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Comic Strip / Blondie (1930)
aka: Blondie

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One of the longest-running (since September 8, 1930) and most popular Newspaper Comics of all time, and still fairly funny even after more than nine decades.

Blondie centers around Dagwood Bumstead, a bog-standard middle-American salaryman with a strange haircut, a single button on his shirt, and a passion for food (particularly monstrously tall sandwiches). He is Happily Married to Blondie, who runs a popular delicatessen and catering establishment. The couple's teenaged children are Alexander, who mimics his father in terms of hairstyle, and Cookie, whose appearance likewise resembles her mother's. The household is rounded out by the family dog, Daisy. The other recurring characters include friendly next-door neighbors Herb and Tootsie Woodley, Dagwood's Mean Boss J.C. Dithers and his Grande Dame wife Cora, local Mouthy Kid Elmo, hapless mailman Mr. Beasley, Dagwood's fellow carpoolers Claudia and Dwitzell, and Greasy Spoon counterman Lou.

The strip was very different in its early years; Dagwood was originally depicted as a playboy and heir to the Bumstead Locomotive fortune, but was disinherited after marrying Blondie, a flapper (originally known as Blondie Boopadoop) whom his family saw as being below their class. He has since worked hard at J.C. Dithers & Company (currently as the construction company's office manager) to support his family. 90 years have severely eroded the original Fish out of Water aspects of his character, and the strip as a whole is pretty much a Slice of Life comic at this point, its characters having been stuck at the same age since the early 1950s.

Blondie's creator, Murat "Chic" Young, continued to write and draw the strip with the help of various assistants (including Alex Raymond) until his death in 1973, after which his son Dean took over, also in collaboration with a succession of assistants (currently John Marshall, previously Stan Drake and Jim Raymond among others).

Media adaptations include a series of comedy films (and a long-running radio series) starring Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton, produced from 1938 to 1950; two single-season TV sitcoms, produced in 1957 (also starring Lake) and 1968; and two animated TV specials produced in 1987 and 1989 (from Marvel Productions, who had earlier collaborated with King Features on Defenders of the Earth), with Loni Anderson and Frank Welker voicing Blondie and Dagwood.

Not to be confused with the band.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Daisy is a short-furred blueish-grey dog in the comics. In the films she is played by a wire-haired white furry dog with dark patches.
  • 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. Alexander has a similar hairstyle. In Dagwood's original incarnation, he had bangs slicked toward each side of his forehead, a fashion from the 1920s and '30s. Somehow, these eventually became the antenna-like appendages we know today.
  • Aside Glance: Daisy and Dagwood often do this as a reaction to the day's punchline.
  • Bedtime Brainwashing: In the strip for July 12, 2014. While Dagwood is napping on the couch, neighborhood kid Elmo Tuttle whispers "Just wanted to wish you a restful and happy Hot Dog Month" in his ear. After 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.
  • Bickering Couple, Peaceful Couple:
    • Mr. Dithers and his wife Cora are often contrasted with the Happily Married Bumsteads in this manner.
    • In the '30s Blondie's ex-boyfriend Hiho and his wife Betty served as the Bickering Couple to Blondie and Dagwood's Peaceful Couple before disappearing from the strip.
  • The Board Game: Yes, there actually was one in the late 60s.
  • Brainless Beauty: Blondie during the first few years of the strip.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Blondie is considered a Brainless Beauty because of her ample chest. Her daughter Cookie also applies. Until very late in The '50s, 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.
  • Christmas Creep: In the strip for September 14, 2013. As Dagwood and Blondie are walking through a mall, Dagwood complains about the stores playing Christmas music in September.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Blondie's and Dagwood's parents were dropped as supporting characters some time after Blondie and Dagwood married, as were Hiho and Betty.
    • The Woodleys' niece Bunny was written out by the late '30s, while Baby Dumpling/Alexander's best friend Alvin rarely appeared after 1950.
    • Daisy's litter of lookalike puppies disappeared sometime in the '70s. Dean Young has said that drawing them all was too much of a pain.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: From 1969 to 1976 via Charlton Comics.
  • Comic-Book Time: While the Bumsteads and other characters have remained more or less the same since the early 1950s, their house and office have (slowly and incrementally) gotten updated with the passage of time. Even Blondie's job title changed, from housewife to caterer in the early 1990s.
  • Crossover:
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: The strip featured a gender-flipped version in its early years. 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.
  • Dumb Blonde: Blondie during the first few years of the strip.
  • Embarrassing Pyjamas: Dagwood often ventures out of the house in pajamas and bathrobe to fetch the morning newspaper or mail. Some outings have him accidentally lock himself out of the house with a dilemma: wait quietly for Blondie to venture out the door, however long that takes, or make a racket that's sure to call the neighbors' attention to himself. Adding just that much more misery is that Dagwood's usual jammies are white with large red donuts, which he's had for years.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Dagwood is reading the paper and quotes an article which says that, in preparation for a visit from the British royal family,note  everybody is brushing up on their curtsies. Blondie remarks that no one knows how to curtsy anymore. Dagwood says that he does and stands and demonstrates one perfectly. When she asks how he learned that, he says that Mr. Dithers demands one every morning.
  • The Flapper: Blondie started off as one before she married Dagwood.
  • 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.
  • Grandfather Clause: Blondie and Dagwood still have hairstyles derived from their 1920s-30s originals and the graphic style of some of the characters hearkens back to the comics of the time.
  • 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.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals:
    • While not really noted as such in-universe, Dagwood's neighbor Herb Woodley and the mailman Mr. Beasley look almost exactly alike. (The main difference is that Beasley is balder, but this is usually hidden by his uniform hat.)
    • For many years Daisy had a litter of puppies that looked just like her.
  • Jacob and Esau: The Bumsteads. Alexander is the spitting image of Dagwood; Cookie takes after Blondie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dithers
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Inverted between Dagwood and Alexander — Dagwood is a (model-scale) rail enthusiast among other things (one of them being a sports fan), while Alexander is often seen playing football at his high school.
  • The Klutz: Dagwood. Dithers once gave him a check as he didn't mess up things for a day, only for Dag to trip and let the check go with the wind.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
  • 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.
  • The Napoleon: Dithers is considerably shorter than Dagwood. And his wife Cora.
  • 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.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Up until he began getting too old for the nickname, Alexander, for years, was only referred to as "Baby Dumpling".
  • Only Six Faces: Taken to extremes. Not only is Alexander basically identical to his father, but Herb Woodley looks almost exactly the same as Mr. Beasley, and a lot of the random male characters look very similar. Blondie, Cookie, and Tootsie not only have one face between them (Cookie is just shorter Blondie, Tootsie is just Blondie with a different hair color and haircut) but they only ever have one expression too.
  • Opaque Lenses: Mr. Dithers wears glasses with these.
  • 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 '20s.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: J.C. Dithers is technically in the construction business, but it's barely referred to at all. Lampshaded in recent years- one strip had Dithers and Dagwood interviewing a potential new hire. He promptly asks them what business they're in- he isn't sure if it's construction or something else. After he leaves, Dithers and Dagwood promptly conclude that he "asked way too many questions".
  • Retool:
    • 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.
  • The Roaring '20s/The Great Depression: The strip started during this 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?)
    • Dagwood trying to take a bath, only to have somebody (most frequently Elmo or a repairman) walk in on him while he's in the tub.
    • Blondie waking Dagwood up in the middle of the night and telling him she thinks she hears a burglar downstairs.
    • A traveling salesman trying to talk Dagwood into buying whatever useless item he's selling.
    • Whenever Dagwood shows the family the album and talks about any distant relatives seen in the photo, the panel that shows the punchline always shows Blondie, Alexander, Cookie, neighbor Elmo, or even the dog Daisy astonished with a small line over their heads.
    • In the films, oftentimes when Mr. Dithers or Mr. Radcliffe terminates Dagwood, Dagwood repeatedly says no & shakes his head while his ex-boss (for the time being) says yes repeatedly and nods his head.
  • Salary Man: Dagwood has worked as this for Dithers' company for some 85 years as of this writing.
  • 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.
  • Sleeping Single: Averted. Having Blondie and Dagwood share a bed was a daring move for the '30s, and one that Chic Young insisted upon in the face of objections from prudish editors and readers. Most surprisingly, his decision was supported by many religious figures of the time.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: The house used for the film series was later used in numerous Columbia/Screen Gems sitcoms during the '50s and '60s, I Dream of Jeannie being the most familiar example.
  • Sunday Strip:
    • The strip had its Sunday installments made in full-page between 1930 and 1963 (its "topper strip" was The Family Foursome in the early years, being replaced by the better-remembered Colonel Potterby and the Duchess). The 12-panel structure was kept until 1986, when it switched to a standard half-page format.
    • Dagwood did not appear at all in the Sunday strips until January 1, 1933 (not counting a few appearances in late 1931). Instead, these featured Blondie's other boyfriend, Hiho (an expy of Rodney, the Dogged Nice Guy in Young's earlier Dumb Dora, his name being a pun on Rudy Vallée's catch-phrase). Upon Blondie's engagement to Dagwood, the first weeks of 1933 saw her trying to get rid of Hiho, eventually setting him up with a girl by the name of Betty, who he married.
  • 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.
  • Uptown Girl: Gender-Inverted; the original strip was about the well-to-do Dagwood marrying the distinctly lower class Blondie against his parents' wishes. He was Disinherited and had to get a real job, after which the strip gradually morphed into the Dom Com it has been for most of its run.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:

Alternative Title(s): Blondie