A history of how America experienced the Cold War and the transition to the post-9/11 era as read through four fairly mainstream/widely-read comic strips. Chapter One: Pogo. Chapter Two: Doonesbury. Chapter Three: Bloom County. Chapter Four: The Boondocks.
There’s a geneaological relationship between these strips, each one clearly owes something stylistically and thematically to the one before it, but also does something completely unprecedented in the mainstream of the genre.
I don’t know anywhere near enough about underground comics/comix of the time to say anything about the ways in which these strips were themselves the product of stuff going on away from the mainstream years earlier. I’d love to take the time to learn that history.
The weakest relationship, some might say, is between Bloom County and Boondocks, but that only holds true if you focus on the fantastical elements of the former; MacGruder wasn’t writing about talking waterfowl. But Bloom County was initially about kids and politics — Milo, Binkley, and Oliver, to me, seem like the models for Huey and Riley. Kids who go to school and live normal kid lives, but who make observations worthy of much more experienced minds. The grown-ups in both strips share similarities too, often in terms of how they stand in for particular social groups — well-meaning but clueless liberals; old men who feel out of touch with the world; there are others, but I’m drawing a blank here.
I’m gonna come back to this.