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Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1950s: Making Boomers Giggle

As America pulled out of two decades of despair and fear thanks the Great Depression and World War II, it was only natural that we turned our minds toward happier thoughts, and moving forward. The fifties brought innovations in entertainment, domestic bliss, more mobility, and scientific breakthroughs that are still with us today. And the newspaper comic strips of the 1950s were right there with the rest, blazing a trail to the future that still has us giggling after all these years.

Hopalong Cassidy by Dan Spiegle

First published in 1948, this comic strip is about a cowboy who would get into adventures that usually involved cattle rustlers. This story was set on the American frontier of the late 1800s to early 1900s and lasted until 1970.

Li’l Abner by Al Capp

Li’l Abner was born in Dogpatch, where everyone from “the long-lost land of the free” lives. Abner is a hillbilly who gets into all sorts of situations and misadventures with his family, friends, and neighbors. Capp himself was from the northeast, but he never lost his respect for the rural life.

The Katzenjammer Kids by Rudolph Dirks

The Katzenjammer kids are two naughty, mischievous siblings who live with their grandma. They often get into trouble when they play too many tricks or pull pranks on others in the neighborhood.

Krazy Kat by George Herriman

Krazy is an abandoned pet mouse that lives outside of a brick house with his friend, the all-knowing brick house cat, Ignatz. Krazy is in love with a black and white female cat named Offissa Pup who lives next door to him.

Peanuts by Charles M Schulz

Peanuts was a comic strip created by Charles M Schulz for his son after he lost interest in other comics at the time. Peanuts features a group of children, including Charlie Brown and Snoopy (his beagle). Peanuts ran from 1950-2000 and still runs in syndication in thousands of newspapers around the world today.

Pogo by Walt Kelly

Pogo is a talking swamp creature who lives in Okefenokee Swamp with his friends: Albert Alligator, Mrs. Malaprop the otter, Goofy Goat, Congress Critters (a family of turtle ducks), Bear Cub, and a host of other animals. He was created by newspaper cartoonist Walt Kelly, who also wrote the comic strip for 35 years before his death in 1973. Pogo ran from 1950 until Kelly’s death with reprints continuing today.

Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker

Beetle is an American soldier who has been a major player in the Army ever since his first appearance on September 4, 1950. Beetle Bailey was created by cartoonist Mort Walker and still runs daily today, and as a Sunday feature. The strip focuses on Beetle, who has a good heart and wants to do right, but who is eternally sleepy and always looking for his next place to nap.

The Heart of Juliet Jones by Stan Drake

This newspaper comic strip, created by Stan Drake and first published in 1957, centers around the Jones family of Chicago. The protagonist is Juliet Jones and she has two other siblings: Romeo and Janie Lee. This series ran for more than 30 years until it was discontinued on March 27, 1988.

Marmaduke by Brad Anderson

Marmaduke is a comic strip that has been in publication since 1954. Created by Brad Anderson, this newspaper comic tells the story of Marmaduke and his family: owners Mr. and Mrs. Ed Binkley and their son Darrin (Dudley). The settings for these comics are usually inside or outside the Binkleys’ house.

Barker Bill by Paul Terry

Created in 1954, this newspaper comic strip features Barker Bill and his dog Widgeon. These two are always seen fishing together. The main character of the series is a young boy named Billy who owns his own boat where he goes for these fishing trips with his friend Barker Bill and their trusty canine companion Widgeon.

(Like Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1950s? Then you might like our article about Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1960s, click here.)

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