* Averted with some of the oldest comic strips, which remain impressive and even jaw-dropping after nearly a century (or sometimes even longer) has passed. The stories and their themes are still pretty quirky, and the artwork is often surprisingly good, even excellent. This is partly because the earliest comic strips were regarded as nothing more than a cheap publicity gimmick, so high standards weren't expected of them; this gave the early cartoonists a lot of room for experimentation.
* ''{{ComicStrip/BC}}''. When it started in the late 1950s, its use of blatant anachronism was fresh and original. Characters used modern slang and [[BambooTechnology Stone Age equivalents of modern technology]], and this was a source of much of the humor. Over the decades this approach became the fallback for comic strips set in the past, which hurt ''BC'''s reputation.
** It arguably wasn't ''that'' influential, since in just a few years ''TheFlintstones'' essentially ripped it off and yet was credited as something original.
* ''{{ComicStrip/Doonesbury}}''. Many subsequent comic strips have imitated its dry wit. Indirectly if not directly, it had more influence on [[WebComics web comics]] than anything other than {{manga}}.
** ''Doonesbury'' was the first newspaper comic to regularly have two punchlines in the last panel: a primary joke, and a secondary one which built off the first. It was special at the time. Now almost every comic does it, making those old strips seem run-of-the-mill instead of groundbreaking.
** In 1985 (after Trudeau returned from a sabbatical), the strip took a DarkerAndEdgier turn. One decade later, many strips centering around (or simply made by) "boomers" underwent CerebusSyndrome, like ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse'', ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'' (and its sequels, ''Outlands'' and ''Opus''), ''ComicStrip/FunkyWinkerbean'' and even ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' late in the strip's life. Didn't help most "boomers"' lives [[TruthInTelevision had turned quite sour by then]].
* ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'' averts this with its [[NightmareFace still-shocking human grotesquerie]], [[SlidingScaleOfCynicismVersusIdealism callous and even misanthropic view toward the characters]], and - perhaps most obviously - its willingness to depict bloodshed at a time (1930s-'40s) when gore was otherwise nonexistent in the funnies. To be sure, ''Dick Tracy'' probably wouldn't be banned if those earliest strips were run today, but they would almost certainly inspire some tut-tutting from many parents and older people.
* Because geeky web comics like Penny Arcade are omnipresent on the internet today, it's easy to forget how unique "ComicStrip/FoxTrot"'s relatively frequent forays into geek and pop culture in the early 90s were, especially in comparison to what was in the funnies at the time.
* ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'' by Gary Larson. The comic strip's format has been imitated so much and so badly over the years that it's kind of hard to appreciate his originals and just how groundbreaking they were.
** And controversial as well. The BlackComedy in it that seems extremely tame today? That was ''extremely'' uncommon in newspaper comics at the time, and got a lot of bad reactions from the MoralGuardians.
* Subverted with ''{{ComicStrip/Garfield}}''. Yes, believe it or not, some of the style of the strip was considered risky at the time, and the published books of the series was some of the first to utilize the 'mini-sized' formats that many newspaper comic collections use today. Oh yeah, and quite a few of the strips in the early years were actually ''controversial'' and Jim Davis received many [[MoralGuardian complaints]] for one of the gags he pulled. ("[[MyEyesAreUpHere Shake it]], [[TheMickeyMouseClub Annette]]," for instance.) A lot of younger people would think you were joking if you told them this fact.
* ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'': While still considered one of the best comic strips ever, the many creator-driven strips done since then (''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', ''ComicStrip/NonSequitur'', ''ComicStrip/{{Zits}}'', ''ComicStrip/GetFuzzy'', ''ComicStrip/{{Lio}}'', ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'' and ''Red And Rover'') has made it look rather passť nowadays.
** Subverted. Its [[ReferenceOverdosed incredibly]] [[LampshadeHanging large]] [[ShoutOut amount]] [[TakeThat of]] [[ParentalBonus references]] didn't have much effect on the funny pages, but most popular TV and film comedies nowadays are full of these.
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', too. When it first appeared in newspapers in 1985, it was rare both in comic strips and in popular fiction generally for parents to be portrayed as anything more than slightly exasperated at the antics of their children. Many readers wrote in to complain that Calvin's parents' attitudes toward their son made them mean, perhaps even [[AbusiveParents abusive]]. Ten years later, creator Bill Watterson could remark with some satisfaction that TV sitcoms with smart-mouthed kids and sarcastic parents had become the norm - and Calvin's parents now looked tolerant and even loving.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', not just in NewspaperComics, but in a wide variety of media, especially live-action TV. Someone unfamiliar with the comics, but a fan of ''TheOffice'' or ''OfficeSpace'' might find the similarities close enough to cry plagiarism.
* Similarly, ''ComicStrip/AdamAtHome'' is usually considered to be a copycat of ''Series/AccordingToJim'' (It doesn't help that [[UglyGuyHotWife Adam and Laura look pretty much like Jim and Cheryl]]. Ironically, the strip had been exploiting this premise for over a decade by the time the show premiered.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' was innovative in two ways: Because of the limited space, Charles Schulz had to rely on an ultra-simplistic art style with exaggerated facial expressions. He even developed an emotional shorthand, most famously the "eye parentheses" representing shock. A few decades later, newspapers would run so many comic strips that pretty much everyone had to make their illustrations understandable in the few square inches they received. The second was that ''Peanuts'' was one of the darker portrayals of childhood at the time: All of the children in the series were dysfunctional to some degree and fought frequently among each other. Comics like ''ComicStrip/TheFamilyCircus'' were the main competition during the series's early years, making ''Peanuts'' something of a ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' of its time.
* ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse'' might ''look'' like just another strip starring an angst-ridden mother who's overwhelmed by seemingly endless housework and cursed with an oaf husband and needy children who seem to live in fear of admitting that she's a person too but back in 1979, it was pretty much revolutionary to admit that yes, happy homemakers were anything but content with the rut they found themselves in.