
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    The MOST influential comic strip published during my lifetime is Doonesbury, which was launched into syndication 50 years ago this fall. This morning, the Washington Post published his 10 most memorable strips, and his comments about each of them.

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    The Doonesbury comic strip is a documentation of the moods of much of the pubic on the issues of the day for the last 50 years. The strip on the Texas abortion law in 2012 hit too close to home for many of the religious hypocrites of the day. I remember in 2008 our state representative, Larry Liston calling unwed teens "sluts". From Westworld:

    "Back in Representative Larry Liston’s day, people called ‘em as they saw ‘em, and Liston calls ‘em sluts. Or at least, that’s how the Colorado Springs Republican chose to describe unwed teenage parents on February 6 during a Republican caucus meeting. “In my parents' day and age, they were sent away. They were shunned. They were called what they are,” he said during a discussion of teenage pregnancy rates. “There's no sense of shame today. Society condones it ... They're sluts. And I don't mean just the women. I mean the men, too.”"

    Liston subsequently apologized for his remarks, but for Colorado Springs, a mecca community for the Christian right, his remarks fit right in with the prevailing view of much the Christian community here at the time. He was pandering to his audience. Oh and he overwhelmingly won election.

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    25 years after the last issue of Calvin and Hobbes was released, the strip is still being written about by the Washington Post.