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Dunham pays tribute to pet dog in “Overboard”

Chip Dunham, the creator of the comic strip “Overboard,” paid tribute to his 13-year old canine companion, Basil, in the June 30 edition of the cartoon. Basil passed away on May 30.

Basil inspired the character of Louie in the strip, and also helped create the common theme within the strip of the dogs, Louie and Raymond, loving steak and hamburgers from the piratesâ?? grill, says Dunham.

â??If I never had Basil, I never would have had Louie. I should have been feeding Basil steak every night. He got his share, but he gave a lot in my life and gave a lot to the strip, and I really miss him,â? Dunham said.

Community Comments

#1 Lee Mayer
July/3/2008
@ 7:55 am

Poignant anecdote for a wonderful strip.

#2 Geoff
July/3/2008
@ 10:17 am

A great way to remember Basil in a consistantly great strip.

I, coincidentally, lost my cat on Tuesday, so my strip protrayed a different style tribute.

#3 Geoff
July/3/2008
@ 10:18 am

My thoughts are with Mr. Dunham during this time of loss…

#4 Monty Rohde
July/3/2008
@ 5:56 pm

Uh…
I’m fortunate to say that I’m lucky that the worst thing that has happened in my life thus far was the death of my dearly beloved cat of twelve years. That cat was a better friend to me than most people I have known.

That said Louie was the downfall of the strip. Instead of being a unique, quirky, morbidly funny strip about pirates it turned into another stale strip about pets.

Overboard is poorly written and predictable. If you really like endearing humor there are plenty of better strips out there like Mutts.

And before someone decides to read a few words and go on irrational emotional tangent: I am not happy the guy’s dog is dead. I just think Overboard pretty much lost its unique comic flavor after Louie was introduced. I never even believed Overboard was funny until a friend showed me an anthology of his work pre-Louie.

#5 Mike Peterson
July/4/2008
@ 4:27 am

They say timing is everything in comedy.

It also plays a role in criticism of comedy.

#6 Rob Tornoe
July/4/2008
@ 11:56 am

Alan, what’s your email address? I have something I’d like to send you.

#7 Rob Tornoe
July/4/2008
@ 2:00 pm

Sorry, I was seeking your email address Aaron. I know you emailed it to me when you left the paper, but I can’t seem to track it down.

#8 hsaffell
July/5/2008
@ 10:56 am

The funniest bits are with the rats/people. So tongue in cheek, dry, wit. Been reading Overboard for 4 yrs…? I think, awhile anyway. Good, funny strip.

Small prayers for Basil. I too have lost pets and know the sorrow.

#9 Cynthia Williams
September/23/2008
@ 6:08 pm

I absolutely ADORE Louie. I liked the strip before that, but Louie made me a fan. My 12-year-old cat had a personality just like that. Without knowing anything about Chip Dunham, it was obvious that he shared his household with a real-life Louie counterpart. You can’t make this stuff up.

I remember the very first “Louie episode” that caught my eye (paraphrased here): Louie persuaded Marlene (I believe) to take him for a walk in the pouring rain. As they sloshed thru the puddles, she said, “Louie, if I ever meet a man with big sad eyes like yours, I’m in trouble.” And he replied, “If you do, I hope that — like me — he’ll use them for good and not for evil.”

Here’s another one that I clipped and cherished (again, paraphrased). As Capt. Crow sits alone in his chair, reading a book, the caption reads: “It gets very quiet. Too quiet.” And as he continues calmly reading: “Then you feel the eyes burning into you.” Finally, he jumps out of his chair and is chasing two hind legs and a tail out of the frame: “That’s how a game of CHASE begins.”

So many of Louie’s recurring themes mirrored my life with my own furry little buddy — such as the feared Vacuum Cleaner, or Louie’s keen sense of smelling food.

I’d never have thought an edition of OVERBOARD could bring me to tears. Does anyone remember this one? Just home from the grocery store, Capt. Crow has been floored and Louie’s standing cheerfully on his chest. As he begins to stuff the scattered grocery items back into the bag, Capt. says solemnly, “I’m not going to get mad at you, buddy. You won’t always be around to break my ribs like this.” As they walk off into the sunset together, Louie happily reassures him: “What are you talking about? Are you kidding? I’ll ALWAYS be here to break your ribs!”

Thank you, Mr. Dunham, for sharing Basil with all of us.

#10 Dallas Harmon
January/16/2012
@ 10:26 am

Mr Dunham, this website seems to be quite old, You probably won’t receive it.
I just love your cartoons, especially about the little mice. It makes me think that you love animals as I do. Keep up the good work. I don’t know what my husband or I will do if the time comes that we can’t read Overboard in the mornings. Its a great treat.

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