Deseret News readers (3,774 of them) went to the polls (OK, really mailboxes) early this presidential election year and voted overwhelmingly for Calvin and Hobbes as their favorite daily comic strip.
Calvin won almost 2-1 (4,810-2,554) over runner-up and defending champion Family Circus.Rounding out the top 10 favorites Ziggy was third, Far Side fourth, Hi & Lois fifth, Rex Morgan sixth, Mother Goose & Grimm seventh, Bloom County eighth, Goblin ninth and Spider-Man 10th.
(Point totals were determined by this scale: three points for a first place vote, two points for a second and one point for a third. No Sunday-only comic strips were included.)
Although the survey was not conducted in a scientifically valid way, the large amount of mail indicates that readers take the comics seriously. Readers were almost equally as serious about which comic strips they would prefer not to see.
The Phantom, a strip that started running a couple of months ago, was voted as the least favorite comic strip, while two of the other "serial" comic strips Spider-Man and Rex Morgan were second and third.
Young readers often commented that these three serial comics had storylines that have dragged on too long. Even fans of the Spider-Man Marvel comic books commented that the newspaper strip moves far too slowly. That's where many readers seem to think Spider, Rex and Phantom belong in the comic books and NOT on comic pages.
If nothing else, the overall voting results revealed that EVERY comic strip has at least a few people who love it or hate it.
For example, even Calvin (though it was in the best position here last on the least favorite list) had several dozen readers who voted flatly against it.
Calvin and Hobbes (pronounced "Hawbs") started in the Deseret News on Nov. 18, 1985 the same time it made its debut through Universal Press Syndicate in other U.S. newspapers.
It is now carried in more that 200 newspapers and has also been appearing at or near the top of recent comic surveys in other newspapers, too.
Calvin deals with the antics of a 6-year-old and his stuffed tiger, who comes to life when the child is left alone with his wild imagination.
"Calvin's one of those kids nobody wants to grow up to be president," said Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin.
"His energy is unhindered by common sense. Calvin's fun, but his parents sometimes wish they'd gotten a dog instead."
The National Cartoonist's Society recognized Watterson as the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1987.
Watterson lives in Hudson, Ohio, with his wife, Melissa, and three cats.
"Something Under the Bed is Drooling" is the newest of two paperback books with Calvin and Hobbes cartoon collections that is soon to be available.
The last time a similar comic vote was taken 1984, also coincidentally an election year 2,295 readers returned their survey forms.
The Deseret News dropped The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen Monday, a comic that finished dead last on the favorites list. "Tales" was replaced by Simple Beats.
Another comic, Goblin, voted as the ninth best and the fourth worst on the poll, will be discontinued by its syndicate, Asterisk Features, on April 30.
Gamin and Patches is a "spare" comic and will continued to be used as needed for temporary replacements. It was not included in the comics voting.
Watch for some answers to many of the comics questions submitted by readers in future articles.