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The top 10 greatest syndicated comics?

Over on, someone has posted their top 10 Greatest Syndicated Comic Strips In American History. Their picks:
10. Krazy Kat
9. Liberty Meadows
8. Garfield
7. Li’l Abner
6. Opus
5. Doonesbury
4. Peanuts
3. Pogo
2. The Far Side
1. Calvin and Hobbes

You can head over and read the justifications for each of the choices. I’m mostly okay with the list, but any argument I might have with the list comes down to the definition of “greatest”. Reading the author’s rationale, it seems he/she is looking at it from a pure artistic/craft view.

Community Comments

#1 David Rickert
@ 12:13 pm

No Dick Tracy? Terry and the Pirates? I guess you have to leave someone off.

#2 steve skelton
@ 12:35 pm


#3 Gerry Mooney
@ 2:31 pm

Obviously limited to humor strips, so Terry and Tracy not invited I guess. But…no Winsor McCay?

#4 Frank M Hansen
@ 2:32 pm

Makes you realize, that picking 10 does not do this medium justice. It has been around too long to pick only 10, but that said at least these 10 show just how good comics can be and mean to people. They truly have a place in our culture and say so much about us.

#5 Brian Fairrington
@ 2:32 pm

I’d agree with that list with he exception of LIberty Meadows. Frank Cho is great, but all of the comics listed had great impact in one manner or another during the times they ran. Liberty Meadows only ran in newspapers for a relatively short time and did not capture the publics imagination the way the others did in their time. Although I never read the strip, I think Dilbert deserves that spot instead.

#6 Brian Fairrington
@ 2:33 pm

And yes, Dick Tracy also HAS to be on that list.

#7 Brian Fairrington
@ 2:35 pm

…and why “Opus” over “Bloom County”???

#8 Pete McDonnell
@ 3:08 pm

The Far Side was not a strip, to begin with. I’d also have to rank Peanuts over Calvin & Hobbes. Pogo is my #1. Little Nemo & Thimble Theatre would be on my list before Doonesbury or Opus. Krazy Kat should be in the top five! Here’s my Off the Top of my Head list:

1. Pogo
2. Peanuts
3. Krazy Kat
4. Prince Valiant
5. Little Nemo
6. L’il Abner
7. Thimble Theatre
8. Calvin & Hobbes
9. Terry & the Pirates
10. Dick Tracy

#9 Brian Fairrington
@ 3:32 pm

Agreed Pete. Your list is more historically in line with what is probably considered “the best”. The problem is most people who make these lists only reference things they are familiar with and overlook obvious choices.

#10 Mike Cope
@ 5:21 pm

Perhaps a good criteria to apply to any “10 Greatest Syndicated Comic Strips” list would be to ask, “Does the strip speak to subsequent generations?”

#11 Justin Riley
@ 9:15 pm

Pearls and Dilbert are missing. That’s dumb.
“Life Is Hell” should’ve also made it.
Oh well… Lists are never right.

#12 Jeff Pert
@ 8:08 am

I agree that Thimble Theatre should be in any Top 10 comics strips list.

#13 Terry LaBan
@ 9:42 am

Liberty Meadows?! Um, no.

#14 Pete McDonnell
@ 3:51 pm

Dilbert might be in if we’re just talking about strips created post-1975. Otherwise…nah. IMHO.

#15 Debbie Perry
@ 4:23 pm

No Mickey Mouse? I would definitely have included Floyd Gottfredson’s (and the others who worked with him) run on the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip as one of the best examples of the form.

#16 Alyssa Martin
@ 1:29 am

While I fully believe these strips are all great in their own right, I feel this list was poorly constructed. One REALLY cannot compare single panel strips to gag strips to story strips in any general sense because the qualities that make a strip in each of those categories “great” varies so much.

Heck, I would even argue that one cannot compare strips created in the era prior to Peanuts to those that came after that strip. Strips like Krazy Kat and Popeye were printed on a much larger scale, had a greater number of panels in which to set up a gag, and continuous storylines were not out of the ordinary. The art was far more detailed and it was way more important for a cartoonist to be artistically skilled than it was AFTER the advent of peanuts. (Not that the artistic abilities of Charles Schultz and Bill Watterson were lacking, but the fact is in the 1940’s, Scott Adams, Gary Larson, Cathy Guisewite and Bill Amend never would have made it to print.)

#17 Shane Davis
@ 1:50 am

That list is bogus.

Bloom County is #1. Pogo, Terry and the Pirates and Doonesbury simply cannot compete with snugglebunnies and green & purple snorklewackers.

#18 david taeusch
@ 6:50 am

this list is all too short. you need more than 10 to list the 10 greatest. it is like squeezing 10 pounds of hamburger into a five pound bag. what about Mandrake the Magican, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and others forgotten today but BIG in their heyday, like Smitty by Walter Berndt or Brick Bradford.

#19 John Cole
@ 9:36 am

Any list not including “Eggers” or “Love Is …” simply cannot be taken seriously.

#20 b.j. dewey
@ 10:47 am

Agree with Pete McDonnell and much of his list, also with Alyssa about comparing strips, single-panel gags, etc., and with David about the list being too short.

#21 Donald A. Rex Jr.
@ 7:08 pm

Anyone thinking Charles Schulz was an original concept hasn’t read enough Skippy.

I have to put in a word for Roy Crane, Elzie Segar and Percy Crosby.

#22 Donald A. Rex Jr.
@ 7:14 pm

Remember all things must pass, and it doesn’t serve a useful purpose to divide the comic strip river into distinct eras, because it keeps on flowing so todays debut is tomorrows warhorse.

#23 Larry Levine
@ 9:23 pm

“Crawford” by Chuck Jones is on the top of my list

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