I was fortunate enough to attend Bill Amend?s panel at Comic-Con this past summer (he was a special guest, you know), and just hearing him speak with passion about illustrating FoxTrot for the past 24 years was a pretty awesome experience. If you?ve had the pleasure of reading FoxTrot before, you know that it?s by far the geekiest comic strip being published in papers at the moment. Amend recently cut back on the daily strips in 2007, and has been doing Sunday-only strips ever since. While it does still revolve around the entire Fox clan, Jason maintains his status as by far my favorite character, and one easiest for all us nerds to relate to.
Last week I highlighted Li?: There?s a Monster in My Socks as being a part of Andrews McMeel Publishing?s AMP! Comics for Kids line of stories targeting younger readers. AAAA! is also a part of that same line, and is also 224 pages of black and white comics all for the low price of $9.99. It?s a great cheap way to introduce a new generation of readers to some of the classic comic strips that we?ve all grown to love. Especially with a strip like FoxTrot, there are so many relatable characters to enjoy. While I can see several traits of Jason in myself, I can also see a strong resemblance with my younger sister and Paige. Hell, even in high school I had the same high metabolism as Peter, although I was a tad bit better at sports than he was. Nowadays I cry because I don?t have that same high metabolism I once did, and on an unrelated note, beer is simply too delicious to not drink.
Collecting several strips between 1998-1999, AAAA! is able to entertain both old and new readers alike with the several different adventures starring the Fox family. Whether it?s Peter and Paige struggling with mountains of homework, or Jason realizing that perhaps his iguana Quincy doesn?t have a future in professional sports, FoxTrot is one of those great strips focusing on a family dynamic that always entertains (I?m looking at you, For Better or For Worse). If Amend were to have a spin-off strip focusing on just Jason and Quincy, I?d definitely be down for that.
It?s funny how many of these strips I actually remember reading when they first came out. I remember Jasonezer Scrooge going into his own twist on ?A Christmas Carol? after eating his mom?s garlic, green pepper and tofu chili, because the glimpse at his tombstone reads May 20th, 1999; the day before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace debuted. That was back when we all thought the new trilogy was going to blow our minds (spoilers: it didn?t).
While there are several different collections of FoxTrotalready out there, AAAA! is the perfect stocking stuffer for friends and family this holiday season. Even if the younger readers don?t entirely get the middle school and high school jokes because they aren?t there yet, they can still find joy in using it as a fancy coloring book. However, if they become fans of Quincy and request their own iguana as a pet, let me warn you ahead of time; all iguanas aren?t that cute and cuddly. Take it from a guy who raised two of the little Zergs; their claws and tails are lethal, and your friends will think you stick your arms into bags of feral cats for fun by the amount of carnage you have on display. So just to reiterate, AAAA! A FoxTrot Kids Edition is fun, while iguanas are not so much.
AAAA! A FoxTrot Kids Edition224 Pages, Black & White$9.99
I stopped reading newspaper comic strips shortly after FOXTROT stopped coming out daily; I still think of it as the last of the greats, right up there with CALVIN & HOBBES and THE FAR SIDE as a guaranteed laugh.
I'm sure part of it is just my own nostalgia for my childhood experiences, but I still think of that early-to-mid-90s as a little golden age of truly funny comic strips. All of the above were coming out and DILBERT was fresh. Good times; the only missing piece was BLOOM COUNTY.