Treasury of the Lost Litter Box, by Darby Conley

I really enjoyed Darby Conley's comic strip Get Fuzzy, which ran in my local paper for more than a decade, and my family still routinely refers back to his joke about how you can “verb anything”. Conley and his strip disappeared about five years ago, much to my chagrin, but when I recently ran across a copy of his Treasury of the Lost Litter Box collection, a mighty wave of comic strip nostalgia crashed over me.

The strip centers around Rob Wilco, a mild-mannered ad executive, and his housemates, Bucky the cat and Satchel the dog. It's not always clear what the household's power dynamic is—sometimes Rob is like a harassed single dad; sometimes the pets are more like independent roommates—but the animals' basic natures remain the same: Bucky is a power-hungry dictator whose schemes are routinely defeated by his laziness (and dim wit), while Satchel (who is equally dim-witted, but infinitely sweeter) just wants everyone to get along.

Apart from a few pop-culture and technology-based jokes (and the almost total lack of female characters), Conley's work holds up. Most of the strip's humor comes from its character interaction, and Rob, Bucky, and Satchel have a squabbling, lived-in, familial vibe that feels real, even as punchlines about pagers and Harry Potter midnight release parties fade into history. Berkley Breathed's Bloom County is proof that comic strips can be revived in entirely new eras, and reading this collection has me hoping that Conley might re-surface one day and follow his example.
Posted by: Julianka


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