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Comic Strip / Arnold

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Sunday title panel
Arnold was a rather unusual newspaper comic strip created by Kevin McCormick and published from 1982 to 1988. The titular character was a little boy who often says deranged things, much to the annoyance of his only friend, Tommy. Rounding out the cast was Mr. Lester, Arnold and Tommy's teacher.

You can read the strip here, here and here.

Arnold provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Among the things Arnold did after he became captain of the safety patrol was installing faculty surveillance and wiretaps. He was later forced to resign.
  • Berserk Button: Arnold hates it whenever he's reminded that he's short, even if somebody was saying something innocuous like "You should reach for the sky."
  • Butt-Monkey: Tommy.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Early in the strip's run there was a third kid in Mr. Lester's class, Heather. She disappeared after a short time, likely because Tommy filled the role better as the straight man to Arnold's antics.
  • Dada Comics: The strip is a borderline example, especially later in the run.
  • The Ditz: The title character.
  • Gross-Out Show: Played with. A lot of the strip's dialogues can get gross, but it was rare to feature them visually.
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  • Jerkass: Arnold.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the final strip, a giant bird grabbed Arnold and took off. Goodbye, Tommy.
  • Minimalist Cast: During its five-year run only five characters ever appeared in the strip: Arnold himself, classmates Tommy and Heather, their teacher Mr. Lester, and his baby brother Sidney. Even then vast majority of the strip's run only featured Arnold, Tommy, and Mr. Lester. Heather only appeared for few months in the beginning before she disappeared without explanation, and Sidney wasn't introduced until near the end of the strip's run. Every other character spoke from off-panel.
  • No Full Name Given: Originally played straight with Arnold and Tommy, whose last names were never mentioned in the early strips. This all changed in 1986, when the creator did a contest asking fans to submit ideas for their last names. The winners were Arnold Melville and Tommy Jordon.
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  • One-Book Author: Arnold is Kevin McCormick's only credit as a professional cartoonist. After it ended he became a pastor (seriously).
  • Stock Scream: Everytime Arnold screams (and he did this a lot, often for no reason) it's "AIEEE!".
  • The Voice: Everyone, outside the three (later four) main characters.