As we bid a fond (or in some cases not-so-fond) farewell to 2022 and greet 2023, we once again step into the time machine and travel back to New Year’s Day, 1973. Last week we drifted back to Christmas Day, 1972, so this seemed a perfect companion piece.
Most continuity strips that worked a Christmas reference into their December 25th installments from fifty years agone chose to ignore the advent of 1973, instead sending their story-of-the-moment barreling along via its daily chapter. Still, a diverse range of strips homed in on a scoopful of New Year’s themes: Old Man Old Year crossing paths with diapered Baby New Year; parties and their aftermath; the plethora of football games dominating the broadcast TV spectrum (in many areas, a spectrum limited to only those stations affiliated with CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS — surely that’s hard to believe to those who’ve lived their lives immersed in cable TV and internet/streaming culture!).
So here to explore those themes while providing a few other perspectives and a consistent selection of grins are the January 1, 1973 outings for Funky Winkerbean, the ever-stately and -wry Fred Basset, Doonesbury, Li’l Abner, The Dropouts, Tumbleweeds, Priscilla’s Pop, and the comic strip version of The Flintstones . . .
Wherever and however you spend it, we’re wishing you and yours a Happy New Year’s holiday and all the best throughout 2023. There are some exciting and entertaining Library of American Comics projects that will unfold in the coming year, so keep watching for more details. Next time in this space, the launch of a new occasional feature: “What Came Next –?”