Opal and Earl. Artist: Brian Crane.

PICKLES

Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Washington Post Writers Group
First Appeared: 1990
Creator: Brian Crane
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There are ongoing newspaper comics that explore every economic niche in America — professional people (Rex Morgan, John Patterson), office workers (Dagwood, Dilbert), blue collar …

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… guys (Ed Crankshaft, Skeezix Wallet), even the unemployed (Moose Miller, Snuffy Smith). Pickles, by cartoonist Brian Crane, is about retirement.

The stars, Earl and Opal Pickles (no known relation to the Pickles family of Rugrats), are a retired couple. They'd drive each other completely crazy, if other family members weren't around to do part of the job for them — sharing their home are their 30-something daughter, Sylvia; her husband, Dan; and Sylvia's son (from a previous marriage), Nelson. Non-human family members are Roscoe, a dimwitted dog; and Muffin, a cat who feels superior to it all but doesn't demonstrate much superiority. Muffin is probably Opal's favorite. Earl likes to hang out on a park bench with his pal, Clyde.

Crane, who previously worked in advertising, launched the daily and Sunday comic in 1990, through The Washington Post Writers Group (which syndicated Bloom County in the '80s and syndicates its 21st century successor, Opus). Andrews McMeel (which has put many comics into book form, including Tank McNamara and Cathy, has published three collections of Pickles strips.

Its honors include The National Cartoonists' Society's 2001 award for Best Comic Strip. Not to mention the fact that it currently appears in more than 400 newspapers worldwide.

— DDM

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Text ©2005-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Washington Post Co.