Brooke McEldowney Been Paying Mortgage at 9 Chickweed Lane for 30 Years

Brooke McEldowney celebrated 30 years of 9 Chickweed Lane comic strips in his usual artistic way (above).

9 Chickweed Lane began showing up in newspapers on July 12, 1993.

above: from the July 12, 1993 Cinncinati Post (via
© Brooke McEldowney

That first strip can be read, as part of the entire 9 Chickweed Lane archive, at GoComics. The early strips can be part of your daily feed by adding 9 Chickweed Lane Classics, currently up to 1999, to your GoComics feed.

Those early years, along with selected other years and Brooke comics, can be had as collected print editions.

10 thoughts on “Brooke McEldowney Been Paying Mortgage at 9 Chickweed Lane for 30 Years

  1. I can’t get over the last line of that newspaper article. “9 Chickweed Lane” replaces “Foxtrot” on The Post’s comic page. What else did The Post do? Replace “Calvin and Hobbes” with “Funky Winkerbean”?

  2. Pretty typical example of his work. It’s unclear what is going on, in part because he’s too lazy to draw backgrounds and sets everything in an empty void or only darkness. Edda’s legs on display, for no apparent reason other than the author’s libido, and Amos playing to piano but who is the audience? And isn’t he a cello player not a pianist?

    1. I play bassoon contrabassoon, saxophones and piano. The piano is a basic instrument for many.
      Amos might be able to play other instruments as well.

  3. The 30th anniversary of the comic but only like the first anniversary of that time he got fired from the LA times for saying a racial slur, or like the third anniversary of when he had his gay character turn straight and abandon his boyfriend on pride month. It is however the 30th anniversary of him including even a single black character in his comic.

  4. Bill Amend told me that the Post editor Paul Knue had objected to the word “hell” in a strio, and dropped it altogether.

    Calvin and Hobbes and Funky Winkerbean were in the Post from March 3, 1986 until.September 12, 1992. Then the Post got rid of Funky for Dave.

  5. Our local paper added 9CL, sometime in the mid-90s, and I liked it immediately. The strip was mostly a gag-a-day although there were short arcs that never lasted more than a week. The biting humor kept it as a must-read daily event for me. And then, Brooke suddenly decided to move the characters forward and out of the school days environment. While on the surface this opened up opportunities for new characters and longer, more involved story lines, the dialogue that once seemed funny from adolescents was not quite as funny coming out of the mouths of adults living in the real world. Most of the new characters seemed to be cut from the same cloth as Edda and Amos, and while those two could carry a daily gag, stories involving these characters were no longer fun to read. Everybody talked with exactly the same voice and the young women all had the exact same body type as Edda. Only the men were differently built but all of them were essentially Amos, regardless of appearance.

    How do you like, or how can you relate to, characters that are narcissistic, pretentious, mean-spirited, and entitled? Reading the strip became less of a daily ritual and my paper eventually folded so I simply no linger saw the strip. I eventually found online comic strips and connected again with strips from my past reading habits like 9CL. Boy, was I in for a cultural shock. Suddenly the strip seemed to be focused on couples having sex in public places (on a diners’ tabletop; in a hot air balloon; in any available body of water (lake, bathtub, drainage ditch); swimming pool; cemetery (minutes before their wedding in a Catholic Church!); elevator; office building (with seven million Chinese watching!); crowded Manhattan sidewalk (involving Amos licking Edda’s “toe cleavage”, certainly a new phrase for many readers). And to make this all ickier than possible, Brooke introduced the couple’s soul sucking twins, impossibly named Lolly and Polly, who magically transformed from babies to ambulatory toddlers within a few months. The two added to the overall skeeziness of the strip by listening to the vivid sex dreams of their babysitters or watching their parents hump like rabbits while painstakingly taking notes, using their binoculars when necessary, all the while scouring the thesaurus for just the right, most pretentious word possible. Aren’t three year-olds just the cutest thing ever?

    Besides the relentless, soft porn pushed by Brooke, there is more than a touch of misogyny in the strip. No matter how successful, smart, rich or talented a woman is, she cannot be defined as a person unless she is hooked up with some man. And we are not talking about just any man; these are the most repulsive, pretentious twits who ever walked this earth, men who become unglued if a woman merely coos at them or shows them a bit of skin. The consistent and relentless message from Brooke is that a woman’s value is directly correlate to the shape of her “gams”, which even though he can’t draw them very well, he clearly spends hours and hours getting just the right shade.

    Even more disturbing than Brooke’s view of women is his continued interest in the sexual awakening of young and adolescent children. Again and again, and yet again, we see Edda and Amos wondering where babies come from and what do people do on their wedding night. Sometimes they are six, or eight, or ten, or twelve as Brooke ping-pongs without rhyme or reason to different points in his heroes’ life with the same unanswered questions, which are asked of every adult they come in contact. This obsession is simply indefensible.

    Yet another disturbing story was the “de-gaying” of Seth, Edda’s one-time dance partner. For 15 years, Seth had been gay or, in Brooke’s waffling on the issue, 87% gay (holy cow) and a guy who had established a long-term relationship with his boyfriend, Mark. Yet, it turns out that he wasn’t really that gay and when a former ballerina, who had mouthed anti-gay rants, shows up, he falls madly in love with her. What follows is an excruciating arc which included scene after scene of gratuitous sex as if to prove that it only takes the right woman to make a gay man straight. All of this during Pride Month – geez.

    And, lastly, Brooke followed that up what is likely the most ineptly written World War II story ever in any media with certified loony Thorax cast as a spy battling Nazis who made those in Hogan’s Heroes look like geniuses. The totally incoherent plot ended with Brooke being dropped by the Los Angeles Times after he used a racist epithet, ironically the only aspect of the story that was historically accurate. You might expect some kind of apology from Brooke but the silence has been totally within character because of his inability to acknowledge he has done something wrong.

    So 9CL has become again a daily read for me. Not because of the humor but because of how awful it has become. You just don’t often get to see a daily train wreck but 9CL definitely provides your chance.

    1. This has been exactly my experience, except that I didn’t start reading it again. Perhaps I should for the sake of the train wreck.

  6. Sounds like some of you have forgotten what it was like being young, innocent and curious about sex. It is always about sex and life’s mysteries that kids are thinking about. Even though I am of a certain age I vividly remember being totally in the dark about such things as a kid. As I’ve watched generation after generation being exposed to more and more suggestive content it’s no wonder each generation starts younger and younger to be curious and yes, experiment and engage in adult activities. I came across this comic strip late in it’s 30 year (so far) run. I found it to be sexy, provocative and at times silly and confusing. The characters’ libidos seems true to life and refreshing. The drawing is lovely and can be darn near erotic. A rarity in newspapers. The lack of background and his total disregard of the “box” is imaginative and refreshing. Very much original and occasionally surreal. The transgressions cited in other comments may be unfortunate or may be more a reality of human frailties and confusions. The human condition warts and all. Is the strip perfect, do I like all the characters; no (looking at you Thorax) but it’s a must read for me. Thank you Mr. McEldowney for your take on life, sex and human nature.

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