The newspaper isn’t the place to go for comic strips anymore. The best strips — Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and Pogo — are all in retirement. FoxTrot is down to once a week. Two of the best strips still in newspapers, Frazz and Retail, are not available in the local New Orleans newspaper. So what do I do?
I go online.
Every newspaper strip I still read is available online, and so are tons of them that aren’t in any newspaper. Where I would once pick up the Living section every day to read the last five or six strips I enjoy, I now have a folder on my laptop with nearly 20 strips I check out on a daily basis. Today, I’m going to tell you guys about one of the absolute best– Dave Kellett’s Sheldon.
Sheldon is the story of a ten-year-old Dot-Com billionaire, a child genius who has built a multinational corporation, but would rather spend the day in the swimming hole with his friend Dante than actually running the company. Sheldon is an orphan (his parents are rarely mentioned) who lives with his grandfather, a kind-hearted grump who’s still dealing with being a parent again at his age. Sheldon’s other companions include Arthur (a duck who had the entire contents of an encyclopedia downloaded into his brain by Sheldon and now spends his time trying to win the hearts of the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Shakira), Oso (his pet pug dog who has the brains of a lump of coal but is undeniably lovable), and Flaco (Arthur’s “son,” a lizard he hatched out of what he thought was a duck egg).
This is one of the last great family comic strips. The jokes are universal enough that adults will get into them, but there’s no crude language or blue humor that would make you afraid to show it to your children (who will fall in love with Arthur in mere seconds anyway). Storylines involve everything from Flaco using a toy plane to search the Bahamas for Arthur, Sheldon being recruited for a top-secret coalition of billionaires including Steve Jobs, the gang verbally dualing with the living embodiment of Wikipedia, a week of strips about the pros and cons of Coffee Cup lids, and Gramp’s frequent struggles with weight gain. Tales range from the patently absurd to the undeniably heartwarming. And all of it — all of it — is blissfully fun.
There are four Sheldon books currently available: Pure Ducky Goodness; The Good, the Bad, and the Pugly; 62 Percent More Awesome and A Blizzard of Lizards, with a fifth book soon to be released. Or, you can still read every strip since the first one online for free at www.sheldoncomics.com. If you’re looking for a great comic strip to fill the void left by the loss of the greats of the past, check this strip out.
In Other News…
Thanks to everyone who read and chimed in on the prologue to Summer Love. I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement and even one person trying to guess the “big secret” already! I can’t wait to see what you guys think of Chapter One — but I’m gonna, because if I try putting up these chapters any more frequently than once a week I’ll run out way too quickly and you’ll wind up waiting an interminably long time for the next part, not unlike those of us who love the show LOST. Also, thanks to my buddy AJ, who pointed me towards how to register the book for a Creative Commons license. There are lots of Creative Commons licenses in existence, all of them geared towards the new media that the Internet has created for us in the past decade. The license I’ve chosen, in short, says that you’re free to copy, distribute and share the book as much as you want, as long as you point people reading it to its source (i.e., this website), don’t make any money off it, and don’t change it at all. For those of you concerned, this does not change anything when it comes to possibly putting the book into print later down the line. This is the second time I’ve flirted with Creative Commons, the first being when i did my podcast novel, A Long November, which is still available for free at www.podiobooks.com, and why haven’t you downloaded it yet?
Oh. Because it’s June and the book is a Christmas story. Fair enough. But come the end of November, I expect you people to swarm on that website.