Robot 6

Bill Mauldin, Archie to get their own U.S. stamps

Bill Mauldin stamp

Bill Mauldin stamp

U.S. comics fans have a new reason to give the United States Postal Service a big, wet smack on the lips (oh, like you needed one before) as they announced late last week that their commemorative stamp plans for 2010 include on honoring seminal editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin and another set titled “Sunday Funnies,” which will feature stamps of Beetle Bailey, Calvin and Hobbes, Dennis the Menace, Garfield and … Archie?? I tend not to think of Archie as a “Sunday funny,” but any port in a storm, I suppose.

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The biggest snub? Pogo, by Walt Kelly. Doonesbury and Bloom County owe a huge debt to the groundbreaking strip which heroically satirized Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1953. Some Pogo storylines were so controversial that Kelly produced alternative “Bunny” strips to placate newspaper editors.

The USPS is producing these five stamps in the same manner as last year’s Simpsons stamps. They are not commemoratives, but an easy way to make money from collectors and fans. I suspect that these comics were chosen so that the USPS could retain the licensing rights to the stamps, thereby reproducing the images on various merchandise (remember the Elvis stamps?).

The Postal Service should have repeated their successful 1995 comic strip centennial stamps (which featured comics from before 1950) with stamps from the latter half of the Twentieth Century. With twenty stamps, notable comics could be honored, as well as more popular, but less deserving favorites.

And before anyone suggests it, For Better of For Worse, which is a masterpiece of humor, wit, and storytelling, is Canadian, and would not qualify. (Although Mother Theresa gets a stamp this year…)

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