If you are a frequent visitor of Comic Vine then you are probably used to seeing a lot of articles about superheroes or mainstream comics that you purchase at your local comic shop. Yet for some of the staff (namely, myself), some of our first experiences reading comics where in the Sunday editions of our local paper in the "comics" section. For the last two decades 'Baby Blues' has been in comic print syndication and has captured the growing pains and struggles of parenting. It is a strip that I found humorous when I was a kid, but didn't quite "get" until I got older. For fans of BABY BLUES, this compilation in hardcover titled BBXX: BABY BLUES - DECADES 1 & 2 might be the perfect gift. Not only does it collect two decades worth of comic strips, but it also gives fans some insight into the creative process and creative partnership between Rick Kirkman, the strip's writer and Jerry Scott, it's illustrator.
At first glance, the book it's beautiful. The hardcover bound edition is wider, and the presentation of the strips are perfect. Think of it as an "absolute edition" for Baby Blues. The table of contents serves as a way for readers to see what they get with this book. There's a great introduction by cartoonist Cathy Guisewite (creator of the CATHY cartoon strip) followed by an introduction and brief biographies of both cartoonists. The first chapter of the book focuses on the first years of the strip, how it got the name 'Baby Blues' and finally the fact that the strip itself drew its inspiration from a little known comic by Charles Schultz titled PEANUTS.== TEASER ==
The book compiles both the black and white strips that ran Monday through Sunday in papers across the country, as well as the fully colored Sunday only comics. Of course, the very first strip ever printed chronicled the birth of Zoe, the strips baby. During this time, the strip's writer Rick Kirkman drew from his own new, parental experiences for much of the content in BABY BLUES. From Mom's hormones to the constant crying and lack of sleep, to the reflection the characters had in regards to their own parents and how they dealt with parenthood early on. What's most interesting about this is not just that we get all these early editions of BABY BLUES comics, but we get a lot of commentary and insight into the strip which adds a whole other level to the reading experience. We get to see from where the creators of the strip drew inspiration for their characters and their stories early on.
The creators of the series continue to chronicle their success with the strip, as well as their rejections (Rick Kirkman kept each and every one of his rejection slips from publishers to "prove them wrong," for example). As you progress through the book, you watch the babies grow and their interactions, thoughts and so forth with their parents change and evolve. They develop individual personalities and desires. We also get to see some of the strip's early development and a look at the creative process of the strip in general.
If you are a fan of this comic strip, or you know someone who is, this is absolutely worth the money and it makes a beautiful and thoughtful gift. It's a great read, even for people who may not be huge fans of the comic strip and it provides some really fantastic insight into the creation and development of the series in general. XX: BABY BLUES: DECADES 1 & 2 [Hardcover] is written by Rick Kirkman, illustrated by Jerry Scott and published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.