Comic strips from beyond the grave

Let it be said right now: If and when I die, will not continue in a form ghostwritten by my children. I hope they actually have the fortitude and desire to go do something of their own making.

And we have enough of this sort of thing already. Let’s enter into evidence Reason #142 why newspapers have gone stale: Have you looked at the The Register-Guard comics page lately? (I was ranting about this on Twitter the other day.)

Here are some “comic” strips still running in the paper even though the creator of the strip is now dead (Many of these spirit on thanks to the children of the creator):

  • “Blondie”
  • “B.C.”
  • “Hagar the Horrible”
  • “Ziggy”
  • “Frank and Ernest”
  • “Dennis the Menace”
  • “Wizard of Id”
  • “Peanuts”
  • And now, with the passing this week of Bil Keane, “Family Circus”
  • And I see that “Beetle Bailey” is co-written by creator Mort Walker’s son Greg. So when 88-year-old Mort finally does succumb to the unstoppable march of time, I’m sure we will continue — for years to come — to watch Gen. Halftrack subject the buxom Miss Buxley to a hostile work environment. I suppose this sort of thing was considered funny back when Mort started this strip in 1950. But, boy, considering she’s been on the job for 40 years (she didn’t appear in the strip till 1971), Miss Buxley looks great!

What does this have to do with bicycling in Eugene? Absolutely nothing.

Well, maybe it’s not all that different from people who say bicycles have no place on the road: people who cannot cope with change; people who would call the newspaper to complain if “Hagar the Horrible” — or heaven forbid “Peanuts” — ceased to be in the paper — which is probably why they are still there; people for whom any change at all is threatening; people for whom a new bike lane is an outrage.

At least the creator of what may have been the best newspaper comic strip of all time had the good sense to walk away when it had run its course — and to take his stuffed tiger and go home.

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