Best comic goodbyes. Ever

Tom Spurgeon:

So with the finale for the television show Lost rapidly receding into the background, the reaction to the show suggests the question: what are the best “final episodes” in comics history? Like television, some of the best ones weren’t official finales, or didn’t quite take. With that general caveat in mind, here are ten of my favorite comics good-byes.

He offers a solid list, in my opinion. He also invites his readers to suggest others that would be worthy of mention which he has posted this morning.

14 thoughts on “Best comic goodbyes. Ever

  1. Nice discussion…as for official ‘endings’, I seem to recall in his strip “John Darling”, Tom Batiuk had the lead character, (pompous TV anchor John Darling), killed in the very last strip…it wasn’t in very many papers by that time, so I’m sure most wouldn’t remember, but I thought it was truly inspired…

  2. Of the 3 goodbye’s that Berke Breathed did (B.Co., Outland and then Opus), I thought the last was the most touching.

    I knew the B. Co. end wasn’t really an end as Outland was up next, and as good as Outland’s was (Bill the Cat reading Opus’ postcard), it didn’t hit me like the last one.

    Seeing Steve Dallas finally turn human and knowing his friend was happy forever in ‘Goodnight Moon’ was very poignant.

    Very, very well done.

  3. I don’t really remember too many comic farewells. Before I started relying on the web for most of my comics reading, strips usually got dropped from the paper before they met their demise. Other times, they just disappeared with no explanation, sometimes because of the artist’s death.

    These days, the most popular strips have become franchises, and are likely to outlive their creators. I have little doubt, for example, that Garfield will outlive Jim Davis.

    Since the passing of Opus has already been noted, I’ll put in for the final Calvin & Hobbes (31 December 1995). I admire Watterson for avoiding the endless commercialization and licensing that makes so many other properties ubiquitous, and also for ending on a high note rather than letting things get stale.

  4. Nothing was more traumatic for me than the last Peanuts (and it’s on the list and has been talked about to death), but like Shane I immediately thought of Opus.

    The unfinished Krazy Kat strips are haunting to look at for me. You can see them in the book Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman. Leaving behind work in mid-production is sad.

  5. I’ve never seen a strip that I thought went out with a worthy finale. Most strips that acknowledged their ending were story strips in which the current storyline was wrapped up, then in the last panel a character might mention they were retiring or riding off into the sunset.

  6. Without a doubt, two of the most heartfelt endings were Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes.

    A few more recent endings that come to mind …

    Mark Heath’s Spot the Frog was touching. I know I’m going to mangle it here, but the final strip had a philosophical question like, “What happens to the dream when the dreamer stops dreaming?” … or something like that!

    Matt Janz’s Out of the Gene Pool (a.k.a. “Single and Looking”) took a sharper bite with the characters walking off the panels and complaining about their demise (and the state of the industry).

    And Roy Schneider’s The Humble Stumble took a trippy trip back into the technicolor dreamland of their creator’s brain.

    Each one a fond farewell from the creators to their loyal readers.

  7. I forgot one. The most understated and saddest to me was the last Tumbleweeds by T.K. Ryan.

    If you haven’t seen it, Tumbleweeds is sitting on his horse Epic on the edge of a canyon and says ‘Well, it’s a been a long day, but that all have to end sometime. This is as good as any.”


    I didn’t even know he was ending it, but when I read that strip I I knew what it meant. I hated to see ‘Weeds so, I’d been reading it since I was just a kid. Miss it.

  8. Schulz’s last Peanuts strip was probably the most touching, not just for the poignancy in the strip, but for the struggle and sadness behind it’s ending. More memorable for me isn’t the strip with Snoopy atop his dog house typing the farewell, but the television interview with Schulz inwhich he started to break apart and cry when talking about the ending of the strip and it’s characters. I get emotional just thinking about that.

  9. The final strip of Calvin and Hobbes, where the two roar off on the toboggan, Calvin shouting, “Let’s go exploring!” is my favorite. Yet it left me sad, knowing I’d never go exploring with them again.


  10. the final Perry Bible Fellowship was a little depressing, but I think it was really how he felt at the time.

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