Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley is quite possibly my favorite comic strip. Over the weekend, I learned that Matt Groening, creator and illustrator of The Simpsons and Futurama, won cartoonist of the year, but I hadn’t heard anything about the other awards. I learned today that Darby Conley won the Reuben Award for Newspaper Comic Strip.
The way I learned about it shows an interesting coincidence. The May 28th comic in the 2003 Get Fuzzy day-by-day calendar shows Satchel the dog reading the comics page of a newspaper and griping that he doesn’t like the strip that has replaced Peanuts. Rob the human is wearing a shirt like Charlie Brown’s pale shirt with the dark, jagged stripe. In the last frame, Satchel asks if Charlie Brown ever got to kick the football. (One of my bigger moments of sadness following Charles Schulz’ death was the realization that Charlie Brown would never kick the football.) After reading Wednesday’s comic, I wondered if its placement in the calendar on May 28 marked the day Charles Schulz died. I followed an information impulse to find out. In my initial search of LexisNexis, the first article I found indicated that the Reuben Awards held this past weekend included a trip to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa where Charles’ widow, Jean, hosted a picnic for the cartoonists. A sidebar to the San Francisco Chronicle article–a footnote in LexisNexis–listed the Reuben Award winners, including Darby. Charles Schulz died on Saturday, February 12, 2000, so the printing of this comic just after Darby visits the Charles Schulz museum is merely a coincidence.
News people don’t usually talk much about comic strips. Get Fuzzy is one of the main reasons why I subscribe to The Boston Globe. Some weeks, it’s the only thing I read in the paper. And sometimes, it’s the only thing worth reading in the paper.
Readers have suggested some links to add to this item. Brian Alvey has some links about “Get Fuzzy” on his blog. Alex recommends reading “Let’s Get Fuzzy: Can newspaper comics be saved? The answer rests in these paws.” by Coury Turczyn.