Some people will turn to the comic strips in a newspaper first thing. Then, if they have the time, they read the rest of the paper. That's me!
When I stop and think about it, a lot of things that I know I have learned from reading the "funnies." That's what we used to call them before professional journalists attempted to sophisticate us by referring to "comic strips." Sometimes there is a certain amount of humor, satire and good common sense, combined to send us a useful message.
I remember some of the comics such as "Maggie and Jiggs". Maggie had a rolling pin with which she could knock a fly off the wall at 20 paces. Poor Jiggs was often her target, especially when he mentioned going out after a bucket of corned beef and cabbage.
Then there was Andy Gump. He was a strange looking fellow with a little mustache and a funny looking Adam's apple.
The strip I liked best was the "Katzenjammer Kids". They were like twin demons and were always playing dirty tricks on the old German captain and his wife.
Then along came Little Orphan Annie and her dog Sandy. She was always getting into some dangerous situation, but you just knew that Daddy Warbucks, wearing his diamond stickpin, would come along and rescue Annie and Sandy.
I could never forget Mutt and Jeff. They were two very unlike fellows that got into some strange situations without even trying. Poor Mutt was the one that caught all the flak.
Some of the characters had a message for us. Popeye, with his little corncob pipe, was usually touting the wonders of spinach. You got the impression that if you ate enough of it, you would become a giant. He had a girlfriend named Olive Oyl, who would never win a beauty contest.
Speaking of gorgeous girls, we must remember Lil' Abner and cute little Daisy Mae. Mammy Yokum gave Pappy a bath every Saturday night and trimmed his toenails with what looked like hedge clippers.
For those of us who liked high tech stories, there was Dick Tracy and his wrist radio. He was at least 20 years ahead of his time. It took B.O. Plenty to keep us from taking off into the wild blue yonder.
For true adventure, you couldn't beat Steve Canyon and all the fascinating lady friends he had all around the world. There was later a take-off from this strip that was called "Terry and the Pirates".
Many of these comic strips were some of my first reading material. They were a diversionary change from Aesop's Fables, Jack and the Beanstalk, Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Cinderella. Some good TV programs and movies were adaptations from comic strip characters.
The funnies have changed over the years. Today, some are directed at adults only and depict varying amounts of satire. I still read them, but sometimes I'm not sure that I understand them. However, if you want to know the truth, if I find an out-of-town newspaper that doesn't have a comic page, I won't buy it. That should tell you something!