Comic strip suggestion for an english language learner?
July 19, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

My german friend loves reading Calvin and Hobbes (in english). What would be a good comic strip to get her into? What strips are still funny to ESL readers?

She has several Calvin & Hobbes books and has them pretty heavily marked with words she has had to look up. Her spoken English is good, but her written english is not. I'm worried that something like the Far Side might be too hard for her to 'get' - sorting out what is absurd on purpose and what she is just not understanding. I'm leaving Germany soon & I'd like to get her a new book as a goodbye present.
posted by munichmaiden to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Cul-de-Sac.
posted by god hates math at 9:05 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Mutts has the sweetness of Calvin and Hobbes but isnt' very wordy. Although there are plenty of jokes based on idioms. And you might have to explain why the characters always say things like "schtuff" instead of stuff.
posted by vespabelle at 9:13 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

More specifically, here's the first book, and here's the second book. I'm obviously not sure about availability in Germany, but you could always have a friend ship them to you.

Cul-de-Sac is often compared to C&H in terms of tone, the first book has a foreword by Watterson, and there are a few posts about the strip and Richard Thompson on the blue (FD:one was made by me).

Also, having done the opposite (read Calvin in German as a native English speaker, it's super-awesome for you to do this. Comics are a great way to pick up little bits of a language.)
posted by god hates math at 9:16 AM on July 19, 2011

I'm not sure why, but the first thing that sprang to mind for me wasn't a comic strip: Bone.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:16 AM on July 19, 2011

Best answer: Zits.
posted by Melismata at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was about to say Zits. I feel like it's a sequel to Calvin and Hobbes.
posted by mkb at 9:20 AM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Sinfest or Frazz.
posted by Slinga at 9:29 AM on July 19, 2011

posted by ian1977 at 9:30 AM on July 19, 2011

Best answer: Perhaps Foxtrot?
posted by maryr at 9:33 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

How about Bloom County?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:35 AM on July 19, 2011


I think many of the comic already listed are decent comics, but most lack the sparkle and mischievousness of C&H. Lio', imo does a decent job of capturing it, in a modern sense, and has very little verbiage (no dialog at all actually).
posted by edgeways at 9:51 AM on July 19, 2011

Get Fuzzy? As well as being generally entertaining (a guy in Boston with a dimwitted but sweet dog and a devious cat!), there's a lot of picking language apart than an ESL student might find interesting.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:03 AM on July 19, 2011

What other comics does she like now? When I studied Italian I used to love getting Linus magazine (nsfw) which ran reprints of American strips. I could often remember reading the same strips in English, which helped a lot.

Anyway, I recommend American Elf (also sometimes nsfw).
posted by hydrophonic at 11:42 AM on July 19, 2011

Copper. He also sells these. Not as much content as C&H but a strong resemblance. Copper also appears in several issues of Flight.
posted by edbles at 4:59 PM on July 19, 2011

Best answer: Ozy and Millie definitely has the Calvin and Hobbes vibe.
posted by novalis_dt at 7:42 PM on July 19, 2011

The humor in Doonesbury (what there is of it, anyway) is mostly political and not so much dependent on idiom or absurdity.

True, but it does rely on a lot of cultural knowledge. As someone born in the 80s, reading the early strips is somewhat worthless to me. I just don't have the right political knowledge.
posted by maryr at 8:22 PM on July 19, 2011

Best answer: Actually, on that note, some very early Peanuts might be a nice idea. The art isn't as impressive as Calvin & Hobbes, but there's a lot of kids/universal stuff in the early strips.
posted by maryr at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! A lot of these are new to me, soooo bonus! I think it will come down to which ones I can easily get my hands on.
posted by munichmaiden at 1:31 AM on July 22, 2011

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