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Literature / Goofus and Gallant

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The October 1980 strip.

Created in 1948 by Garry Cleveland Myers, "Goofus and Gallant" is a feature in Highlights for Children where a Right Way/Wrong Way Pair of boys named Gallant (good) and Goofus (bad) would teach examples of what is good and bad to do, such as "Goofus bosses his friends. Gallant asks them what they want to do."

Tropes present in this work include:

  • Ambiguously Related: They look alike and have similar names, but their relationship is never specified. Originally they were Polar Opposite Twins.
  • And That's Terrible: Goofus's panels are often accompanied by nearby people shooting disapproving stares at him, if they're not outright glaring at him.
  • Anti-Role Model: Goofus' entire purpose is to demonstrate what not to do in every situation.
  • Art Evolution: There've been at least three illustrators over the years, and the first (Marion Hull Hammel) could give Jeph Jacques lessons in self-conscious changing of drawing style.
  • Brutal Honesty: Some of Goofus's mistakes involve being too forthcoming with his opinions, even when they hurt others' feelings.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Goofus always teaches children what not to do in a given situation.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: In their very earliest appearances, Goofus and Gallant were pointy-eared elves. They originally appeared in another magazine called "Children's Activities" as "The G-Twins" in which they were elf brothers.
  • Enfant Terrible: Goofus can be this at his worst. One example has him throwing stones at birds.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Some of Goofus's antics aren't all that naughty.
  • Limited Wardrobe: At least in Leslie Harrington's illustrations. Goofus has worn the same green hoodie since 2006, while Gallant has worn the same red T-shirt over a white long-sleeve shirt since 2006.
  • Pointy Ears: In the earliest versions, they had them, as they originally appeared in another magazine called "Children's Activities" as "The G-Twins" in which they were elf brothers.
  • Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: The Trope Maker.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Could go in this direction from time to time, though it's almost inevitable for a Long Runner like this. Look at the second part of the 1963 example: apparently how friendly animals are to you determines how good a person you are.
  • Stock Parody: Putting them in teenage or grown-up situations is popular; while in the real thing Goofus is always on the left panel so that readers see the "wrong" and "right" way to handle a situation in that order, parodies often reverse this for better comic effect; Gallant's counterpart often displays the behavior a normal person would do, whereas Goofus's counterpart's behavior, running the gamut from inappropriate to outright insane, is meant to contrast.
  • Vague Age: Depending on the illustrator and the situation they've appeared as everything from very early elementary age to almost-teenagers.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: At no point are their real names mentioned, leading readers to believe their names really are "Goofus" and "Gallant".