Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1960s: Even Hippies Gotta Laugh!

The newspaper comic strips of the 1960s were a large part of American culture. From “Peanuts” to “Blondie”, these “funnies” entertained us all those decades ago, and many still have an impact on our daily lives today. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular comics strips of the 60s.

“Peanuts” by Charles Schulz

Peanuts debuted on October 1950. This comic strip is about a boy named Charlie Brown, who has a fondness for being the underdog and taking life’s blows with beleaguered acceptance. The series still runs today in syndication in newspapers worldwide.

“The Family Circus” by Bil Keane

This comic strip debuted in 1960 and is still running today. The series follows the daily life of a suburban family, as they go about growing — both up and older.

The comic strip is drawn in black and white, with a few spots of color used for decorative purposes.

“Blondie” by Chic Young

“Blondie” debuted on October 1950. The series follows the life of Blondie Boopadoop (a housewife) and her husband Dagwood Bumstead (a white-collar worker) and their comic misadventures with each other, Dagwood’s boss Mr. Dithers (the president of the company he works for), as well as his co-worker Herb Woodley. Blondie and Dagwood share their house with their children, Alexander and Cookie, and their dog Daisy.

“Marmaduke” by Brad Anderson

The comic strip debuted on August 1954. The series follows Marmaduke, a Great Dane, and the life of his owners Dave and Judy Arable as they live in rural Kansas with their two children, Fuzzy and Melissa. Like most newspaper strips which are drawn in color but printed in black-and-white so that newspapers can print them on low-quality newsprint.

The premise of the comic is that Marmaduke’s size and clumsy nature often lead to disaster for him as well as his family members, who usually respond with dry humor rather than anger. The series also contains some social commentary about American life from 1950s

“Beetle Bailey” by Mort Walker

A newspaper comics series about the daily life of Beetle Bailey-an inept American soldier who never does anything right but tries his best (and fails). The main characters are Sergeant Bailey, Private Anthony J. Flemming (nicknamed “Sarge”), Lieutenant George W. Sniffles (“Snitz” or just “The Lieutenant”), and General Halftrack (the commanding officer of the camp).

In 1968 Beetle’s girlfriend Milly was introduced as a supporting character in the series.

“B.C.” by Johnny Hart

A comic strip that is set in prehistoric times and follows the adventures of a group of cavemen trying to survive, primarily led by The Chief (the chief of the tribe). B.C.’s friends are: Noogums, Woobu-Nooga’s son; Ugga-Nooga’s wife; Jogga-A caveman who is a shaman and also the village doctor.

The strip has been running from 1958 to present day.

“Dennis the Menace” by Hank Ketcham

Dennis Mitchell is a little boy who lives in the suburbs of Anywhere, USA with his parents and his dog Ruff. His favorite activity seems to be annoying anyone he can get near (often succeeding), but this often leads him into trouble because Dennis has never learned that adults have their limits. Dennis’s favorite target seems to be Mr. Wilson, his neighbor.

“Hagar The Horrible” by Dik Browne

Hagar The Horrible is set in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. His friends and allies are his son, Eric; a pet raven named Charles who always seems to be complaining about something or other; Father Jacobus (a Catholic Priest); an old geezer known only as “The Old Man”; Olaf, King of Sweden; and, in later strips, the Norwegian King Sven.

The strip’s humor derives from Hagar’s constant struggle with modern times (not to mention his son Eric), coupled with his rather antiquated views on life. Life is filled with problems for The Horrible Viking!

(Like Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1960s? Then you might like our article about Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1950s, click here. Or Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1970s, click here.)

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