Seven Most Depressing Characters in the History of Comic Strips

Categories: Lists
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Sunday morning comics are a bit of a dying art form. Thanks mainly to the interwebs killing off the newspaper industry, reading the comics on a Sunday morning is becoming more and more a thing of the past.

But maybe kids today are better off not reading the funny papers. Because, looking back on it, it's painfully clear they were filled with some depressing shit. Why the hell were we so eager for our parents to hand over the comic section? Oh look, Charlie Brown needs therapy! Neat!

The crap that we would read on our parent's bed while they read about the latest atrocities going on the world were really no different. In honor of that, we give you the seven most depressing comic strip characters ever:

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7. Cathy: She's in her mid-30s, single, is a cat lady, and is quite frumpy. Nothing wrong with any of that, per say. But Cathy tends to drown her sorrows in chocolate and carbs and makes faces and says "Ack!" a lot, which is not a catchphrase that inspires confidence. She constantly battles with her love/hate relationship with food, her well meaning but annoying-ass mother, her failing love life and her job. Basically, Cathy is exactly like all of us, which is the most depressing fucking thing of all.

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6. Jon Arbuckle: Like Cathy, Jon is in his 30s, is single, works a dead-end job, and is very much aware of the utter shittiness his life has become. What's worse is all he really has are his cat and dog. His dating life is non-existent. He constantly tries to ask out Liz, the girl he has a crush on, but always screws it up because he has zero self confidence. And when he does manage to get a date, it inevitably blows up in his face. You can actually see how sad Jon's existence is in the popular web comic Garfield Minus Garfield, where it's just Jon being Jon. And holy shit bananas, it's sad, creepy, and utterly depressing.

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5. Garfield: Besides being a snarky dick and making people's Mondays more unendurable by declaring how much he hates Mondays on Facebook pictures and office coffee mugs everywhere (he's a cat, but he hates Monday just like you!), Garfield is a self-loathing, monotone talking, comfort-food-eating slob. He acts like a total asshole with his dog friend Odie, makes his owner Jon look like a dweeb, and eats lasagna all the goddamn time. If Garfield were human, he'd be the balding middle-aged fat guy working at the local comic book store.

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48 comments
ChaosRocket
ChaosRocket

I can't believe how many comments it took before someone pointed out that Jon is a cartoonist.

blackcatsearching
blackcatsearching

We have been getting many new users lately who don't seem to know the finer points of our rules. 

guesswho
guesswho

Garfield was my favorite TV cartoon as a kid ... witty, sarcastic, not depressing at all!

LeonNelda
LeonNelda

Seven Most Depressing Characters in the History of Comic Strips...@redears:disqus my best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here, CashHuge.com

demoncat_4
demoncat_4

glad i am not the only one who thought both cathy and john should be  considered depressing characters. though cathy did get irving and is pregnant. plus Liz is going out with john. as for garfield if he were human he would proably be dead from all the lassana he has eaten over the years. and can't believe funky did not make this list.

keith
keith

Wow, I'm always looking to loosen my day by finding writers (only because you can type) who I no longer need to, or want to, read. Thanks for freeing up my day by having the first thing I ever read of yours be a handful of uneducated, unresearched crap. Way to sprinkle in your F-bombs for shock value to those who think they are an intellectual because they can now see and absorb them. Charles Schultz knew more about life, and still knows more now even though he's dead, than you will ever know. Stop writing about cartooning and write about something you know about...Something like Chris Joseph is the real idiot. I'm sure your main source, Wikipedia, has information.

You had me at, "Who's Funky Winkerbean?"...please.

Referendum
Referendum

I like the topic but your lack of research is a little disturbing. Yes, it's not an important topic,but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and get your facts staight. And, dude, spell "per se" right or have some copy editors to back you up.

Spatulasidekick
Spatulasidekick

I think this article is really funny. 

I really don't care if there are inaccuracies in the "research." That critique could really only come from the safety of a computer. As for "per se"... yes, this is incorrect spelling and font but Miami New Times has a substantial editorial staff. The editor - whose job it is to EDIT - didn't catch it, so... I suggest chilling out, kiddos. Actually, I challenge anyone to verify that they don't make stupid mistakes at least once out of every ten tweets (or whatever it is the kids are using to annihilate attention span nowadays). I realize tweets do not represent professional writing but you're still living in a glass house, as far as I'm concerned. My advice: get over your superior selves and enjoy your lives. Learn to laugh when something's funny instead of trying to prove how smart you are. You look pretty stupid from where I'm sitting.

Nprfan1
Nprfan1

If Cathy is a cat lady how come she owns a dog?

JB
JB

It must be said that "Garfield Minus Garfield" is a blatant and inferior and much less ambitious ripoff of the Arbuckle project:

http://tailsteak.com/arbuckle

In 1978, Jim Davis began a newspaper comic strip called "Garfield". For almost thirty years, this strip has endured, primarily because its inoffensive, storyless humour is immediately accessible. It is, if not quite the Lowest Common Denominator of the comic world, at least as close to it as one can get without being obviously mediocre.The comic changes dramatically when one removes the thought bubbles."Garfield" changes from being a comic about a sassy, corpulent feline, and becomes a compelling picture of a lonely, pathetic, delusional man who talks to his pets. Consider that Jon, according to Garfield canon, cannot hear his cat's thoughts. This is the world as he sees it. This is his story.As there are over 13,000 Garfield strips, transcribing all of Arbuckle is too great a job for one man. But, as the scripts are already available, I have elected to outsource it. Anyone can make an Arbuckle strip by simply redrawing an existing Garfield strip and rendering it as realistically as possible, given the material. These are first-come-first-served, so check to see if the strip you want to draw is already taken before you start

B Hill
B Hill

Hahahaha! This is great.

captainswift
captainswift

The movie aside, in the world of Casper the Friendly Ghost, "ghosts" are just a kind of entity that exists, not the spirits of dead people. Mr. and Mrs. Casper's parents were ghosts who had a baby ghost that is now (and perpetually) a roughly 8-year-old ghost.

Blurgle
Blurgle

So you wrote this article without even doing the most basic research? Dude, this is all about your own prejudices, not the newspaper comics industry.

The fact that you stereotype Cathy as a "crazy cat lady" is a prime example. There are any number of good reasons to loathe Cathy without dragging out the tired stereotype beloved by college-age males that any woman who hasn't caught a man by a certain age is a cat-mad, neurotic, worthless, pathetic figure of fun deserving sneering contempt.

Johnny_Iron
Johnny_Iron

What about "Funky Winkerbean?"  You could make a Top Ten list just by using characters from that one strip.

Bobdingus
Bobdingus

I don't think the guy who wrote this has looked at comic strips lately. Get Fuzzy and Funky Winkerbean should be at the top of the list.

Matthew Z. Wood
Matthew Z. Wood

Oh, I should say you nailed The Lockhorns. They'd be on my list too, as would Andy Capp, Homer Simpson's favorite wife-beating drunk. After that, I think I'd have to start plumbing the depths for such horrors as virtually unemployed tv watchers Mallard Fillmore and Spider Man.

Chris Joseph
Chris Joseph

Thanks for the correction on Cathy and the update on Jon's love life, everyone (and the grammar correction. Hoozah!!). Haven't read these comics since I was a kid. Hence the theme of this post.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate that you take this shit so damn seriously.

per say. 

John Watson2
John Watson2

What, no Ziggy? No Thirsty (Hi 'n Lois' drunkard neighbor)? No anybody from the Family Circus?

BaHa
BaHa

What's depressing is an ill-informed, ill-written (per say?) article.  And an incredible paucity of imagination: You do know that there are adjectives beyond fucking and nouns beyond asshole, right? 

Nickelscott
Nickelscott

A correction: Jon Arbuckle has been in a relationship with Liz the vet for about four years now. Also he doesn't work a dead-end job; he's a cartoonist. Might help if you actually READ the comics you're slagging.

Karl
Karl

The only way you can justify leaving the entire cast of Funky Wiinkerbean out of this list is if decide that FW is too fucking depressing to even be considered a comic strip -- which would be an entirely valid judgement. IMO.

sayso
sayso

It's "per se", dude.

ReFlex76
ReFlex76

From the fist two I can tell how out of touch/date this list is (no Funky Winkerbean characters?!).

Cathy:- Quite the opposite of a cat lady, she's the proud owner of a dog, the indeterminate small breed Electra.- The last two years of her comic she was happily married to long-time boyfriend Irwin.

Jon:- Not really single now that he's dating Liz; you know, the one he "has trouble asking out."  Their dates are still disasters, though.

Really, Lisa Moore from Funky Winkerbean, who:- Got pregnant as a teenager.- We later find out through rape.- Had to give up child form said pregnancy.- Got blown up by a terrorist bomb (seriously; post Oklahoma City thing)- Got cancer.- Had cancer return.- Got improper treatment for said cancer due to a misdiagnosis.- Gets to suffer every possible bit in her final moments (including losing eyesight).

Bill Purkayastha
Bill Purkayastha

So now I not only have Garfield to despise, I have Garfield without  Garfield. Thanks soooooo much.

Thylassa
Thylassa

Cathy isn't a cat person.  She owns a dog.  I'm sad that I know this.

TJDestry
TJDestry

And then there's the minor fact that Casper has never been a comic strip character.

Matthew Z. Wood
Matthew Z. Wood

That's, uh, that's actually far freakier than anything I'd ever imagined. Because it implies GHOST SEX for REPRODUCTIVE PURPOSES.

I hate to think what their justification for Hot Stuff and the other devils is. Just wacky fire-lovin' folk?

telabs
telabs

Crazy (an old mad magazine knock-off) did a bit explaining Casper's origin.  He was killed in a fight between his drunken father and his mom  I much prefer that explanation.

Rizzmiggizz
Rizzmiggizz

Cat ladies have fucking issues...they also are most likely hoarders...and their vagina is very unkept. Im glad I could clear this up for you.

Chris Joseph
Chris Joseph

Yup. You nailed it. This entire post was a devious plot to unleash the hidden hatred I have for cat ladies everywhere! Fuck those people and their stupid cats!!

BUSTED!!

Chris Joseph
Chris Joseph

I've never heard of it. Sorry. I'll look it up. Thanks.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Wow, with this sort of dedication to journalistic excellence I can't wait for your list of "most exciting things about the Miami Dolphins" to include "watching Dan Marino play every week", "knowing Nick Saban will never leave Miami", and "beating the Los Angeles Raiders at Joe Robbie Stadium on NBC's Monday Night Football". Kudos.

Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray

You're supposedly a professional writer, so act like one. Do some research before you write something next time, and behave like an adult when responding to online comments. 

Matthew Z. Wood
Matthew Z. Wood

Oh, you really nailed The Lockhorns. Unfunny and depressing to the core. If I were making a list like this one, they'd head it up, alongside Andy Capp. After that, though, I'd have to plumb the depths of such virtually unemployed perpetual tv-viewers as Mallard Fillmore and Spider Man.

Matthew Z. Wood
Matthew Z. Wood

Even if I do tend to take comics too seriously, I appreciate your reminding me of that fact. :-)

That said, I think this was kind of a lazy deconstruction of humor comics in general. Most humor has an element of pathos and-- really-- most newspaper comics aren't really aimed at kids. They're okay for kids to read, kids can enjoy them. I learned a lot of the history of the Twentieth Century as a ten-year-old reading Doonesbury collections.

But yeah, these kind of generalizations could apply to any comics characters from Krazy Kat to Satchel Pooch. Satchel's dumb and sweet and perpetually abused by his housemate; Krazy is in love with an abusive mouse that pelts him/her with bricks. Hell, I could probably make this work for Malvolio in "Twelth NIght," or the fart joke in Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale." The guy's a cuckold! Isn't that kind of sad?

Of course, now I'm deconstructing a deconstruction. I don't think there are any winners in that scenario. No, none at all.

TJDestry
TJDestry

Those are the words he hears most often. Mostly after the word "You"

Dave
Dave

I have read "Garfield" since it began (out of habit, not because it's good) and have NEVER picked up on the fact that Jon Arbuckle is a cartoonist.

Clarence Rutherford
Clarence Rutherford

really the entire Winkerbean world is the most depressing place in the known universe. How this dreadful slice of angst & ennui stays in circulation is a mystery.

Blurgle
Blurgle

And here we have it: two Nice Guys who can't accept that their bigoted nonsense is nothing but a projection of their own issues. Okay, I get it, you can't express your loathing of mommy directly so you take it out on anyone who reminds you of her.

Go work in an animal shelter for a while, as I did: most cat hoarders (and hoarders in general) are men.

Clarence Rutherford
Clarence Rutherford

Actually I think it is a fair cop to point out that Kathy does not own a cat, that does look bad for you. Probably a good idea to plead guilty and move on rather than come off sounding like a hurt child.

Zirbert Zirbert
Zirbert Zirbert

For your own sake, don't. Garfield, Peanuts, Nietzsche - nothing can prepare you for the sheer hopeless put-the-gun-in-your-mouth nihilism that is Funky Winkerbean.

Chris Joseph
Chris Joseph

Relax, Claudia. Just having some fun with people who are taking minute details about a comic strip waayyy too seriously. I mean, I get it. People feel strongly about it. That's cool. But, you know, chill. 

It's a silly post about a silly subject. I'm not winning any Pulitzers for it. Have fun with it. Or don't. Whatevs. 

ccantrell31
ccantrell31

He mentions it day one (June 19, 1978).  "Hi, there...I'm Jon Arbuckle.  I'm a cartoonist, and this is my cat, Garfield."  It doesn't get any clearer than that.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Okay, how about... "You're a lazy hack who can't be bothered to spend even 30 seconds on Google or Wikipedia before pooping out an article and whose actual defense when called on it is that you're a lazy hack." Here's hoping this article rises to the top of Google searches for the rest of your life, perpetually thwarting any attempt to gain future employment that does not involve asking people if they would like fries with their order.

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