COLUMBUS, OH — The U.S. Postal Service celebrated five newspaper comic strips by dedicating the Sunday Funnies stamps today. The 44-cent First-Class stamps honor comic strips: Archie, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes. The strips, as well as their characters, may have changed over the years, yet each remains an enduring classic.
”Like stamps, comic strips often tell a story through humor, adventure, fantasy and sometimes even drama,” said U.S. Postal Service Eastern Area Vice President Megan Brennan. “Today, we are gathered to commemorate five of our country’s most beloved comic strips and dedicate an amazing stamp pane that represents a unique part of American culture.”
Brennan dedicated the stamps at The Ohio State University, home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. Joining in the dedication were The Ohio State University Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Alutto and The Ohio State University Libraries Director Carol Pitts Diedrichs. Special guests included Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker; Garfield creator Jim Davis; Dennis the Menace artists Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand; Archie Comics newspaper strip writer Craig Goldman; and, Calvin and Hobbes Editor Lee Salem.
Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, selected the images appearing on the stamps.
The Archie stamp features Archie sharing a chocolate shake with brunette Veronica Lodge on his right and blonde Betty Cooper on his left. Offering an idealized portrait of American adolescence, Archie existed only in comic-book form before debuting in newspapers in 1946. A typical small-town teenager with a knack for goofing things up, 17-year-old Archie Andrews is often torn between haughty Veronica and sweet Betty.
The Beetle Bailey stamp features Beetle, smiling calmly while Sarge loses his cool. A military strip with universal appeal, Beetle Bailey first appeared in September 1950. Possibly the laziest man in the army, Private Beetle Bailey is an expert at sleeping and avoiding work. His chronic indolence antagonizes Sergeant Orville P. Snorkel, who is tough on his men but calls them “my boys.”
The Calvin and Hobbes stamp captures the precocious six-year-old and his tiger pal making scary — and ridiculous — faces. Calvin and Hobbes explores the fantasy life of six-year-old Calvin and his tiger, Hobbes. The inseparable friends ponder the mysteries of the world and test the fortitude of Calvin’s parents, who never know where their son’s imagination will take him. The strip ran from November 1985 to December 1995.
The Dennis the Menace stamp features five-year-old Dennis dressed in red coveralls and striped shirt running off to some new adventure. Dennis the Menace follows the antics of Dennis Mitchell, a good-hearted but mischievous little boy who is perpetually “five-ana-half” years old. His curiosity tests the patience of his loving parents and neighbors, guaranteeing that their lives are anything but dull. The comic debuted in March 1951 as a single-panel gag.
The Garfield stamp features the crabby tabby standing back to back with Odie, a carefree, energetic dog. Garfield first waddled onto the comics page in June 1978. Self-centered and cynical, Garfield hates Mondays and loves lasagna. He lives with Jon Arbuckle, a bumbling bachelor with a fatally flawed fashion sense, and Odie, a dopey-but-devoted dog.