Comic strips are one of the more ubiquitous forms of entertainment available today. With them appearing in thousands of newspapers all over the US and the world, many of the characters are known to nearly anyone who’s ever picked up a newspaper. The most famous characters tend to be the longest running ones. Many have branched out into other forms of media, including cartoons and movies.
Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead of the comic strip Blondie are one of the longest running couples in the comic strip world. The strip began publishing in 1930, and has been running daily ever since. One notable thing about the long running pair is the changes that have happened in their comic strip lives since they first were introduced. Blondie and Dagwood began as a flappergirl or party girl and the son of a wealthy industrialist respectively. But with the country in the midst of the Great Depression, the strip’s creator Chic Young had the two get married, with Dagwood’s family disowning him, and forcing him to, like the rest of the country, get a real job. Since then, they’ve raised a family and been a continual mirror for domestic life in the US.
Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame is another iconic comic strip character. Charlie Brown first appeared in the comic’s inaugural strip in October 1950 as the butt of its joke, which essentially set the tone for the rest of the strip’s life. The character, often described as having a “permanent case of bad luck,” since been the star of several TV specials, mainly centering around the holidays like Halloween and Christmas. This has served to ingrain his image into the minds of children for the last few decades.
Another comic strip character who’s become famous through other media is Garfield. Since debuting in 1978, the big orange cat has been the subject of several TV specials, a series, and feature films. Like Garfield, Dilbert of his eponymous comic strip has also branched into animated TV, but the strip’s ongoing popularity is based more on the ability for the readers to easily relate to the office life depicted in the comic strip itself.
Finally, one of the most well known comic strip characters is probably Ziggy, of the strip of the same name. The one-panel comic strip appears in many newspapers, and the simplistic art style and humor offered by the format makes it accessible to a wide variety of readers. Though he hasn’t attained the same sorts of fame as other characters in this article, Ziggy is well known and recognizable to nearly anyone.
With comic strips being so pervasive in even the most serious of newspapers, it’s no surprise that many of the longer running characters are so well known. Blondie, Garfield, Charlie Brown, Dilbert, and Ziggy are all well known, established characters who have stayed in the public eye because of their continual relevance. They each offer some sort of commentary on modern life, and are recognizable to nearly anyone who’s picked up their local newspaper.