April 15th, 2011

Sunday Funnies

by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman

My parents didn’t read me the Sunday funnies. I don’t think I’d have let them. For me, reading the Sunday funnies was an intensely intimate activity.

My older sisters and little brother and I were deposited at my Grandma B’s apartment after church on Sunday mornings while Mom and Dad got a dose of peace and quiet elsewhere until noon when the commotion resumed at our house. At Grandma’s, there was a feast of toast and pancakes and goetta – a local fried gruel made of sausage and oatmeal and lord, maybe wallboard flakes – that we loved. But the best part of those mornings was spreading out the Sunday comics section of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Grandma’s vast bed. The colorful pages seemed as big as her quilt.

I remember Snuffy Smith and Pogo best because they were packed with lush linework and indecipherable dialect that I imagined to be funny. B.C. was the funny “new” strip. Mary Worth and Apartment 3G reminded me of the soap operas my mom watched while ironing, so they gave me a warm feeling without bothering to read them. Peanuts wasn’t so much funny to me as real – I shared Charlie Brown’s loneliness and Linus’s philosophical bent. I didn’t understand Snoopy, the free spirit. We didn’t have those in Cincinnati in the early ‘60’s.

For our upcoming book Zits Sunday Brunch, we’ve invited some of our cartooning friends to talk about their memories of reading the Sunday funnies when they were little. Their reminiscences will be sprinkled throughout the book. As Richard Thompson wrote me, “Most cartoonists have vivid memories of reading the comics as kids and how it caused something in their heads to go Ping and they turned into cartoonists.” We hope this will inspire the revival of the sweet tradition of reading Sunday comics on actual newsprint.

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