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Monday, May 2, 2016

Ross Rambles: What I've heard about comic strips

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A syndicated comic strip supplier for our newspaper recently announced that Bill Amend, the creator of the comic strip Foxtrot, is retiring at the conclusion of the current year.

I don't have time for reading comic strips, preferring more intellectual pursuits such as my current project of adjusting Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. I intend to compensate for Einstein's weakness in certain areas of physics.

However, if I did read comics, Foxtrot might be one that I would read. I've heard that it is amusing and popular. The Internet reveals that Bill Amend is 44 years old, which seems to be a bit young for retirement.

I would think that creating comic strips is something you'd only do if you enjoyed it, not like working in a factory or proofreading obituaries.

Amend is not the first popular comic strip creator to retire early. Gary Larson, creator of The Far Side, retired at the start of 1995 and Bill Watterton, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, retired a year later.

These would have been among my all time favorite comic strips if I had read comic strips back then. I was too busy on other matters, such as translating obscure Mesopotamian tracts into Lithuanian. You'd be surprised how few Mesopotamian works had been translated into Lithuanian at the time and what a hardship that placed on Lithuanian teachers of Mesopotamian literature.

Perhaps Larson and Watterton wanted to go out at the height of their popularity and not risk having their material become stale.

Charles Schultz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts, had a career that spanned a half century. He created something of an empire with television specials and merchandising contracts.

He reached the height of his creativity during the 60s, when his characters raised universal concerns through a poignant combination of childish sensibilities expressed with adult articulateness, or so I've been told. I was much too involved back then in my campaign to add a rigorous course in molecular chemistry to the elementary curriculum to actually read comics.

Unfortunately, the Peanuts comic lost most of its humor and its insight in the later days of Schultz's career, or so I've been told.

Hopefully, the Foxtrot comic strip will be replaced by something that provides insight into the human condition in a humorous manner, although I will unfortunately not have time to read it, expecting any day now to be summoned to establish a universally accepted model of stable government for the Middle East.