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Newspaper Comic Strips of the 1970s: Groovy Guffaws

Mention the 1970s, and all sorts of images come to mind: disco, orange shag carpet, bell bottoms, Watergate. But to kids of the era who are still out here in the wilds of life today, you can add one more icon to the list — the funny papers. And, for us — and for those we’ve influenced — these popular newspaper comic strips of the 1970s will never go out of style.

– Blondie: Created by Chic Young, this strip ran from 1930 and is still going strong today. Without giving too much away, the plot of Blondie featured a gregarious wife and mother who is married to an ever so slightly befuddled husband named Dagwood Bumstead. The comic was set in suburban Utopia, where the characters were always in search of some new adventure. Along the way, Blondie endeared herself to readers with her sassy quips and over-the-top zany adventures.

– Peanuts: Charles Schulz was not only a gifted cartoonist but also an insightful observer of human nature. The strip’s simple drawings and unassuming prose captured the day-to-day life of a group of kids. Peanuts follows Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt (Charlie’s best friend), Pigpen, and othres as they navigate through childhood with humor and grace.

Hagar the Horrible

Created in 1977 by Dik Browne, this strip follows a fearsome (though domesticated) Viking warrior as he tries to keep his family and friends safe from various enemies. The comic is notable for its use of dialogue that allows readers to infer what people are thinking while they speak.

Garfield

Garfield is a fat cat who eats and sleeps, while his owner Jon Arbuckle tries to keep track of him. The strip has been written by Jim Davis since 1978, and remains one of the most popular comic strips and characters of all-time. Garfield has also made his way to TV several times and even spawned at least one spinoff, U.S. Acres.

Doonesbury

Conceived by Gary Trudeau while he was still in college at Yale, Doonesbury spun off into a full-blown comic strip in 1970 and evolved through the 1970s to become the most biting political cartoon — and one of the most prominent sources of political commentary — of the entire decade. Today, Doonesbury is “new” for only Sunday features, though older repeat strips run throughout the week in syndication.

Dennis the Menace

Created in 1951 by Hank Ketcham, Dennis is a little boy who loves to make trouble and has no fear of being chastised or punished. These traits often lead him into the company of his next-door neighbor Mr Wilson, which always leads to more trouble.

Cathy

Cathy was created by Cathy Guisewite in 1976. Cathy is a single, twenty-something woman who often has to contend with her family and friends meddling in her business. Cathy ran daily and on Sundays until early October of 2010.

Pickles

Created by Brian Crane in 1976, Pickles is a four-year old boy who loves to eat anything and everything that’s not nailed down. His best friends are his sister Arnie (a three year old girl) and their pet bulldog, Duke.

The Family Circus

Created by Bil Keane in 1960, the Family Circus is a long-running strip featuring an American family. It runs in daily newspapers and is still a Sunday feature in most papers across the nation.

Hi and Lois

Created by Dik Browne in 1954, the strip features an American suburban family and their neighbors. It still runs daily and on Sundays, with older strips also running in syndication in many outlets.

Beetle Bailey

Created in 1950 by Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey depicts military life through the exploits of the chill and sleepy Beetle, who is always trying to find a way to sneak away for a nap. This strip still runs daily and on Sundays, and Walker continued to run the show right up until his death at age 94 in 2018.

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

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