Monday, April 09, 2007

B.C. - R.I.P.

B.C. cartoonist Johnny Hart died the other day at age 76, reportedly while sitting at his desk working on storyboards for future comic strips. I think he might have appreciated that he died on Easter Sunday considering his very aggresive Christian evangelizing through his comic strips during his later years.
I was never a big fan of B.C. but it had the advantage of having always been around. It was a nearly omnipresent comic strip, in every paper I ever read as my family moved around from one place to the next as I was growing up. In recent years it had become an irritant because of the way Hart injected it with his right-wing political views - couched in holier-than-thou Christian Coalition smarminess. But I would often read it just to see what kind of outrageous thing he would say each day, otherwise the strip would have been relegated to the growing pile of gag-a-day, boring, long-past-their-due-date strips that I regularly skip over each day (Marmaduke, Hi and Lois, Snuffy Smith, etc.)
Now that Hart is gone I hope that his strip will be gracefully retired and allow for more room on the static comic pages for some of the fresh, new strips that are hungry for a chance to breakthrough. Unfortunately, the Syndicate may have other plans as this quote from the AP story implies:

Richard Newcombe, founder and president of Creators Syndicate said “B.C.” and “Wizard of Id” would continue. Family members have been helping produce the strips for years, and they have an extensive computer archive of Hart's drawings to work with, he said.

Great! The heart and soul of B.C. is gone, but they’re going to continue cranking out daily strips using rehashed and recycled drawings stored in a computer database. I hope that most newspapers will have the good sense to drop the strip if that is what they are going to pull. There are already far too many “zombie” strips out there that continue to haunt our comics pages long after the original creative talents behind them have departed this world.

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