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Learn English with Comics (Part 1)

Comics are a great way to learn English. They’re funny, full of everyday phrases, and they have pictures to help us understand the meaning. Plus, many comics are designed to be printed daily in newspapers (comic strips); so, they are both short–existing in 1- to 5-panel strips–and numerous, having had many successful years in publication. (There is a lot of content to read if you find a comic you like.)

 

Below is a list of some of the most wide-read comic strips in North America.

 

Calvin & Hobbes (1985-Present) by Bill Watterson 

Sarcastic | Existential | Witty | Best Friends 

Calvin & Hobbes is a popular American newspaper comic that appeals to all ages. The main characters are a boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Together, they go on imaginative adventures, ask the big life questions, and get each other in and out of trouble.

Be prepared to learn some idioms like “to have your head on straight” and “I would/ wouldn’t go [that] far.” You can read that strip (and more) for free here. If you really enjoy them, you can buy or check out a collection of the Calvin & Hobbes comics like this one

 

Peanuts (1950-Present) by Charles Schulz 

Charming | Hum-drum | Existential | Wholesome

You have probably seen the two main characters–Snoopy and Charlie Brown–before on a tee-shirt or a mug; the Peanuts comic is incredibly popular in American culture. In fact, it was adapted into animated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas specials in the 60s and 70s; many Americans still include it in their holiday movie-watching traditions. 

The humor in this strip comes from children saying profound, adult-like statements. You can check out a simple, cute strip about kites and trees from 1967, here. If you start to really enjoy them, you can buy or check out a collection of Peanuts comics like this one. 

 

MUTTS (1994-Present) by Patrick McDonnell 

Sweet Moments | Pets & Owners | Cute

This comic strip is all about being kind to each other, animals, and the environment. It uses a lot of play on words, and the main characters are based on a real cat and dog. A bonus: the comic artist is an animal welfare advocate outside of his work.  

You can read any of the strips by visiting the archive here

 

Garfield (1976-Present) by Jim Davis

Everyday Life | Pets & Owners | Apathetic | Sassy

Garfield is another incredibly popular American comic strip with an animal at the center. Garfield the cat is lazy, hates Mondays, avoids diets, and loves lasagna, coffee, and manipulating others to get what he wants. You can read a sassy strip (as well as others) for free here

The franchise has continued with a few Garfield animated movies, so there’s plenty of Garfield available if you come to love it. You can also buy or check out a collection of Garfield comics, like this one

 

The New Yorker’s Cartoon Section (1925-Present)

Work & Politics | Dry Humor | American 

The New Yorker magazine publishes comics daily online. They’re usually one panel. You can view a few of them for free each month before you hit a paywall. 

Here’s one that you may relate to, from February 17th, 2022.

 

Bizarro (1985-Present) by Dan Piraro 

Modern | Witty | Zany | Pop-Culture

Like the name suggests, these 1-panel comics are bizarre! Many of them use pop culture references , so you may need to scroll through a few before you find one you like. 

Fun fact: the artist always hides repeating, special objects in his panels–an alien spaceship, a piece of pie, a pipe–they’re little gems for regular readers. 

Here’s one you might like; it features the monster from Frankenstein. You can explore others here

 

We hope this article helps you find a new way to learn and practice  English. And, if you find a comic you like, share it with a classmate or friend! 

 

Allison Nowak
École de langues Évoluciole

 

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