One of the longest-running
(from September 8, 1930) and most popular Newspaper Comics
of all time, and still fairly funny even after all this time, Blondie
stars Dagwood Bumstead, a bog-standard salaryman with a strange haircut, one button on his shirt, and a love of monstrous sandwiches. He is Happily Married
, who runs a popular delicatessen and catering establishment. Their children are Alexander, who mimics his father in terms of hairstyle, and Cookie, who resembles her mother. The household is rounded out by the family dog, Daisy. Other recurring characters are Mean Boss
J.C. Dithers, Mouthy Kid
Elmo, neighbors Herb and Tootsie Woodley, the mailman, Dagwood's car pool, and the chef at the local diner. Pretty much a Slice of Life
comic at this point, the characters have been stuck at the same age since the early 1950s
Dagwood was originally heir to the Bumstead Locomotive fortune, but was disowned when he married a flapper (originally known as Blondie Boopadoop) whom his family saw as below his class. He has since worked hard at J.C. Dithers & Company (currently as the construction company's office manager) to support his family.
80 years have severely eroded the original Fish out of Water
aspect of his character.
Derivative works include a series of comedy films (and long-running radio series) starring Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton, two single-season sitcoms (produced in 1957 and 1968), and an animated TV special.
Not to be confused with the band
This comic provides examples of:
- Adorkable: Dagwood is this to some extent. Until recent years this focused on his clumsiness, but now centers on his social awkwardness.
- Alliterative Name: Blondie Bumstead, née Boopadoop.
- Anime Hair: Dagwood. The most plausible explanation is that he uses pomade and a few strands of his hair are resistant to it.
- Aside Glance: Daisy often does this.
- Bedtime Brainwashing: The strip for July 12th 2014. While Dagwood is sleeping on a couch, neighborhood kid Elmo Tuttle whispers "Just wanted to wish you a restful and happy Hot Dog Month" in his ear. When Dagwood wakes up he has a hot dog cookout. Elmo is shown eating one and calling himself a "career button-pusher".
- Beta Couple: Herb and Tootsie, the Bumsteads' neighbors.
- Big Eater: Dagwood, again.
- The Board Game: Yes, there actually was one in the late 60s.
- Brainless Beauty/ Dumb Blonde: Blondie during the first few years of the strip.
- Buxom Is Better: Blondie, of course. Her daughter Cookie also applies.
- Until very late in The Fifties, however, she was quite plain given the standards of women of her age.
- Character Title: Obviously, although it's really Dagwood, and not Blondie herself, who is the actual lead character.
- The Cheerleader: Blondie formerly. She even was featured as one in an extremely early strip (November 1931).
- Christmas Creep: In the strip for September 14th, 2013. As Dagwood and Blondie are walking through a mall, Dagwood complains about the stores playing Christmas music in September.
- Comic Book Adaptation: From 1969 to 1976 via Charlton Comics.
- Comic-Book Time: While the Bumsteads and other characters have remained the same since the early 1950s, their house and office have moved forward (albeit slowly and incrementally) with the passage of time.
- Even Blondie's job title changed, from housewife to caterer in the early 1990s.
- Cross Over: A series of strips in 2005 celebrated the Bumsteads' 75th anniversary with appearances by characters from other King Features comics, such as old favorites Hägar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, The Wizard of Id, Garfield, B.C. and Beetle Bailey and relative newcomers such as Mutts, Zits, and Get Fuzzy. Even non-humorous strip characters, including The Phantom and Dick Tracy, made appearances.
- Dagwood Sandwich: Trope Namer.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Dagwood's parents really didn't like Blondie.
- Dinner with the Boss: Occasionally happens
- Does This Make Me Look Fat?: Dagwood responds by asking whether she meant from the waist up or from the waist down.
- Drop-In Character: Elmo, a neighborhood kid who frequently drops by when Dagwood is trying to take a nap.
- An old running gag, less commonly used these days, involved Dagwood trying to take a bath and having various characters walking in on him while he was in the tub.
- The Flapper: Blondie started off as one before she married Dagwood.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Blondie: Sanguine/Phlegmatic
- Dagwood: Melancholic/Phlegmatic
- Alexander: Choleric/Sanguine
- Cookie: Phlegmatic/Sanguine
- Daisy: Leukine
- Dithers: Choleric/Melancholic
- Herb: Phlegmatic/Melancholic
- Tootsie: Sanguine/Phlegmatic
- George Jetson Job Security
- Girl of the Week, and Boy of the Week as well: Alexander's and Cookie's dates never show up more than once.
- Gold Digger: The reason Dagwood's parents disowned him was partly because they believed Blondie was this. In the very beginning, she was.
- Greasy Spoon: Lou's Diner, which Dagwood often frequents on his lunch break.
- Happily Married: Blondie and Dagwood, of course.
- Henpecked Husband: Dithers. And Dagwood, occasionally.
- Identical Stranger: While not really noted as such in-universe, Dagwood's neighbor Herb Woodley and the mailman Mr. Beasley look almost exactly alike.
- Inter-Class Romance: The original strip was about the well-to-do Dagwood marrying the distinctly lower class Blondie against his parent's wishes. He was cut off and had get a real job and the strip gradually morphed into the Dom Com it has been for most of its run.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dithers
- The Klutz: Dagwood
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: This Strip. All for the sake of a Milestone Celebration, even!
- Mean Boss: Mr. Dithers fits this trope to a T. He's not above literally kicking Dagwood's ass.
- Midnight Snack: A favorite habit of Dagwood.
- Milestone Celebration: The 75th anniversary of the strip, which involved a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of various other comic strips.
- Morning Routine: Common gag.
- The Napoleon: Dithers is considerably shorter than Dagwood.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted, then employed, with Alexander (originally "Baby Dumpling") and Cookie. Both grew from infancy into their mid-to-late teens, then stayed put.
- Elmo, on the other hand, plays this straight.
- Not a Morning Person: Dagwood.
- Orphaned Punchline: In one of the Sunday Strips, Elmo tells Dagwood a joke that ends with "And so he says 'Well, where's the stork?'", with Dagwood expressing shock that Elmo actually recited that joke, claiming that, had he told that joke to his dad, he would spank Dagwood so hard that he'd have to sit on a quarter to tell whether it was heads or tails. In the ending strip, Dagwood decides to tell his wife the joke, which begins with "This stork goes over to a dance club..."
- Parental Marriage Veto: Dagwood, heir to the Bumstead billions, was told he would be cut out of his father's will if he married Blondie. He did anyway.
- Apparently it didn't cut off all communication; Dagwood is often shown reminiscing to Alexander and Cookie over many his other Bumstead relatives.
- Parody: The strip started off parodying the loads of "pretty girl" melodrama strips popular during The Roaring Twenties.
- Re Tool: You know, at the start of the strip back in the 1930s, Dagwood was the heir to an industrial fortune, and Blondie a common gutterslut. When they got married a few years in, Dagwood was disowned, and forced to get a job for the first time in his life. That's why he's always late to work, takes naps until noon — pretty much every running gag derives from Dagwood being used to a life of leisure and excess. Also, his haircut was apparently a pop culture reference at the time. Blondie's flapper origins and Dagwood's lost fortune don't really come up anymore, as the strip turned into the print equivalent of a family sitcom.
- Dagwood's shirt with the one big button started off as a conventional one, with one of the buttons mildly emphasized, it just morphed over time.
- Running Gag: Several:
- Dagwood smashing into the mailman as he runs out of the door late for work.
- Dagwood's massive sandwiches.
- Dagwood's naps on the couch (noticing a trend, here?)
- Say My Name: Dagwood sometimes yells out "BLON-DIEEEEE!" in moments of distress.
- Slasher Smile: When Dagwood was upset with Blondie for unknown reasons in one strip, he invokes this trope when attempting to deny that he was still upset with her.
- Standard '50s Father: Dagwood
- Standardized Sitcom Housing
- Suppressed Mammaries: It's implied that Blondie hid her rather large breasts during her flapper days. Truth in Television; strapped breasts were a popular fashion during the 20s.
- Sweater Girl: Blondie, often.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Dagwood sandwiches, natch.
- He's also very fond of spare ribs, which comes up in several comics.
- Two Decades Behind: Mr. Dithers still wears a vest at work, something that went out of fashion by the mid-1980s.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Dagwood and Blondie, of course, but also neighbors/best friends Herb and Tootsie. Tootsie is basically Blondie with dark hair. The Bumstead kids are an unmarried example of Ugly Brother, Hot Sister.
- Although in the world of the comic itself, Dagwood's more like goofy-looking, and his lack of attractiveness is because of his rather dated style of dress.
- Uptight Loves Wild: The main point of the strip in early years between the stuffy Dagwood and party girl Blondie.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Dagwood and Herb
- World of Ham: In the 1950s and 1960s, this strip's Sunday strips could take any situation, no matter how trivial, to ridiculous levels of histrionism and Melodrama.