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June 24, 2007


Filed under: Bill Bickel, Blondie, CIDU, comic strips, comics, humor, Johnny Hart — Cidu Bill @ 3:45 pm


What an odd way to phrase this: Is Dithers saying Johnny Hart was one hell of an ultra-conservative, religious fundamentalist anti-Semite?

Maybe and maybe not, but I have noticed that several of the Hart tributes by fellow cartoonists have been either very awkward or clearly left-handed compliments.

And… You notice hardly anybody seems to have noticed that Brant Parker died too? I mean, even the Big Bopper got more attention than this.


  1. You’re reading too much into it. Johnny Hart was such a good cartoonist that even J.C. Dithers stops ranting and raving about lost productivity just to enjoy his strip.

    As for ignoring Parker, keep in mind that this strip was probably written the day of or after Hart’s death; I think most cartoonists have about a six-week lead time on daily strips. Parker probably hadn’t died yet when the strip was written.

    Comment by Powers — June 25, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  2. I had the same thought when I read this one; it might perhaps be read both ways. Does a compliment from the not-especially-sympathetic Mr. Dithers amount to a back-handed compliment?

    Comment by Brian Leahy — June 25, 2007 @ 9:01 am

  3. My first impression was that Dithers doesn’t consider Hart’s work to be “comics”.

    Comment by brien — June 25, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  4. Even though Dithers is an unsympathetic character, I think the smile on Dagwood’s face shows us that the compliment is sincere.

    My thoughts here are complex. I think “Blondie” is simply tipping its hat to “B.C.” because it was a popular, long-running comic strip. Hart did a lot of preachy, reactionary, mean-spirited strips over the years — especially towards the end — but he also did a bunch of strips that were simply comical observations about life, strips intended as whimsical little day-brighteners and nothing more. I think that’s the Johnny Hart being eulogized in this comic: Hart the entertainer rather than Hart the bigot. Hart might have forgotten what made “B.C.” popular in the first place: the jokes and the characters, not his preaching.

    Weirdly (but fortunately), Hart kept his religious views out of “The Wizard of Id.” “Id” is not preachy in the least; it’s a gleeful dark comedy, a celebration of misanthropy. There’s just a hint of semi-disguised conservatism in it, but mostly “Id” just aimed for laughs.

    Comment by Joe Blevins — June 26, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  5. Joe Blevins:

    I’m confused about how Hart was a bigot.

    Comment by Krusher — June 26, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  6. “Weirdly (but fortunately), Hart kept his religious views out of “The Wizard of Id.” ”

    I think that was an intentional decision. If you follow online comics you possibly know Ozy and Millie. DC Simpson, the writer, left an odd message on ‘other’ strip, a reactionary and radical web strip (though leaning left, not right).

    It went something like this; ‘putting all my political leanings in one comic allowed me to stop inserting it gratuitously into Ozy and Millie; and focus on the character-driven stories.’

    I.e., having two comics enabled the author (I can’t figure out for the life of me if DC is a boy or a girl, and it drives me nuts) to turn one into a soapbox and leave one a fun-filled joyous purely creative expression.

    …considering that their political views are so vehemently opposed, it might tick DC off to be compared to Hart.

    Comment by Steve (2) — June 27, 2007 @ 7:44 am

  7. (I can’t figure out for the life of me if DC is a boy or a girl, and it drives me nuts)

    The short answer: he’s a guy.

    But it’s actually more complicated than one would expect. For a while, back in 2004, he changed his name (not legally, as far as I know) from “David Craig Simpson” to “Dana Claire Simpson”, and was transgendered. I thought that this was still the case, but since I figured that saying “She’s transgendered, biologically male” wouldn’t be taken seriously, I searched the web for something to back this up. (I had learned this from a LiveJournal post that has since been made friends-only, so I couldn’t use that.) It turns out that he’s changed back since then: (As you might guess, Liberal Eagle is D.C. Simpson.)

    – Kef

    Comment by furrykef — June 28, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  8. Sorry, I said 2004, but it was probably 2005.

    Comment by furrykef — June 28, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  9. Maybe “bigot” was too strong a word. That strip about the menorah turning into the cross still bugs me, though.

    Comment by Joe Blevins — June 29, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  10. The menorah (symbol for the law of Moses/Old Testament)turning into the cross (symbol for the law of Christ/New Testament) is simply showing the progression of the old law into the new law. Jesus fulfilled the old law and established the new law.

    Comment by Tim — August 22, 2007 @ 11:41 am

  11. well — some people believe Jesus fulfilled the old law and established the new law.

    That what was the problem

    Comment by Nicole — August 22, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  12. Hmmm — was that clear? — I don’t think so — let me try again

    Not everyone believes in Jesus or that he fulfilled the old testament prophecies. In particular,but not only, the Jews.

    Many people felt that by depicting the “progression of the old law into the new law” Hart meant to invalidate Judaism in some way – and that is was the fuss was about.

    Comment by Nicole — August 22, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  13. This one I truly didn’t get either.

    Love your site, by the way.

    Comment by Beth from Avenue Z — October 10, 2007 @ 11:41 pm

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