The comic strip Buckles is ending in like eight minutes

[ Edited 12 May, 2021 to add ] The comic strip Buckles is being archived and rerun at GoComics. No word on exactly why it ended, although the cartoonist mentions having ideas for new projects.

More, and startling, news from The Daily Cartoonist: David Gilbert’s comic strip Buckles is to end this coming Sunday the 21st. The comic strip, about a (talking) dog and his human keepers, is to end four days short of its 25th anniversary.

I’m sorry for this, not just for my regret at seeing any comic strip end. It was a pleasant comic of that style where the animal talks but is still an animal. And I liked the style of art. I’m not sure where I first encountered the comic. It might have been in the Strips weekly newspaper, which in the 90s would distribute … not all, but a broad slate of the weekday comic strips out there. The paper was a great way to discover new or obscure strips; I know it introduced me to Big Nate, On The Fastrack, Safe Havens, and others that have become regular habits. Buckles would have fit right in.

Underneath several panels of art that's all limited-palette, starkly-silhouetted, with low or no outlines, we see a dog posing like a wolf, stalking deer. The narrator: 'Buckles THE CARNIVORE is on the hunt! HUNGER has led him down a BLOODTHIRSTY path! A herd of potential PREY have gathered in a clearing, unaware of their own EXTERMINATION! The great predator readies his ATTACK! DEATH IS IN THE AIR!' A panel of Buckles leaping, wolflike, at the camera, howling. Final panel, the usual light cartoony figures. Paul holds Buckles the dog back from a pile of grocery bags. Paul: 'Oh no you don't! Stay away from the groceries, Buckles!' Buckles thinks: 'Nuts! Thwarted from the side!' Jill tells Paul: 'If somebody had helped me put them away when I asked ... '
David Gilbert’s Buckles for the 14th of March, 2021. One of many appealing bits of business is Buckles’s fantasy life as a savage predator. Gilbert (like many cartoonists) uses the fantasy sequence as a chance to vary up the art style, and show how exciting strips can be with the space and the time to produce them.

I haven’t heard anything about why the strip is ending. Nor why it’s ending with so little notice. If I learn anything it’ll be by reading The Daily Cartoonist, and I’ll pass it on, because that’s less work than writing 800 words about a 60s Popeye cartoon.

In the past Comics Kingdom has dropped all links to discontinued strips. So if there’s any Buckles strips you quite like, you should download a copy now. If there’s any you wanted to buy a print or other merchandise of, too, do that before Sunday the 21st. I don’t know whether links will completely disappear but it is better to be safe.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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