Friday, August 21, 2009

Favorite Comix: B.C.

I'll admit that when B.C. creator Johnny Hart died on April 7, 2007, I wrote the strip off.

I assumed, of course, that Hart had come to a Clarles M. Schulz/Peanuts agreement with his syndicate, wherein when he died, the strip would die with him. But it did not. An usurper took the pen and carried B.C. on after Hart's death.

In protest, I stopped reading the strip.

Now I'm reconsidering. And not only because Mason Mastroianni, the strip's current writer and artist, is one of Hart's grandsons. Primarily, I've come back to the strip because Mastroianni has worked hard to recapture his grandfather's quirky sense of humor and how to integrate it with his characters.

Once again, I have to blame my brother Jeff for getting me hooked on B.C. He had many of the books, and because they were there to be read, I read them. I really, really wanted B.C.'s buddies to believe him that clams had legs. I really wanted to know how the dookey bird and the turtle came to be friends. And I really wanted to know why Thor sticks with his inventions, even though he's not yet perfected the wheel. And thanks to Mastroianni -- and my re-examination of the strip after Hart's death -- I can continue to seek answers to those questions.

One of the questions I might ask is why did this come about:

While it's fun to see Hart's characters come to life on the screen, I have to wonder why the animators and writers let Ralph Bakshi inspire them so much. I like Wizards as much as the next guy, but trying to put those kinds of characterizations into Hart's characters is a bit dificult to swallow.

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