Recently I found every comic strip collection available through my local library system. Strips like Peanuts, Garfield, and Calvin and Hobbes have sustained popularity since my childhood. But what about the ones that no one reads anymore? Are they still funny? Should they be “cancelled” under 2021 eyes? Are they relics of their time or do they deserve to be discovered by a new generation? Over the course of this series I’ll look at Wizard of Id, B.C., Hagar the Horrible, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, and any other collections I get my hands on. Today we start in a far off land of the past.
That’s right, two Wizard of Id books! Arguably more Wizard of Id content than anyone else has blogged about in 2021. Recently I read two Wizard of Id collections: I Dig Freedom (1977, Fawcett) and Pick a Card, Any Card (1978, Fawcett). Wizard of Id is from Johnny Hart and Brant Parker.
Really, it’s such an odd concept that isn’t really explored. The titlular Wizard is arguably the third focus on the strip, after the King (is a fink) and Sir Rodney. Nothing about this kingdom is really explored. The king raises taxes, they’re collected, the wizard plays in his lab, people get drunk. The king is short but that’s about the only distinguishing feature. A story of a country that’s not thrilled with their leader can be done anywhere anytime in history. Nothing about Wizard of Id, not even the wizard feels like a story that has any magic or uniqueness to it. Maybe this is a modern complaint. Cartoons alone taught me that there is no end to combinations of teenage crime slueths and a talking something that doesn’t usually talk.
Here are some of my favorites from these two volumes that also sum up the series at this time.
So we have a fat joke under the usual “let me complain about my wife” school of jokes. Some barely subtle racial jokes. I hesitate calling it racism, becasue it’s not from a place of hate. But it is racial. A good dumb joke about an ear of corn. Then some truths that are still true 40 plus years later, and probably true for hundreds of years. My religion is the one true religion, yours is a cult. Gossip is given more weight and validity than news. Leaders see what they want to see and manipulate what doesn’t agree with their agendas.