Comic Strips

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When I was this kid’s age, shortly after I came home from school (after walking barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, even in the summer), the afternoon paper showed up containing about a dozen comics. All second- or third-tier comics, because I lived just outside of New York City and the City papers between them had exclusive regional rights to everything worth reading. Our top strip was, I think, Tiger. Once a week, in the Sunday News, I’d get to see comics the rest of the world had heard of.

Peanuts? B.C.? A few times a year when I went into the City with my father and we picked up the New York Post. And during the summer, when we stayed in an area where an out-of-town edition of the Post was delivered.

So even if the newspapers from his grandfather’s childhood contained more comics strips than they do now — which might or might not be the case (and assuming the kid actually reads newspapers) — this is the Golden Age for “number of comic strips”: 8-year-old me literally had no access to Dick Tracy during the week, while he can choose among hundreds if not thousands of comic strips on a daily basis.

EDITED TO ADD: Come to think of it, “And before we knew it, that was all” needs the CIDU tag.


Because Kit Walker is The Phantom’s civilian name (not a CIDU)


I’m imagining a lot of newspaper comics readers, whose papers, don’t carry The Phantom, thinking “I wish there were a place where they explained these things.”

I wonder whether younger comics readers can even comprehend a time when, if your local paper didn’t carry a particular comic strip, you had no opportunity to read it and might not have even heard of it. Back in the day, newspapers bought exclusive regional rights to a comic: so if you lived just outside of New York City like I did, the News had dibs on almost all the good stuff and the Post had the rest. We got… what was left. I won’t mention the names, because that would sound disrespectful to the creators, but it wasn’t pretty.

Fortunately, we did buy the News on Sunday. The big color comics section was a particular treat for kids who never saw first- (or even second-) tier comics during the week.