I still remember quite well the layout of the Portland Oregonian's comic strip pages when I was young, when there was only one newspaper I had access to and when reading each days comics page was one of the highlights of my day. The more prominent and easily digestible strips were on the left, right under the crossword puzzle. And one of these was The Wizard of Id, placed in a lead position. It was one of the first I read, every day, for several years.

Which means I should be able to say a thing or two about it. The Wizard of Id is a comic strip set in a vaguely medieval time frame, featuring the monarch of a fictitious nation and his cast of retainers, one of whom (but not an important one), is the eponymous wizard. The King is selfish and banal, and everyone around him is incompetent. From 1964 until 1997, the strip was drawn and written by Brant Parker and Johnny Hart, who were responsible for a number of other popular comic strips. It is now drawn by Brant Parker's son, which is somewhat of a trend amongst long running syndicated strips. So for the past 46 years, the strip has been in wide syndication.

It has been remarked elsewhere that newspaper comic strips are long, long past their glory days, and even that at the height of their popularity, they were often two dimensional and relied on silly gags. Without stressing that point, the Wizard of Id is certainly guilty of that. Its syndication is very wide, and has been for over forty years, and yet its entire premise is that the king of Id is selfish and petty, and the rest of the supporting cast is as well. In all my years of reading it, I can't think of a more involved description of the strip than that. Although the humor is perhaps a bit sharper than it is in other strips, such as Johnny Hart's B.C. strip, it still does not usually reach over the level of a strained gag.

I felt it necessary to write something about the Wizard of Id, and now that I have written something, I can't think of what else to add. Perhaps I should add in that it is more entertaining than Hi and Lois.

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