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Comic Strip / B.C.

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B.C. is an American newspaper comic strip created in 1958 by Johnny Hart. It focuses on a small band of cavemen, led by one named B.C. Others in the strip include Peter, Clumsy Carp, Curls, Thor, Wiley, Grog, the Fat Broad and the Cute Chick (both named Jane and Grace, respectively, as of 2019). There is also a cast of talking animals that includes John the Tortoise, Dookie Bird, a family of ants, an anteater, dinosaurs, clams, snakes and an apteryx: a small wingless bird with hairy feathers (a.k.a. a kiwi to the rest of us).

Initially, B.C. was a gag-a-day strip. After Hart became a born-again Christian in 1977, the strip gradually began adding more and more of Hart's religious and political beliefs until most strips were Christian-themed. Some newspapers refused to print certain strips that were deemed overly proselytizing. After Hart's death in 2007, it reverted to a mostly gag-a-day strip maintained by grandson Mason Mastroianni (who also took over Hart's other strip, The Wizard of Id).

B.C. also had a brief stint as a video game character, with B.C.'s Quest for Tires, released by Sierra in 1983. A sequel, entitled Grog's Revenge, was released a year later in 1984.

Tropes present

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Gronk tried speaking long before he found his voice but could only manage nonsense words, which happen to be acronyms. The entire strip for that day has him saying things like "ASCAP" and "NAACP".
  • Afraid of Clowns: A strip from November 7th 2013. The Adder (Snake) complains about the Fat Broad beating him with her club. The Apteryx advises him to dress up as something she doesn't fear. The Adder dresses up in a clown outfit and she clobbers him anyway, making it clear that she fears clowns.
  • Anachronism Stew: Parodied and Exaggerated. For a supposedly prehistoric comic strip, it's had references to movies, hippies and several other things that didn't exist until modern times (not to mention that Clumsy Carp wears glasses). Plus it's called B.C. (Before Christ) and is about Christian cavemen who celebrate Christmas, a holiday about the guy they worship before that guy was born. Some strips hint that it may actually take place After the End and Earth All Along.
    The Fat Broad: (answering a ringing telephone) Prehistoric times. (suddenly realizes what she's doing and runs away screaming) A TELEPHONE!!
  • Animated Adaptation: Two television specials, made eight years apart by two different studios.
  • Aside Glance: Happens quite often after a character does something unusual or stupid.
  • Author Tract: After Johnny Hart became a born-again Christian, he began injecting his religious beliefs into more and more strips. One particularly controversial one featured a menorah turning into a cross.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The ants Jake and Maude.
  • Ballistic Discount: An ant tries to buy a pack of cigarettes but is underage. He asks to buy a gun instead, then points the gun and asks for the cigarettes again.
  • Bamboo Technology: Among other things, a telephone built into a tree.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Characters have actually been known to make golf swings while hanging by their feet from a tree branch. For a bonus, there's Bizarre And Improbable cheating when Clumsy Carp balances a submerged golf ball on his nose and raises it out of the water for a friend to hit, in exchange for a share of the winnings. Another time, B.C. (or possibly Thor) somehow wound up, after his swing, with the ball balanced on the head of his club. Consulting the massive rule book, Peter found a rule that "covers it explicitly," and told the unlucky fellow they had to shoot him.
  • Box-and-Stick Trap: In the strip for 2-25-13, Thor has set up this kind of trap. When he hears it fall he goes to open it. He finds the Fat Broad inside, holding the piece of cheese he used as bait.
    Thor: Diet not going well?
    Fat Broad: Be quiet and close the lid.
  • Cassandra Truth: Early on when B.C. himself discovered the secret that the clams had been hiding.
    B.C.: Clams got legs!
  • Catchphrase: "Great Zot!"
  • Childless Dystopia: There are no children in the cast at all, at least among humans. (There are a few among ants and other animals.) Why this is the case has never been addressed.
  • Clamshells as Mouths: Clams use the two halves of their shells as a mouth, and even walk around on shore on two legs! They're most notable for observing some phenomenon, and broadcasting the news loudly, such as "DINOS GOT WHEELS!"
  • Clamshell Currency: Whole live clams are used as money throughout the game. This is actually a pun since "clam" was a slang for "money" when the strip was created.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Several characters veer into this trope. B.C., Clumsy Carp and Wiley appear to be the biggest offenders.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Curls. B.C. actually introduces him to the rest of the group as "master of sarcastic wit."
    Clumsy Carp: Let's hear you say something funny.
    Curls: I'm pleased to meet you.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The strip for September 25th 2013 has a meeting of the Redundancy Department with Peter as the Speaker.
    Peter: First off, roll call will be followed by a brief head count, after which we can quickly take attendance. But first, let's just see who's here today.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Fat Broad and the Cute Chick were only ever referred to by those descriptors until August 29, 2019, when they respectively became Jane and Grace.
  • Expy: In the early 60's Hart created a series of ads for Dr. Pepper called "Harmon the Caveman" featuring a whole new cast of caveman, still drawn in his usual style but Super-Deformed.
  • Funny Animal Anatomy: The anteaters in the comic not only have aardvark-like ears but two mouths: one at the tip of the snout (the correct location) and another at the base.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Ida, the (usually-unseen) Queen Ant, apparently rules the colony with an iron fist.
  • Green Aesop: Hart actually did a bit of proselytizing before being born again, it just took a different form.
  • Hates Baths: Wiley, to the point that he fears water in general. One strip had him tentatively poke the tip of his peg-leg in water, and scream in terror.
  • Hermit Guru: The bearded gent who sits atop the mountain and dispenses wisdom to B.C.
  • Jumping the Shark: In-Universe: one strip has a character offer Thor condolences for "Jumping a shark".
  • The Klutz: Clumsy Carp once attempted to raise his confidence by insisting people stop calling him that. After he falls flat on his face while standing still, he settles on the name "Clumsy Pike".
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
  • Midair Motion Shot: All the wheels.
  • Nerd Glasses: Clumsy Carp has them. Given the fact that glasses were invented in the 13th century A.D., this is another ingredient in the Anachronism Stew.
  • Perma-Stubble: While most of the cavemen have five o'clock shadows, Wiley's beard is more unkempt and hairier than the others, and Grog is hairy all over.
  • Pokémon Speak:
    • Grog can only say his name; subverted in the later years when his vocabulary evolved and he began to utter the occasional laconic one-liner every now and then.
    • Gronk before he was Suddenly Speaking.
  • Poverty Food: In the Animated Adaptation "The First Thanksgiving'' (1973), after failing to catch a turkey for dinner, the cavemen had to make do with rock soup. Fat Broad ladled moist rocks onto their plates. It made for one grim meal.
  • Primitive Clubs: The caveman characters' main weapon is the stone club, and when they try other weapons such as spears or the bow-and-arrow, it usually causes more harm to the user than to the target. The Fat Broad/Jane routinely wields a stone club to pound snakes into mush.
  • Print Long-Runners: At six decades and counting, B.C. definitely qualifies.
  • Raptor Attack: Raptors are featured in more recent strips, trying to eat the other characters.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The reason the poor snake keeps getting beat up by the Fat Broad.
  • Running Gag:
    • Fat Broad/Jane's clubbing snakes.
    • The apteryx' introduction of itself as "a wingless bird with hairy feathers".
      Clam: Now I have to kill him...
    • In some Sunday strips, Peter will write a message on a tablet and send it out into the ocean, where he will wait for the reply on a tablet which will drift back to him at the next day's sunrise containing the punchline response to his inquiry.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: Wiley has never sailed the seas, but he does have a peg leg. Wiley functions as poet / bartender / coach among his cave-dwelling peers.
  • Stout Strength: Fat Broad/Jane, as mentioned above. Grog can be considered to be as well; one of his earliest appearances has him picking up a very large tree and moving it out of his way.
  • Suddenly Speaking: The Dinosaur (aka Gronk) in later strips. Also Grog in one commercial and a strip from January 24, 1977.
  • Talking Animal: All of the animals except for Wolf.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: B.C. did a few, such as "all the ills suffered by mankind" (a mushroom cloud) and "the dust cloud raised by a herd of stampeding mammoths" (cue stomping as it turns out it is, indeed, the dust cloud raised by a herd of stampeding mammoths).
  • Those Two Guys: John the Tortoise and Dookie Bird. It has also been known to veer into Interspecies Romance.
  • Walk This Way: In one book, a character asks for a book on levitation. Cue the bookstore owner walking in mid-air while saying this trope…
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: John is scared of spiders, to the point of paranoia.
  • Writer on Board
  • Written Roar: "GRONK!"
  • Written Sound Effect: "ZOT!"