Thursday, December 11, 2014

Get your chuckles from the comics

Though I don’t read each and every one, I receive daily emails from  They bill their service as “eclectic excerpts delivered to your email every day.” As a comic strip lover, I made time to read a recent story about Charles Schulz and Peanuts.  I smiled as I was reminded that I have enjoyed comic strips all my life.

As a child growing up in New York City, I read Dennis the Menace, Hi and Lois and The Family Circus and got hooked on the stories that evolved in Dick Tracy, Mary Worth, Superman and Brenda Starr.  My parents didn’t buy me very many comic books, but we were friends of a family with two daughters slightly older than me, and they had comic books galore.  It was at their house, in the basement rec room that I read my first Archie comic.  More than those, though, I enjoyed all the super hero comics--Superman, Batman and the Marvel characters.

Wonder Woman was a favorite, and I also watched the TV show with Lynda Carter back in the 70’s.  I was intrigued by the write-ups on the new book about Wonder Woman’s creator, but I’d rather see a Wonder Woman movie than read a book about the strange life of her creator. I’ve discovered that Wonder Woman will soon appear in two movies with other super heroes and in one as the main character. Can’t wait.

These days, I get my comic fix daily in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and I’m sure there are those out there who find that odd.  I’ve encountered folks who look at me with disdain when I mention a comic that caught my eye and are incredulous that I admit to this habit. I am left to imagine that they think my behavior marks me as shallow or uneducated, and I say, “To each his own.”  I’ve encountered just as many folks who get a chuckle, as I do, out of reading the comics.  Not long ago I was at a friend’s house, and he made it a point to show me Pickles in the Sunday paper, and we laughed together. That’s one of my favorites these days, along with Crankshaft.

 Crankshaft is billed as a comic curmudgeon, and he is known for mixing up his words and making up new ones along the way.  One of my favorite Crankshaft words is dyslexiconic, used to describe his word mix-ups.  I think of dyslexiconic as the modern version of Mrs. Malaprop’s way with words.  How shallow can I be if I know that the word malapropism comes from a character named Mrs. Malaprop in the play The Rivals?

Not only is the dyslexiconic strip hanging on the side of my fridge, but when my husband gets cranky, I regularly call him a crudgemudgeon, another great word from Crankshaft.  That usually gets a chuckle.  I wonder, “Were comic strips started as a counterbalance to the news?” Regardless, given the endless stories of strife found in today’s papers, I’m betting everyone could use a comic strip chuckle.

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