Chicken Karma

Chicken Karma

Monday, 9 March 2015


What have been some of my favourite strips over the years, and what strips have influenced me in my own cartooning career?

These are common questions for any cartoonist, I think. I certainly have been asked them many times.
Personally, I think I have a very eclectic lot of favourites. There is definitely a great diversity among those I would call my favourites over the years. And, I think, there is also a great variety in the reasons that they are my favourites. For some it might be the humour, for others, the artwork, and for others still it could be the characters or subject matter. 

I think it is fairly natural to be influenced by anything you like, so each one of my favourite strips will have, even if only subconsciously, been influential to some degree.

I am sure that not everyone would share my exact same thoughts about my comic strip favourites. But, then, cartoon appreciation is like any other form of artistic and creative is very subjective.

So, here is a list of my Top Twenty comic strips that I have, over many years enjoyed (with a brief explanation of why). 
They are arranged alphabetically here, not in any order of favoritism.I hope you will find some of your own favourites here, too. (Please use the comments section to add some of your own comic strip favourites.)

Following the list of strips are a number of BUSHY TALES strips that incorporated other comic strip names into the story (over 100 in one week!).

B.C. - (Johnny Hart) I have loved this strip for as long as I recall. Originally drawn (pardon the pun) to the simplicity of the artwork and the type of humour, I soon began to appreciate the fusion of modern culture into a prehistoric setting and, in later years, to the deeper and more spiritual themes and insights. As with just about every strip that is continued on beyond the death of its creator, the BC strip today is only a shadow of the strip in the hands and heart of Johnny Hart.

BROOM HILDA - (Russell Myers) - This strip got me in with its bold line and use of solid blacks...not to mention the creative characterization and humour.

CALVIN & HOBBES - (Bill Watterson) - What hasn't already been said about this strip? It was, truly, a "one-of-a-kind" comic strip. Literally, it turned the cartoon world upside down and I doubt if there is a cartoonist anywhere who has not been influenced by it.
I always found the artwork in C&H particularly impressive.

CROCK - (Rechin & Wilder) - I loved the crazy humour of this strip. One of the few strips that used to make me chuckle out loud.

FOXTROT - (Bill Amend) - This was a very refreshing take on the modern family. The characters were very well-defined and they interacted with great humour, both in word and visually. It was a favourite of my family as they grew up, too.

HAGAR - (Dick Browne)- Now drawn by his son, the strip, in my opinion, was far better in its early years as Dick Browne let his artistic genius follow his creative imagination. 

HERMAN - (Jim Unger) - A single panel (except on Sundays) this strip is hilarious! Unger could say so much in a single frame with his limitless cast of characters (Herman is not a single character...but more a state of mind, I think.) I continue to enjoy re-reading the many collections of Herman that grace my bookshelves.

MOTHER GOOSE AND GRIMM - (Mike Peters) - This strip comes as close as any to giving an animation feel to the artwork. The characters, well-drawn as they are, are taken into an even more impressive realm when given the action treatment that Peters likes to use.

MUTTS - (Patrick McDonnell) - I haven't read as much of this strip as some of the others, but what I have read over the years I really enjoy. McDonnell has a lovely style and the strip has a wonderful whimsy about it. His Sunday strips employ great variation in the layout.

PEANUTS - (Charles Schulz) - Who has not, at some time, been drawn into the world of this legendary strip? I think it taught us all some things about communicating through cartoon characters.

PICKLES - (Brian Crane) - A more recent favourite...I don't think I have read a single Pickles strip that I thought was weak. There is great consistency in this story of an old couple. 

POGO - (Walt Kelly) - Back when the comic strips were given plenty of space cartoonists were able to produce works of great visual appeal. None more so than Walt Kelly with Pogo. His, characters were brilliant and the quality of his drawing and presentation was amazing.

SHOE - (Jeff Macnelly) - I really loved the dry, sarcastic humour of this strip, as well as the style of Macnelly's drawing. His artwork was quite reflective of his work as an award-winning  political cartoonist. 

SNAKE TALES - (Alan "Sols" Salisbury) - One of the great Australian strips. Widely published in Australia and, for a time, syndicated throughout the USA.

SPEED WALKER - (Chris Hammond) - Not a well-known strip, at least here in Australia...but I loved it! It was a very dry humoured strip about a hapless private eye. I never saw it in a newspaper and I only have the one small book collection. But I'd love to get more!

SWAMP - (Gary Clark) - A wonderfully popular and much-awarded Australian strip. Gary has produced a beautifully crafted and consistently entertaining comic strip based around the animals, reptiles and insects found in your typical Aussie swamp. 

TEN CATS - (Graham Harrop) - This strip has become one of my recent favourites. Graham, an Englishman living in Canada, has produced a beautifully drawn heartwarming and funny strip about 10 stray cats that live in a warehouse and are cared for by Annie, a young girl. I love the way Graham has developed distinct personalities for each of the ten cats. The strip was awarded the NCS Reuben Award for best webcomic in 2013. Thoroughly deserved. Graham recently sent me one of the original TEN CATS strips....a treasured item!

THE BORN LOSER - (Art Sansom) - Simple, uncluttered artwork, the appeal of this strip for me was in the humour more than the artwork. Brutus Thornapple (the born loser) finds an endless number of ways to end up losing at home, at work...anywhere and everywhere. A lot of fun.

TUMBLEWEEDS - (Tom K Ryan) - One of my all time favourites! I love the dry humour as well as the very stylized artwork on this strip. Ryan created a wonderful cast of characters to inhabit this Cowboy and Indian strip. A trailblazer in so many ways (Jim Davis, the Garfield creator was Tom Ryan's assistant for a number of years), I think I owe my love of comics to strips like this. I have a personally signed and inscribed (by Tom Ryan) copy of one of the Tumbleweeds books.....I'm not letting that one go!

ZITS - (Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman) - A wonderfully drawn and scripted strip about a high school teenager and his interactions (or not) with his family, friends and the world. A modern-day classic.

So, there you have top twenty favourites.

But what about yours? I'd love to know which strips you enjoy. Use the Comments section of the blog to share your favourite comics.

And, don't forget.......


In the coming weeks I would like to do a blog full of answers to  questions from readers.
So...if you have any questions about BUSHY TALES, or cartooning in general, please send them to:
I'd love to hear from you.

Until next week....

Joyfully yours,



  1. No European comics?

    Here's some I can recommend:
    Joe Bar Team
    The Spiffy Adventures of McConey

    Outside Europe, my favorite by far is C&H.

    1. Thanks for your suggestions! I don't know any of these. I will check them out for sure.

    2. You might know this one, it's a very popular family oriented comic:
      The problem with European comics is that few of them, even the very best, have ever been translated into English

    3. I've had a look at Gaston and Joe Bar Team and, yes, the problem is, as you say, that most of these have not been translated into English. Pity. They look good.

    4. Thanks for taking the time to read the BUSH WEEK blog and to comment. Much appreciated!

  2. Growing up it was all about Garfield, later on Dilbert when I started working, then Sherman's Lagoon on the web. Fast forward many years later and I started finding my favourites on the Sherpa section of GoComics. My current favourites I look forward to: Bushy Tales, Girth, Don't Pick the Flowers, Off the Mark, Adult Children, Connie to the Wonnie. There were some great ones that have come and gone, like County Line, Ned and Larry and many more. I often wonder what exactly it is that makes someone like a particular strip and not another - I think for me my favourite strips either touch on a part of my personality so that I identify with the characters or they have a similar sense of humour to me.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Toonerific.
      yes, it is interesting trying to work out why people like certain strips and not others. I do think the whole issue of being able to relate to it is important (obviously why Garfield hates Mondays and loves lasagna). Cheers!