Animated movies are now commonly finding their rightful place at the top table. Disney achieving Oscar nominations for Best Picture, for example. The biggest television show of all-time is arguably The Simpsons, another example of the modern day animation triumph. Superhero movies are the biggest earners right now – the true summer blockbusters as franchises spawn our latest Hollywood superstar, hit after hit, spin offs, TV series, video games, merchandise, and so on and so forth. My point is most of these originate from drawings in comic books. And as people search high and low for the next big thing, I’m over here sticking with the daily short comic strip in a newspaper.
It’s something I’ve grown up with, and will always find time to read. The most famous example would be Peanuts (first printed in 1950) by Charles M. Schulz, a franchise in itself making stars of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all the gang over the years. Turned into TV specials synonymous with Christmastime in America and now making marks in Hollywood too. The old original books are still a real treat if ever you get chance to pick one up second hand.
Dilbert (began 1989) by Scott Adams was another huge global success speaking for the 90’s and 00’s office worker, again the success of which saw Dilbert & co. escaping the limits of the 4/5 square formula with a TV show amongst many endorsed products.
Are there any others out there with such potential?
DISCOVER A NEW COMIC STRIP TODAY!
I’ve picked a top 10 that deserve more recognition than they have had so far:
Citizen Dog (1995-2001) by Mark O’Hare
Mark O’Hare has a successful career in film and television; heavily involved with SpongeBob, Rocko’s Modern Life and Minions. But we STILL love Citizen Dog more! We had the honour of interviewing him during a global pandemic…
Safely Endangered by Chris McCoy
We stumbled across Chris at a Manchester comic-con a few years ago – he’s a thoroughly nice chap – fell in love with his comic strip. took the chance to interview him and have since seen him published! Is there even more to come?
Calvin & Hobbes (1985-1995) by Bill Watterson
Andy Capp (since 1957) by Reg Smythe
This classic, global phenomenon is now in the capable hands of writer Sean Garnett – read our interview here.
Beau Peep (since 1978) by Roger Kettle and Andrew Christine
The Gambols (since 1950) by Barry and Dobs Appleby
Fred Basset (1963-1991) by Alex Graham
The Broons (since 1936) by R. D. Low and Dudley D. Watkins
This is quintessentially Scottish, you may be more familiar with it’s cousin Oor Wullie?
Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand
Lio by Mark Tatulli
If you love Halloween all-year-round then this is the comic strip for you! We spoke to Mark about his career – see here!
I implore you to go and read some of these. The escapism of the worlds created in such little space, the humour in the stories and the punchlines, the expressions on the faces of the characters tell you so much and there’s definitely a theme of love and friendship running throughout these pages. Enough for a summer blockbuster? Maybe not, but if I was Aardman I’d be taking a look at these right now before anyone else jumps on it.