I don't know about you, but the best part of my morning is being able to read the comics in the newspaper. Seriously. If I don't get my daily dose of comics, my day is a wreck. I have to do the same with "Dear Abby" but that's another story.
I tend to be sort of critical when it comes to reading newspaper comics. I mean, they're supposed to entertain me, right? Supposed to make me laugh out loud? Some of them just don't.
To me, a great comic is relatable, dramatic, witty, and has a variety of story lines. I've rated all of the comics found on the funny page of the Standard-Examiner and put them into three categories: "Rock Bottom," "So-So" and "Totally Awesome." This is the rundown.
I can only say this: The main problem with the comics in "Rock Bottom" is the fact that they don't have good story lines. They repeat themselves over and over again. For example, in "Beetle Bailey," do we really need to see Beetle get beat up by Sarge in every other strip? Yes, we understand that the General would rather be doing nothing else but playing golf.
The same goes for "Hagar the Horrible"; if there is one comic strip that bothers me the most, it's that one. Hagar the Viking goes to fight, usually loses or ends up stranded on an island with his mate Lucky Eddie, and because of it his marriage is always suffering ... and that's it. That's what every strip is about, one way or another, and the punch lines are not funny at all.
Also included in this category are "Garfield," "Hi and Lois," "Marvin" and "Red and Rover."
"Red and Rover" is a total rip-off of "Calvin and Hobbes," a comic strip about a 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger that is far more entertaining. However, maybe you're like my mother, who grew up with dogs all her life and thinks "Red and Rover" is absolutely hilarious.
Now, I understand that some of these "Rock Bottom" strips are classics, and they may have been funny 50 years ago, but their time has passed. Some of these comics are old enough that they aren't even written by their original writers anymore, such as "Hagar the Horrible."
Mediocre comics include "Pearls Before Swine," "Tundra" and "Frank and Ernest." I've laughed at these a few times, but it hasn't happened in a while.
For starters, the fact that the author of "Pearls Before Swine," Stephan Pastis, includes himself in the comic is just weird. The only thing he does in the strip is make himself look like a fat, lazy illustrator who can't control his cartoon characters. But sometimes I do laugh at how Rat tries to con his friends, because it's always entertaining to see them fall for it.
"Frank and Ernest" is definitely an interesting comic, and I think it's cool that most of their jokes are puns, but the biggest problem I have with it -- and this is just a personal thing -- is, sometimes I don't really understand what they are referencing in the punch line.
"Luann" is a big one on this list. I cannot tell you how much I ADORE the "Luann" comic strip. It's like my funny soap opera for the day. When I don't have time in the morning to read all of the comics, I skip right to that one.
After all, I'm in high school, the "Luann" characters are in high school; I can relate to most of the story lines. Mostly, I love it because of the characters. They all have such different personalities and talents. And to be honest? I have the teensiest, tiniest little crush on Quill, Luann's Australian boyfriend. He's Australian, what's not to love? Even though she's supposed to be mean, Tiffany is so self-centered it's funny and, of course, Luann is the perfect mix of confident and witty.
Comic strips that also rate as "Totally Awesome" are "Family Circus," "Baby Blues" and "F Minus." I love "Family Circus" because the jokes are always so innocent, and I can almost always think back to a time when I would have said the same thing. Also, I come from a family of eight, so I understand the chaos featured in the comic strip.
"F Minus" is great because it doesn't need a whole bunch of characters or background stories. All it needs is the picture that's been drawn and a witty one-liner; suddenly it's funnier than half the comics on the page. "F Minus" gives you room to think about how the story may end after the one-liner, and you get to imagine what could have happened beforehand that caused it to be said.
The other nominees in this category are "Zits," "Pickles," "Real Life Adventures" and "Dustin." Of course I love "Zits," it's also about a kid my age and what he goes through in his teenage life; definitely relatable. The couple in "Pickles" are too funny, the way they nag at each other and tease each other. I love how Nelson, the grandson, looks up to his grandfather, but it also kind of makes me wonder how he's going to turn out, considering all of his grandfather's "wise advice."
So here's what I propose: I think everyone should be able to vote on the comics shown in the newspaper. There are a few that have run their course; "Hagar the Horrible," I'm directing that one at you. These could be replaced by much funnier comic strips.
Maybe we could even bring in some more like "Luann" or "Zits," ones that are relatable, witty and have good story lines. Or, even better, a "'Luann-Zits' Mash-up!" If we did that, I would practically worship the funnies page.
Olivia Andrus is a junior at Ogden High School. She enjoys traveling, playing the piano and king-sized Kit-Kats. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.