Follow TV Tropes


Comic Strip / Buckles

Go To

Buckles is a comic strip by David Gilbert that debuted in newspapers in 1996. It follows the misadventures of a naive dog named Buckles, who lives with a pair of caring yet overprotective human owners (or, to a lesser extent, "parents") named Paul and Jill. Every single time, Buckles would have Paul teach him dog tricks, or would love to steal a valuable article of clothing and chew on it, which will always result in a punishment. When his owners aren't around, Buckles usually creates plans with an unseen flea that lives in his right ear, or talks to other animals outside, including a bird friend named Arden.

While the comic isn't quite popular with readers, it has been praised by its syndicate, who said: "More of an only child with canine instincts than he is the family pet. Buckles can display all the charm...of a small child discovering how to find his way through life." You can do us a favor and read the comics here.


Buckles provides examples of:

  • Animals Fear Neutering: One storyline had Jill and Paul consider neutering Buckles. This terrified Buckles enough to send him running screaming through the house. Which made Jill and Paul think it was an even better idea, since clearly he was too tightly wound. They eventually decided not to, though, if only because Paul found the whole idea uncomfortable.
  • Art Evolution: In the strip's first couple of years, the art had a very lush and sleeker appearance with thicker lines and simpler character designs; but as years pass, it now has a very rough and crisp look, while still looking pretty fluid in appearance.
  • Author Avatar: According to David Gilbert, Buckles is a dog version of himself. In fact, he based the character's personality on his.
  • Bad Santa: Parodied; at the beginning of a December 2004 arc, Buckles frantically runs up to Paul telling him that Santa Claus is evil, but Paul tells him "For heaven's sake, Buckles! Santa is not evil! He's just a jolly old elf who delivers presents!". Later in the same arc, Buckles has to wear an elf outfit so he can attack Santa at midnight, but "Santa" turns out to be Paul, who is accidentally attacked instead.
  • Big "NO!": In a March 2006 strip, Buckles who eat a lot lets out a big NOOO! when he discovers his dog bowl is empty.
  • Bland-Name Product: Some strips feature a fast-food restaurant called Burger Fry. Jill even keeps an iTab in later strips.
  • Cats Are Mean: Some strips show a big bully cat who sometimes picks on Arden and even Buckles. An example is a February 2007 arc.
  • Cat Scare: In an early strip, Buckles walks up to a cat and barks at it, but suddenly, it jumps up screeching which scares him to death. Buckles then hides behind Paul saying "It exploded."
  • Character Title: The title is Buckles and its protagonist is a naive dog named Buckles.
  • Companion Cube: "Irene", a fire hydrant which Buckles views as his girlfriend.
  • Crossover: A week of strips in August 2005 is about Blondie's 75th anniversary, so they involve Daisy talking to Buckles in barks, and later Blondie herself giving Paul an invitation to her birthday.
  • Expressive Ears: Buckles often has his ears go up whenever he's excited, happy or (sometimes) scared, or rather have them go down whenever he's quiet, sad or angry.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Christina, Jill's five-year-old niece and Buckles' arch nemesis, who always ruins Buckles' life by giving him tea parties or silly games.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Paul (almost) always wears a black shirt/sweater that has a big red stripe with black dots (sandwiched by thin static-colored stripes) running around it, as well as khaki (or sometimes blue) shorts/jeans.
  • Nasty Party: An October 2007 arc involves Charlie, a naughty goose, sneaking into Paul and Jill's house and throwing a "party" with his gang of geese by destroying the entire house. But then they fly away in frantic once Paul and Jill get home from work. Distraught by how the house has been destroyed, Paul and Jill get mad at Buckles and blame it on him.
  • The Nicknamer: Scrappy, who refers to Buckles as "Slobber Face" and Arden as "Beak Brain".
  • Phrase Catcher: Bucles always gets "Buckles, you bad dog!" or "Bad dog!" from his owners and others.
  • Running Gag:
    • Paul teaching Buckles dog tricks, which sometimes results in a failed catch.
    • Whenever Buckles wants to come with his owners (or one) if they leave the house, only to be declined.
    • Buckles eating trash, chewing his owners' valuable stuff, digging holes in the ground, or stealing Paul's food, followed by one of his owners either putting him in the garage or chaining him outside.
    • The "Dog Owners' Monthly" magazine, which Buckles thinks is an insult to dogs.
    • Buckles begging Paul for his food.
    • Every time Paul uses his lawn mower.
    • Buckles' fights with a vacuum cleaner, or as David Gilbert puts it, a "vacuum".
    • Buckles barking/howling in the backyard and various annoyed neighbors yelling at him to be quiet.
    • Buckles vs. the Paperboy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In a 2002 strip, Jill is seen playing Quake II on the computer (much to Paul's dismay, because it's a man's game).
    • In an October 2003 arc where Buckles stumbles upon a box containing a vacuum and touches it making it fall over, Flea tells him "this is like 2001: A Space Odyssey!"
    • In a November-December 2004 arc where Paul throws a stick to nowhere and Buckles tries to find it, Buckles is saying a lot of "goodbye" phrases at one point and "That's all, folks!" is the last of them.
    • In an August 31, 2008 strip where Paul is accusing Buckles of digging up the entire backyard, Buckles created a giant "painting" of Mona Lisa on the ground using a lot of Paul's stuff.
    • Also at the beginning of an April 2009 arc, Charlie the goose is staring at Buckles and Arden on top of the roof, laughing "Well, ain't that Mary Poppins!".
  • Shown Their Work: The comic depicted dog tactics the way they're done in real life. It also even portrayed pet ownership a little more realistically than Garfield and some other pet strips.
  • Third-Person Person: Most of Buckles' alter egos would narrate their own adventures in the third person.
  • The Voice: A flea called Flea who can only be heard talking in Buckles' right ear.
  • Wham Episode: In an early story arc, Buckles gets hit by an incoming car when he runs away from Paul with his leash still connected while they were taking a walk. He's then needed for an immediate doctor's appointment and sent to the vet where it was revealed that his gums have been hurt from the accident.