FoxTrot, by Bill Amend

My first random-number-generated choice was Welcome to Jasorassic Park, by Bill Amend. This is a compilation of FoxTrot comic strips, so I deleted all of the FoxTrot books I could find in the spreadsheet and decided to do one post on the comic strip as a whole.

FoxTrot is the story of the stressors and confict and, yes, occasionally love and affection within the Fox family: Roger, the father, Andy, the mother, and their three children, 16-year-old Peter, 14-year-old Paige, and 10-year-old Jason.

Jason is pretty much the standout character because so many of the strips focus on his math/science/science fiction geekiness. Amend has a degree in physics, so I wonder how much of Jason is a self-insert. Jason loves school because it’s easy for him. He is shown working ahead in his textbooks just for fun.

Paige is a pretty stereotypical 14-year-old girl, interested in fashion, shopping, boys, and so forth. She has almost completely failed in her pursuit of boys, only ever attracting geeky Morton Goldthwait. She has no head for math or science and Jason will give her incorrect answers unless she pays for the correct ones.

Peter is interested in stereotypical boy things like rock music, cars, and sports. He is on the baseball team, but the running gag is that he is a benchwarmer — he barely gets to actually play, if ever. He is also a perennial procrastinator, waiting until the last minute to finish anything.

Dad Roger is also into stereotypical “dad” things like golf and barbecuing. He also fancies himself to be a good chess player, but both Jason and Andy can defeat him easily. Roger clearly loves his wife and children.

Andy is a good mom who loves her husband and children. She may be a bit too concerned about their welfare, because she is constantly trying to get her family to eat “healthy” food that also happens to be completely disgusting. She also harasses them to stop what she thinks are unhealthy habits like procrastinating or watching trashy television. Back in the day, I had a LiveJournal icon of Andy with her head down on the table in front of her in frustration, because, well, when I was frustrated, I felt just like that.

Jason has an ongoing rivalry with Paige. Some of the things Jason does would be beyond the pale for real life, but as it’s a comic strip, the readers give him a pass. It is revealed that Paige would intentionally scare Jason when he was a baby, and that the rivalry stems from those events.

I mostly came to FoxTrot as a young married woman. The strip started in 1988 when I was already in my early 20s and ran in the Chicago Tribune. My family were Sun-Times readers, so for the first couple of years I only got to read it when we were on vacation and the local paper had the strip or when I caught the comics at my in-laws’ (they read the Tribune).

When I got married, Thomas wanted to read the Tribune, and I loved that largely because of FoxTrot. Then I remembered that there should be actual books of FoxTrot strip compilations and I didn’t need the paper anymore. So, for today’s Germane Amazon Link, I bring you the earliest of the larger compilation books that I can find on Amazon: FoxTrot, the Works, by Bill Amend.

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