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Why James Lileks Still Reads, and Needs, Dagwood

Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist James Lileks reviews the comics.

If you want to alienate people, talk about religion or politics. If you want to have a nice conversation, talk about breakfast cereal and newspaper comics.

Could we discuss politics the way we discuss newspaper comics? Possibly, because everyone complains about both. There are people who read the newspaper and feel disappointment that their favorites from the ’80s aren’t around anymore. But at least no one calls up and complains that the Sunday pictures of the politicians have gotten so small they can hardly understand what they’re saying.

I have my complaints about the comics. There is one Sunday feature that seemingly exists to demonstrate that 30 years of steady work have no noticeable effect on the artist’s ability to draw anything, and since “drawing” seems an integral part of the whole “cartoon” genre, it’s a mystery.

One comic I like stopped running new daily strips in 2013, with the note that the artist is on vacation. Every time I look at the strip I imagine a suitcase rolling alone on a baggage carousel for eight years, unclaimed…

It is the order of the day for us print purists: start the day with the front page of human perfidy and failings, end with a mirthless evaluation of the 54,203rd episode of “Blondie.”

Why? Tradition, I suppose. Everything else changes, but “Blondie” endures.

A lot of you are mad about the way “Mark Trail” changed. It’s fast-paced now. In the old days, Mark could start to throw a punch on Monday and it wouldn’t connect with a poacher’s jaw until Saturday.

I like the new “Mark Trail.” I like most of our comics and hate-read the ones I don’t like.

Eventually James begins reminiscing of the good old days of Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes.

Read the entire column here.

Then visit James’ website where comics are a good part.

Community Comments

#1 Darryl Heine
August/10/2021
@ 5:52 am

How can the Minneapolis Star-Tribune still carry Get Fuzzy, it has been 100% daily/Sunday rerun mode the last 2 and a 1/2 years!

#2 D. D. Degg
August/10/2021
@ 9:07 am

Your indignation is invalidated by ignoring that the Star Tribune
also carries the comic strip represented by your avatar, which
“has been 100% daily/Sunday rerun mode” for the last 21 and a half years.

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